“Environmentalism has failed” is a statement that deserves attention. It comes from famed environmentalist David Suzuki marking 50 years since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring,helped spark the modern environmental movement.Clouded Earth. (Wikimedia Commons / Stephen Slade Tien)
Suzuki’s recent essay,Environmentalism Has Failed: On Adopting a Biocentric Viewpoint, on the fundamental failure of environmentalism is ominous. The world faces not only environmental calamities such as deforestation, coral reef depletion, and freshwater shortages, it is also mired in economic crises and harsh political realities. Despite the promise of “Arab Springs” and the global Occupy movement, we are increasingly in planetary peril. Throughout his life, David Suzuki has been a leading educator on planetary health; his conclusion about the environmental movement’s failure must be agonizing. Perhaps that’s why his blog offered no new way forward.
The video above features Mark Kastel, the co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute. The Cornucopia Institute, based in Wisconsin, acts as an organic industry watchdog. In his presentation, Mark raises serious issues currently facing the organic food industry, and how you can help.
Lawfully Tainted Organics—How Did that Happen?
You’ve probably heard the health conscious mantra popularized by Michael Pollan: “If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.”
The easiest way to side step synthetic food additives has been to simply eat certified organic foods. But we’ve seen an increasing number of questionable additives being approved for use in organics. There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic farming or food production. The video shows a long list of such ingredients—all of which are supposed to have been carefully reviewed for safety prior to approval.
But just how rigorous were those reviews, and are these additives really safe and appropriate for use in organics? Mark rightfully points out that fighting for the integrity of the organic label is well-worth it, considering the fact that conventional foods are allowed to use thousands of synthetic processing aids and additives, plus residues from a myriad of agricultural chemicals and genetically engineered ingredients.
Research by the Cornucopia Institute reveals disturbing evidence showing that large corporate interests have infiltrated the process, and that the rules put in place to maintain organic integrity are severely compromised.
“… It seems evident that the people doing the supposedly careful scientific reviews and approving these chemicals have mostly been affiliated with the same corporate agribusinesses and the same food producers that are lobbying for their use,” Mark says.
“We thought organics would be different from the rest of the money-dominated corruption in Washington… But the corporations that have gobbled up most of the pioneering organic businesses are relentless in their short-sighted pursuit of profit.” Read more…