Our guest is Vandana Shiva, a world-famous environmental activist from India. Her latest book is entitled “One Earth, One Humanity vs. the 1%”. She tell us about more her opposition to big multinationals such as Monsanto for their nefarious influence on agriculture. But Shiva also singles out billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for criticism. “When Bill Gates pours money into Africa for feeding the poor in Africa and preventing famine, he’s pushing the failed Green Revolution, he’s pushing chemicals, pushing GMOs, pushing patterns”, she tells FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is in the process of becoming the first country to ban the use of the substance glyphosate in herbicides.
The Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development,
Romain Schneider, is thus implementing the government’s commitment by
banning the use of glyphosate-based plant protection products on
Indeed, the 2018-2023 coalition agreement stipulates for “the
abandonment of the use of glyphosate by 31 December 2020, in compliance
with the relevant legal provisions”.
Glyphosate phase-out by 31 December 2020
With a view to this abandonment, the actors concerned, such as
farmers, winegrowers, market gardeners and holders of authorisations,
were informed in advance by the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and
Rural Development of the planned measures:
Withdrawal of the marketing authorisation of plant protection
products containing the active substance glyphosate from 1 February
Period for using up stocks granted until 30 June 2020
Grace period for the use of these products by professional or private users until 31 December 2020.
Luxembourg, a pioneer among the Member States of the European Union
By this governmental decision, Luxembourg terminates the use of the
substance glyphosate as from 1 January 2021, notwithstanding its
approval at European level until 15 December 2022.
In Romain Schneider’s view, this decision has the capacity to produce
a significant leverage effect throughout the European Union, bearing in
mind that other countries such as Austria have already taken similar
Voluntary renunciation of the substance glyphosate since autumn 2019
Farmers who give up the use of glyphosate-based plant protection
products from the crop year 2019/20 will be compensated under the
Greening and Landscape management program.
Farmers who have committed to comply with this condition will receive
additional compensation per hectare of EUR 30 for arable land, EUR 50
for wine-growing land and EUR 100 for fruit-growing.
Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here
Test Your Food and Water at Home for Glyphosate – Click Here
Test Your Hair for Glyphosate and other Pesticides – Click Here to Find Out Your Long-Term Exposure
According the a new study, soybean production in South America now covers over 57 million hectares, more than on any other continent. The consequences for amphibians have been devastating, as is clear from the study highlights and abstract.
The authors conclude in their study: “Our work has triggered alarm
about the detrimental impact of pesticides (insecticides and herbicides)
on native amphibians inhabiting the shallow ponds of the richest
agricultural lands of South America. We documented effects caused by
pesticides on tadpoles which can compromise the viability of populations
living in agricultural landscapes. The intensive agricultural model
based on the GMO technological package currently applied in South
America is expected to expand (and intensify) over the coming years.
Therefore, it is also expected that native amphibian populations will
continue being affected. We suggest that conservation priorities should
be focused on developing a better policy legislation for pesticide use,
including not only the protection of human settlements but also native
terrestrial and wetland habitats.”
— Pesticides in the real world: The consequences of GMO-based intensive agriculture on native amphibians
M. Gabriela Agostini, Ignacio Roesler, Carlos Bonetto, Alicia E.Ronco, David Bilenca
Volume 241, January 2020, 108355 www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320719309905
• Collaborative work with farmers allowed us to test pesticide impacts on amphibians. • Tadpole survival dramatically decreased after pesticides reached the ponds. • 93% of surviving tadpoles exposed to insecticides, exhibited impairment of mobility. • Glyphosate exposures caused sublethal effects, reducing tadpole mobility in 79% [of tadpoles]. • We detected pesticide impacts on amphibians in real exposure scenarios.
Pesticide use has been suggested as one of the major drivers of the global amphibian decline. Laboratory and mesocosm studies have addressed several questions to understand the mechanism by which pesticides cause detrimental effects on amphibians. However, the extrapolation of those results to natural populations may not be adequate to predict environmental impacts or to understand the role of pesticides in the amphibian decline. By using in situ enclosures, we evaluated the effects (survival and mobility) of common pesticides applied by farmers (cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, glyphosate, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) on tadpoles. We assessed these effects in four common amphibian species from South America across 91 ponds located in the Pampas of central Argentina. We found that survival decreased in 13 out of 20 pesticides applications concomitantly with detection of pesticides in water ponds. 48 h after applications, mixtures containing endosulfan or chlorpyrifos reduced tadpole survival to <1% while the cypermethrin mixtures reduced survival to 10%. In addition, we found impairment of mobility in all combination of pesticides, including glyphosate. The ecological context involved in our study represents the common exposure scenarios related to GMO-based agriculture practices in South America, with relevance at regional levels. We emphasize that multifaceted approaches developed to understand the role of pesticides in the amphibian decline need a conservation perspective. This will be achieved by work focusing on the integrated use of state-of-the-art techniques and resources for documenting pesticide effects over wild amphibians’ populations, allowing conservation scientists to generate better management recommendations.
