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Ontario Targets Honeybee Killing Pesticides

Neonicotinoids (NNIs) are the most widely used insecticides in the world. In theory, they are the perfect pesticide, coating the seeds of a crop so the growing plant is seeped in their poison, killing any munching marauder. No sloppy spraying, no residue, no toxic runoff into nearby streams - according to the marketing speak. In truth, however, NNIs are much less precise than advertised. They are persistent and water-soluble, so they do wash into streams and they target more than nibbling pests.

Push to Clean Up Garbage in Oceans

Bloomberg reports for the first time in the G7's history, Germany will put ocean cleanup on the agenda of the summit in June in the Bavarian Alps. The goal is to encourage countries to reduce waste from plastic and tiny beads added to body scrubs and toothpastes that pollute the sea and kill marine life.

The problem of ocean plastic pollution is massive. Plastics weighing 191 times as much as the Titanic are dumped in the oceans every year. Plastics of every description, from toothbrushes to tires to unidentifiable fragments too numerous to count drift as far as the polar regions.

Why Was Dr Oz Is Such A Threat

For the one or two people on the continent who don’t know Dr. Mehmet Oz, he is a respected cardiothoracic surgeon with his own TV show. With almost 1000 shows under his belt, Dr Oz has been dubbed ‘America’s doctor’ . He's known for his belief that western medicine can be reductive focussing on illness instead of health; he supports the need for a deeper connection with patients; he has given considered opinions on alternative approaches to cure and prevent illness; and yes, sometimes he's gone afield of what many professionals in his field would consider sound medical advice. But then again he would be the first to say his show is not about medicine per se, it's about self empowerment. He is also a vocal advocate for labelling GMO foods and believes glyphosate, an agrochemical used in the biofood industry, is a serious threat to public health. That philosophy, perhaps more than any other, has placed him in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.

Should Glyphosate be Banned

For years, the public has been assured that the chemical glyphosate was safe whether it was found in the environment or in our fresh water supply or in the processed food we feed our families. As a result, farmers spray more than 185 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides, particularly Monsanto’s Roundup, on food crops in North America The questionable agrochemical is also the third most commonly used herbicide for industrial and commercial land and the second most commonly used herbicide in the home and garden. A whopping twenty-five million applications are spread on yards within easy reach of children, pregnant women, the elderly and pets, every year. In short, this herbicide is everywhere. So why the concern? Turns out the industry reports behind glyphosate's safety may have been overstated.

Agribusiness Earth's New Superhero? Maybe Not.

Corporate actions happens for many reasons. Sometimes they are tied to economic shifts, other times ephemeral political winds are a trigger or as we all know technological revolutions like transgenics can cause major upheavals. This week two major agribusinesses have taken actions to correct some serious wrongs. Mind you, they are not admitting anything, they're just throwing money at two problems that they contributed to originally. Step in the right direction? Yep. Enough to make a major difference? Nope.

More Bad News for Honeybees

Bayer CropScience just scored a big win on both sides of the Canada/US borders. In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it completed the registration of Bayer’s new pesticide, flupyradifurone. The chemical spray can now be marketed as an alternative to neonicotinoid pesticides and “safer for bees.” Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), also proposed full registration for the sale and use of flupyradifurone. Good news for the honeybees right? Well, not so much. A closer look reveals the EPA and Health Canada may be misleading the public on the ecological safety of pesticide.

The High Cost of Convenience

Plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe that we can all take responsibility for creating. The choices we make as consumers are literally choking the life out of our global ecosystem. A new documentary, Inside the Garbage of the World, says its so bad, we may not be able to recover. The images are disturbing. But perhaps we need to see exactly what we are causing by accepting yet another plastic bag for our groceries, or purchasing another plastic bottle full of water or buying another throw away plastic toy made from questionable materials.

USDA Approves GMO Apples

UPDATE: MARCH 20, 2015 A genetically modified non-browning Arctic apple has been approved for sale in Canada, just weeks after it received similar approval in the U.S.

Remember the old saying 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'? Well, we may have to rethink that. Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture approved two new genetically engineered apple varieties and they will likely be coming to a supermarket near you soon. How can you recognize them? You can't. Just like GMO sweet corn, these apples require no label.

POLLINATORS IN DECLINE GLOBALLY

As residents living on this beautiful blue planet, we are all interconnected and nothing exemplifies this more than Earth's ecosystems. They are humanity’s life support system. These delicate environs depend on pollinators to regenerate finely tuned elements to ensure continuity. Whether mammal, animal or insect, should these pollinators disappear, the impact on humanity would be considerable. Previous studies indicate that the number of pollinators may be falling, but until now, there has been no investigation of how they are faring on a global level. A new international study does just that and it's ringing a very loud warning bell.

Coffee Drinkers Rejoice Ahhh Maybe

Disclaimer: Don't start drinking loads of coffee based on this study. It's one of those studies that needs more study. Having said that, as a regular coffee drinker, reading the research prompted a sigh of relief -- even if it's only a rationalization to justify the fourth cup of joe that's currently sitting on the desk. Studies already suggest that caffeine may be help liver function. But there's a new medical discussion about whether java juice is good for the heart.