Whanganui River in N.Zealand gains legal rights

“Winding its way through dense forest laced with hidden waterfalls, the Whanganui River is the largest navigable river in Aotearoa, the Māori word for New Zealand. With the passage of the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill in March, the river became the first water system in the world to be recognized as a rights-bearing entity, holding legal “personhood” status. One implication of the agreement is that the Whanganui River is no longer property of New Zealand’s Crown government — the river now owns itself. “Five days after the Te Awa Tupua Bill, the High Court of Uttarakhand at Naintal, in northern India, issued a ruling declaring that both the Ganga and Yumana rivers are also “legal persons/living persons.” But what does it mean for a river, or an ecosystem to hold rights? The answer may vary from place to place. “The growing global movement for Rights of … Continue reading

High Glyphosate Levels in Mothers Leads to Shorter Pregnancies and Smaller Babies

In his presentation at the Children’s Environmental Health Network Research Conference, Dr. Winchester said that his research shows that “Shorter pregnancies with relatively lower birth weights have been linked to lower cognitive ability later in life and higher risk of metabolic syndrome.” Read the full article here. Photo: plentywell.com

UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food

The report by the UN Special Rappateur on the Rights to Food is available here. “In the report, a clearer account is provided of global pesticide use in agriculture and its impact on human rights; the negative consequences that pesticide practices have had on human health, the environment and society, which are underreported and monitored in the shadow of a prevailing and narrow focus on “food security”, are described; and the environmental and human rights regimes are examined to determine whether the constituent rules are sufficient to protect farm workers, consumers and vulnerable groups, as well as the natural resources that are necessary to support sustainable food systems.” You might also like to view some of the addresses to the 2016 Soil not Oil Conference. Of course, this should also be applied to the extravagant use of pesticides for the weed control in public spaces and conservation areas.

Monsanto Face Lawsuit over “Misleading” Roundup Label

“Two nonprofit organizations on Friday filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for misleading the public by labeling its popular weedkiller Roundup as “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets.” This lawsuit charges that this statement is false, deceptive, and misleading, because the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is, in fact, found in people and pets.” The full article can be found here.

EU greens calling for a ban on Gylphosate

In a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Greens, including many members of the European Parliament, are calling for a ban on Glyphosate. They outline its serious health effects and the corruption involved in America and Europe in its registration for use. (It is the same in Australia). You can read their full letter here.

Research reveals farms slash pesticide use without any loss in productivity.

A new French study reported today in the Guardian has shown that “Virtually all farms could significantly cut their pesticide use while still producing as much food. The research also shows chemical treatments could be cut without affecting farm profits on over three-quarters of farms.” One of the research team, Nicolas Munier-Jolain, said “If you want real reduction in pesticide use, give the farmers the information about how to replace them. This is absolutely not the case at the moment. A large proportion of advice is provided by organisations that are both selling the pesticides and collecting the crops. I am not sure the main concern of these organisations is to reduce the amount of pesticide used.” Read the full report here. Exactly the same problem applies to the use of pesticides in public spaces and conservation reserves.

Glyphosate: Politics and Health

An article in Truthout makes clear the scale of the glyphosate problem. ” Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide 9.4 million tons of the chemical has been sprayed on fields — enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world. Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996.” Read the full article here. Wonder what the tonnage is for Australia?

Why Honeybees Don’t Have A Chance In The Midst Of Pesticides

At last the truth about the criminality of our regulatory bodies is emerging. Our local councils, National Parks services, Education Departments have defended the wide-scale use of these poisonous products. More on the gut: ‘The effect of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro’. And the implications for mammalian health: ‘Gut-Wrenching: New Studies Reveal the Insidious Effects of Glyphosate’ Photo: plentywell.com

Atrazine – banned in EU, available here – why?

