Albert Einstein once said that “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live.” Whether or not his statement is exactly accurate, it highlights how deeply dependent we are on bees for our food and nutrition.
Traditionally, beekeepers have reported annual hive losses of 5 to 10 percent a year. But for the past 10 years, beekeepers, primarily in the U.S. and Europe, have been reporting annual losses of 30 percent or higher, far above than what is normal or sustainable. Many U.S. beekeeepers have experienced losses of 40 to 50 percent or more.
The problem is serious and it is growing. In response, both the U.S. and Mexico have recently taken steps toward banning the use of pesticides and GMO crops that have been strongly linked to the widespread bee die-offs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that genetically engineered crops and bee-toxic pesticides known as “neonicotinoids” will be banned in National Wildlife Refuges. This ruling impacts more than 150 million acres of federal land.
The announcement follows a recent White House memorandum that directed federal agencies to promote pollinator health in the face of significant losses in recent decades of bees, bats and birds that pollinate fruits, nuts and vegetables.
This article was originally published on TheNation.com and is republished with permission. Read the full text of Michelle Chen’s article here.
The person who served you lunch today may be going hungry. Surveys of restaurant workers in the Bay Area and New York City show that after spending long days sating the appetites of customers, they return home to empty pantries and struggle to pay for groceries. Nearly one in three restaurant workers suffers from “food insecurity”—meaning they regularly have trouble obtaining adequate nourishment, usually because they can’t afford it.
The study, published by Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) (in collaboration with Food Chain Workers Alliance and Food First), shows that while the prevalence of food insecurity in the food-service workforce is paradoxical, it is built into the capitalist food chain.
Among the surveyed workers—representing a cross-section of cooks, servers, bussers and other low-wage workers in two cities with thriving dining scenes—workers of color were more likely to be food insecure than their white counterparts. Two in three undocumented workers experienced food insecurity. The problem is especially widespread among tipped workers, like servers. Those jobs are mostly done by women, many of them single mothers raising kids in poverty.
Even restaurants that touted their green credentials—marketing themselves as organic or sustainable—did not seem to pay enough to sustain the basic needs of their workers:
The global food revolution is now affecting the bottom line of Coca-Cola.
The company recently announced their second-quarter profits for the year fell from $2.68 billion to $2.6 billion, and their revenue decreased by 1%.
Latin America also saw a 1% decline in volume and a 9% drop in sales, which was partially blamed on the new 8-cent per liter soda tax imposed in Mexico.
But the news wasn’t all bad for Coca-Cola: the demand for healthier drinks pushed tea to become their fastest growing product-line, growing 4% worldwide, including a 6% growth in North America and a 5% increase in Japan.
It’s clear that Coca-Cola has hit a tipping point where profits increasingly rely on the buying power of health-conscious consumers. And yet, the company continues to oppose mandatory GMO labeling, which is one of the highest-priority food policies for these very same health-conscious consumers.
Mandatory GMO labeling is widely supported by the American public. In July 2013, a New York Times poll found that 93% of respondents said foods containing genetically modified or engineered ingredients should be labeled.
Even though the public overwhelmingly supports mandatory GMO labeling, the Coca-Cola Company spent more than $1.5 million in 2013 to oppose GMO labeling campaigns.
Last year, we decided to fight back against Coca-Cola’s effort to market products to health-conscious consumers while simultaneously opposing GMO labeling. We joined with our partners at the Center for Food Safety and Food Democracy Now! to launch CokeBoycott.com. Since launching the site and spreading the word across multiple platforms, including Change.org, Causes, and Moveon.org, we’ve had well over 300,000 people join the campaign!
What we eat literally becomes us. It is one of our most intimate communions with the web of life. When we turn our food into a commodity that we consume for the lowest possible price and the highest possible short-term pleasure, without regard for the planet or the humans and animals who may have been involved in its production, our choices come back to haunt us. We are toxifying our bodies as we are toxifying our planet with a toxic food system. This toxic food system is crippling our economy, it’s causing millions of deaths, and it’s causing widespread suffering to a majority of the humans alive today. And it is completely preventable.
Excerpted from a podcast interview with Ocean Robbins on Unplug. To listen to the whole interview, click here.
“Buttermilk” the baby goat has become an Internet sensation. His adorable video has more than 12 million views. And it’s easy to see why people all around the world are fawning over this cutie.