A French farmer who can no longer perform his routine farming duties because of permanent pesticide injuries has had his day in court, literally, and the perpetrator of his injuries found guilty of chemical poisoning. The French court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula, which contains the active ingredient alachlor, caused Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage that manifests as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.
Reports indicate that the 47-year-old farmer sued Monsanto back in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Not long after, Francois began experiencing lasting symptoms that prevented him from working, which he says were directly linked to exposure to the chemical. Since Lasso’s packaging did not bear adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure, Francois alleged at the time that Monsanto was essentially negligent in providing adequate protection for its customers.
To the surprise of many, the French court agreed with the claims and evidence presented before it, declaring earlier this year that “Monsanto is responsible for Paul Francois’ suffering after he inhaled the Lasso product … and must entirely compensate him.” The court is said to be seeking expert opinion on how to gauge Francois’ losses in order to determine precisely how much Monsanto will be required to compensate him in the case.
“It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning,” said Francois Lafforgue, Paul Francois’ lawyer, to Reuters earlier in the year.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to alachlor can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, spleen, and eyes, and may lead to the development of anemia and even cancer. The EPA apparently views alachlor as so dangerous, in fact, that the agency has set the maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) for alachlor to zero in order to “prevent potential health problems.” (http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/alachlor.cfm)
In 2007, France officially banned Lasso from use in the country in accordance with a European Union (EU) directive enacted in 2006 prohibiting the chemical from further use on crops in any member countries. But despite all the evidence proving that alachlor can disrupt hormonal balance, induce reproductive or developmental problems, and cause cancer, the chemical is still being used on conventional crops throughout the U.S. to this very day. (http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_ChemReg.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35160)
“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of (alachlor),” added Francois to Reuters.
Google Earth Engine is a joint project between Google and NASA that allows anyone access to a 30 year time-lapse of the surface of the earth. I made a video about how amazing, terrifying, and important it is.
Illuminated by a Nigerian oil company’s perpetually burning gas flame, boats loaded with the illegally refined fuel lined up on the river, awaiting their next journey to the creeks.
when it’s this visual, you simply can’t ignore it.
In 2010 China passed Japan as the world second largest economy based on GDP figure. It now only has the United States above it, but it can only be a matter of years (10 to 15) before it reaches the top spot. A combination of cheap labor and a can do attitude has transformed China from a mainly agricultural society to one that has become the world’s factory. Everything from cars to toys to highly delicate electronic goods such as your iPhone or Motorola Xoom tablet are made in China.
With its output of relatively cheap products China has enabled many in the world to better their standard of living. Whether it is someone in Brazil, Africa, Europe or America, they’ve all profited from China’s cheap goods. However, there is a downside to this, with consumers voting with their wallets and often buying the cheaper Made In China products, local producers have found it increasingly difficult to compete. The end result is less production locally, meaning less work, meaning more unemployment, meaning buying even more cheap goods from China. As a consumer we are happy with these luxury items which have all of a sudden become attainable, but as a worker we should be worried. China’s success could mean economies in Africa and South America need to find new ways to stay competitive. And not even Europe and the United States are safe. One dominating player is and has never been good for anyone.
Excerpt from my essay on “The Poet,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There is no man who does not anticipate a supersensual utility in the sun and stars, earth and water,” (Emerson, The Poet, 1837). When Emerson said this, he could not fully fathom the extents to which capitalist-consumerism would undo the world through resource extraction. He could not predict the degree to which man becomes alienated from nature and/or the supernatural under capitalism, and thus, the old symbol is buried beneath the new cognizance of ‘profit’. The only “utility” now realized in the “earth and water” is one of material derivation and financial returns; coincidentally, the global corporate entities are, at the moment, working on fully harvesting “the sun and stars” as well. Although many human beings still value the natural world, there are many individuals and their greater constituent entities who extract everything but the beautiful and sublime aesthetics of Nature. Post-modern capitalism is the antithesis to Emerson’s mimesis of man, and man’s taste for what is beautiful and sublime. Unless man—I mostly refer to men of power—is stripped completely of the consumerist ideology distorting his interpretation of the world, he will continue his path of environmental, social and self-destruction. Nonetheless, there still exists an affinity for Nature buried beneath the inorganic objectives instilled in the post-modernist man, but the question is, will that kernel of naturalistic admiration still exist when or if consumerist ideology subsumes all? This is where Emerson, The Poet, and the subjectivity of Romanticism reinstates its social importance, for without it, any appreciation for the natural world would be crushed by the consume-all ideology of a consumerist world.
"Climate change has become the new Voldemort of our time: That which cannot be named."
∴ Jeff Masters, Meteorologist (via leftish)
Polyurethane seemed like it couldn’t interact with the earth’s normal processes of breaking down and recycling material. That’s just because it hadn’t met the right mushroom yet.
The Amazon is home to more species than almost anywhere else on earth. One of them, carried home recently by a group from Yale University, appears to be quite happy eating plastic in airless landfills.
The group of students, part of Yale’s annualRainforest Expedition and Laboratorywith molecular biochemistry professor Scott Strobel, ventured to the jungles of Ecuador. The mission was to allow “students to experience the scientific inquiry process in a comprehensive and creative way.” The group searched for plants, and then cultured the microorganisms within the plant tissue. As it turns out, they brought back a fungus new to science with a voracious appetite for a global waste problem: polyurethane.
The common plastic is used for everything from garden hoses to shoes and truck seats. Once it gets into the trash stream, it persists for generations. Anyone alive today is assured that their old garden hoses and other polyurethane trash will still be here to greet his or her great, great grandchildren. Unless something eats it.
The fungi,Pestalotiopsis microspora, is the first anyone has found to survive on a steady diet of polyurethane alone and—even more surprising—do this in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment that is close to the condition at the bottom of a landfill.
Student Pria Anand recorded the microbe’s remarkable behavior and Jonathan Russell isolated the enzymes that allow the organism to degrade plastic as its food source. The Yale teampublished their findingsin the journalApplied and Environmental Microbiology late last year concluding the microbe is “a promising source of biodiversity from which to screen for metabolic properties useful for bioremediation.” In the future, our trash compactors may simply be giant fields of voracious fungi.
Who knows what the students in the rainforest will turn up next?
:OOOO miracles do happen!!! fuckyeahscience.