Atrazine is a common agricultural herbicide with endocrine disruptor activity. There is evidence that it interferes with reproduction and development, and may cause cancer. It has been banned in the EU since 2003. In Australia it is widely used for crops and in forestry. This review makes it clear that, as for glyphosate and other dangerous chemicals, USA and Australian reliance on manufacturer’s ‘research’ is faulty, and that it leaves the door open for corporate influence over regulators.

Glyposate and cancer – new report

Monsanto and other glyphosate manufacturers appear to have distorted scientific evidence on the public health impacts of glyphosate in order to keep the controversial substance on the market, according to a new report released today by GLOBAL 2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria, member of PAN Europe) with the support of Avaaz, BUND, Campact, CEO, GMWatch, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, PAN Germany, and Umweltinstitut München.

Court Rules Against Monsanto

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat despite an insistence from the chemical giant that it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday. California regulators are waiting for the formal ruling before moving forward with the warnings, said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal. Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company. However, Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer who identified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, as the “gold standard” for identifying carcinogens. Norris said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup. We say “FANTASTIC, WHAT A GREAT IDEA!”

Concerns over Wilsons and Coopers Creek Coral Tree injection

AGM celebration dampened by concerns Original Post 22 October 2014 Feelings were running high at a recent announcement of a grant for the injection of Coral Trees (Erythrina x sykesii) with synthetic herbicides along Wilsons Creek and Coopers Creek. While Wilson Creek/Huonbrook Land-care Inc. was celebrating its score of $99,800 grant at its AGM on Wednesday September 3rd, some concerned residents with river-side properties informed the group that they did not want synthetic pesticides used in their local catchment because it imposes a serious and escalating threat to biodiversity and water catchment values. Replacing one threat with another “What is the point of removing one threat, Coral Trees, and introducing another, synthetic pesticide?”, said Don, a local organic farmer who is well on the way to completing rainforest regeneration of his 177 acres. “At least I can see Coral Trees. I have counted at least 5 species of local birds … Continue reading

Community says NO to aerial spray herbicide

Byron Shire Chemical Free Land Care media release 6 August 2013 Representatives from Byron Shire Chemical Free Land Care (BSCFL) together with concerned locals are once again gathering this morning at Tyagarah Nature Reserve in an ongoing non-violent direct action to halt the aerial spraying of herbicides on coastal dunes Bitou Bush by National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS). “We’ve been trying to negotiate with the NPWS, including the Native Title owners since the 12th July. We’ve asked them to spare the Nature Reserve from spraying,” said BSCFL co-ordinator Nadia de Souza Pietramale. “So far we’ve been unsuccessful and they’re threatening to spray it each day”. “The NPWS have left us with no other choice but to protest in this manner,” says indigenous representative Jarmbi. “We have ancestral ties to the sacred site”. “The community is really concerned about this chemical intensive approach to managing Bitou Bush and the impacts it … Continue reading

Peaceful Protest at Tyagarah Nature Reserve

Original Post 6 August 2013 On Monday 5th August concerned locals gathered at dawn on Tyagarah Beach to voice their fears about the National Parks and Wildlife Service aerial spraying of the Tyagarah Nature Reserve with Metsulfuron methyl 600. The NPWS boom sprayed Cape Byron from their helicopter on Thursday, the first of August, and are due to do the reserve this week. 
The locals are calling for urgent discussions about the health and safety of aerial spraying on these fragile dune ecosystems, some of which have endangered species, and to highlight the bitou bush crowning technique, not just as control method, but also to create local employment. Local bee keepers also are showing their opposition to the operation.

Orange alert: peaceful action at Tyagarah

Original Post 6 August 2013 People who care for the Earth met on Wednesday 31 July for a peaceful action at the Tyagarah Nature Reserve. The aim of the action was to raise awareness about a harmless, sustainable, chemical free alternative to the control of the South African Bitou Bush. This alternative practice is already being successfully implemented in the north end of the reserve. Our action may also illuminate the questionable methodology of aerial spraying our coastal national parks. Beautiful Tyagarah Nature Reserve is a sacred area, so we are treading with respect and have asked permission of Ngarakwal Elder Uncle Harry Boyd who was present to answer questions and share cultural information during the day.