In September 2009, over 3,000 bee enthusiasts from around the world descended on the city of Montpellier in southern France for Apimondia — a festive beekeeper conference filled with scientific lectures, hobbyist demonstrations, and commercial beekeepers hawking honey. But that year, a cloud loomed over the event: bee colonies across the globe were collapsing, and billions of bees were dying.
Bee declines have been observed throughout recorded history, but the sudden, persistent and abnormally high annual hive losses had gotten so bad that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had commissioned two of the world’s most well-known entomologists — Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a chief apiary inspector in Pennsylvania, then studying at Penn State University, and Jeffrey Pettis, then working as a government scientist — to study the mysterious decline. They posited that there must be an underlying factor weakening bees’ immune systems.
At Le Corum, a conference center and opera house, the pair discussed
their findings. They had fed bees with extremely small amounts of
neonicotinoids, or neonics, the most commonly used class of insecticides
in the world. Neonics are, of course, meant to kill insects, but they
are marketed as safe for insects that aren’t being directly targeted.
VanEngelsdorp and Pettis found that even at nonlethal doses, the bees in
the trial became much more vulnerable to fungal infection. Bees
carrying an infection will often fly off to die, a virtuous form of
suicide designed to protect the larger hive from contagion.
“We exposed whole colonies to very low levels of neonicotinoids in this case, and then challenged bees from those colonies with Nosema, a pathogen, a gut pathogen,” said Pettis, speaking to filmmaker Mark Daniels in his documentary, “The
Strange Disappearance of the Bees,” at Apimondia. “And we saw an
increase, even if we fed the pesticide at very low levels — an increase
in Nosema levels — in direct response to the low-level feeding of neonicotinoids.”
The dosages of the pesticide were so miniscule, said vanEngelsdorp,
that it was “below the limit of detection.” The only reason they knew
the bees had consumed the neonicotinoids, he added, was “because we
Bee health depends on a variety of synergistic factors, the scientists were careful to note. But in this study, Pettis said, they were able to isolate “one pesticide and one pathogen and we clearly see the interaction.”
The evidence was mounting. Shortly after vanEngelsdorp and Pettis revealed their findings, a number of French researchers produced
a nearly identical study, feeding minute amounts of the same pesticide
to bees, along with a control group. The study produced results that
echoed what the Americans had found.
Drifting clouds of neonicotinoid dust from planting operations caused
a series of massive bee die-offs in northern Italy and the
Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. Studies have shown neonicotinoids
impaired bees’ ability to navigate and forage for food, weakened bee colonies, and made them prone to infestation by parasitic mites.
In 2013, the European Union called for a temporary suspension of the
most commonly used neonicotinoid-based products on flowering plants,
citing the danger posed to bees — an effort that resulted in a permanent
ban in 2018.
In the U.S., however, industry dug in, seeking not only to discredit the research but to cast pesticide companies as a solution to the problem. Lobbying documents and emails, many of which were obtained through open records requests, show a sophisticated effort over the last decade by the pesticide industry to obstruct any effort to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Bayer and Syngenta, the largest manufacturers of neonics, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of seeds pretreated with neonics, cultivated ties with prominent academics, including vanEngelsdorp, and other scientists who had once called for a greater focus on the threat posed by pesticides.
The companies also sought influence with beekeepers and
regulators, and went to great lengths to shape public opinion. Pesticide
firms launched new coalitions and seeded foundations with cash to focus
on nonpesticide factors in pollinator decline.
“Position the industry as an active promoter of bee health, and advance best management practices which emphasize bee safety,” noted an internal planning memo from CropLife America, the lobby group for the largest pesticide companies in America, including Bayer and Syngenta. The ultimate goal of the bee health project, the document noted, was to ensure that member companies maintained market access for neonic products and other systemic pesticides.
The planning memo, helmed in part by Syngenta regulatory official
John Abbott, charts a variety of strategies for advancing the pesticide
industry’s interests, such as, “Challenge EPA on the size and breadth of
the pollinator testing program.” CropLife America officials were also
tapped to “proactively shape the conversation in the new media realm
with respect to pollinators” and “minimize negative association of crop
protection products with effects on pollinators.” The document, dated June 2014, calls for “outreach to university researchers who could be independent validators.”
The pesticide companies have used a variety of strategies to shift the public discourse.
“America’s Heartland,” a PBS series shown on affiliates throughout the country and underwritten by CropLife America, portrayed the pollinator declines as a mystery. One segment from early 2013 on the crisis made no mention of pesticides, with the host simply declaring that “experts aren’t sure why” bees and butterflies were disappearing.