PAN: Agrochemical companies betray public trust

Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) Statement 4 July 2013 Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, and the pesticide industry body CropLife, among other members of a so called Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group in Australia, are promoting the use of the herbicides glyphosate and paraquat in public places. Not surprising, the repeated use of glyphosate has created resistance in weeds alongside roadside, railways, and parks. As a solution to this problem the agrochemical industry is promoting an increasingly hazardous chemical treadmill with the use of a ‘double knock’ application of the full glyphosate rate followed by a full label rate of paraquat-based products. Glyphosate’s adverse health effects include respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes, depression, reduced cognitive capacity, peripheral neuropathy, cancer, and endocrine disruption. Paraquat is an acutely toxic herbicide with the highest mortality rate of all pesticides. As little as a teaspoon full can kill a human being and … Continue reading

Locals meet with National Parks re aerial spraying

Original Post 13 July 2013 Representatives from Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare and Save Tyagarah Nature Reserve From Aerial Spraying Facebook group meet with National Parks and Wildlife Service Local Area Manager Sue Walker, to discuss the scheduled aerial spraying of Bitou Bush in Byron Shire. Despite plans for spraying to start during the week, Sue Walker told the group “No spraying would happen because the weather forecast is not ideal for the operation”. It’s proposed the operation would go ahead the following week, weather permitting. Concerns were raised about the NPWS pesticide-intensive management regime for Bitou Bush on public land and a request was made that no new areas be sprayed, in particular Tyagarah Nature Reserve. The spraying operation would see parts of the Tyagarah Nature Reserve aerially sprayed from 870 metres South of the Northern boundary of the reserve, heading all the away along until Belongil Creek. It’s … Continue reading

Reducing Chemical Use On Public Land

Original Post 2 July 2013 FREE public seminar: part of Council’s Biodiversity and Sustainability seminar series 
from 10am – 12pm
Sunday 14th July
at the Brunswick Heads Community Centre
at the end of South Head Road opposite of the surf club.
Please let us know if you’re coming:
Toxic pesticides like glyphosate are commonly used to manage weeds on public lands, including sports fields, parks, play grounds, road sides, drains, etc. As independent research continues to point to the dangers of pesticides to our health and environment, it’s time to start talking about safer alternatives available to our community.

After the talk we’ll have a guided walk through the ecological restoration area.

Aerial spraying of Tyagarah Nature Reserve

Why is there so little public notice and discussion about aerial spraying of Bitou Bush in Byron Shire? (Original Post 4 July 2013) Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare would like to express its concern about the lack of adequate notice and discussion of the proposed aerial spraying of Bitou Bush by helicopters along the Byron Shire coast, including for the first time, the Tyagarah Nature Reserve. The herbicide to be sprayed is metsulfuron-methyl, which goes by trade names such as “Brush-off and “Brushkiller 600”. The first we saw of the plan was a tiny public notice, in The Echo, volume 28#01 on page 41. The public notice was provided by the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services in accordance with requirements under the Pesticides Regulation 1995 and the NPWS Pesticide Use Notification Plan. While we appreciate the intention of the NPWS is to manage the … Continue reading

Local councils still using weed killer glyphosate despite WHO warning it ‘probably causes cancer’

Local councils still using weed killer glyphosate despite WHO warning it ‘probably carcinogenic, said ABC News headlines on February 16th. It was great to see that long term public concerns regard the broad scale use of herbicides with Glyphosate as an active ingredient finally is reaching the general public.This pesticide is the main tool for weed control in use by Landcare, Dunecare, local Councils, National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW, Road Traffic Authority, farmers, etc On March last year the World Health Organization change the status of Glyphosate from 2B to 2A (probably carcinogenic). Please see the article below. Local councils still using weed killer glyphosate despite WHO warning it ‘probably causes cancer’