The premise behind Proposition 37 is simple: People should have the right to know what is in the food they are buying. This ballot initiative would require the food industry in California to say on labels if the food it sells has been genetically modified. After that, it’s up to the consumer to make a choice.
Over the past week California Right to Know, the group behind Prop 37, has launched some new ads to make its point. And, if the 30-second TV spot below seems a little over the top referencing old chemical and tobacco spin campaigns for Agent Orange, DDT and cigarettes, remember that those first two products were made by the top funders against Prop 37 – Monsanto, Dow Chemical and DuPont.
In recent years, we have seen companies from across the spectrum make green claims. Sometimes they are selling the truth, but often they are simply selling snake oil – like the presentation I heard recently by Athens Services pitching a 30-year rolling contract extension to the West Hollywood City Council.
Athens is one of the region’s largest trash and recycling haulers, but it is hardly an environmental leader. The company’s proposal to West Hollywood for what’s known as a single stream method of waste disposal could produce unacceptably high levels of wet and hazardous wastes that contaminate recyclables. The proposal also lacks accountability measures to track where recyclables are actually going. By contrast, San Francisco, with the highest diversion rates in the country at 77 percent, relies on a source-separated exclusive franchise system with high standards to meet its goals.
Not only is Athens proposing an environmentally dubious solution, it is asking the City of West Hollywood for something it’s fighting tooth and nail against in Los Angeles – a long-term exclusive contract.
As the summer winds down, family barbeques are in full swing and supermarkets are filled with shoppers searching for the right foods to grill up with friends and neighbors.
But do they really know what they’re buying? What they may not know is that Walmart has admitted it will soon start selling agrichemical giant Monsanto’s sweet corn, which has been genetically engineered with an insecticide inside it — not on the corn, but IN it.
Bt toxin works as an insecticide by disintegrating the lining of insects’ stomachs when they chomp on the corn. So what is this doing to the bodies of adults or children who eat the corn? We don’t know.
The genetically engineered sweet corn, which has also been manipulated at the DNA level to withstand pesticides that are sprayed on it, has never been proven safe. The US Food and Drug Administration require no safety testing of genetically engineered foods.
A question that is being asked by talking heads on the right-wing yak shows lately is, “Where are all the green jobs?” Well, there is a simple answer: Those jobs are here in the Southwest, my little conservative Debbie Downers. All over Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona you will find massive solar projects with thousands of construction workers getting their first paychecks in months or, in some cases, years. There are so many solar-energy jobs helping us climb out of the absolute depression in the electrical industry that you can’t swing a Birkenstock and not hit one.
That’s right, despite their efforts to kill every single meaningful jobs bill in the House and Senate for the last four years, conservatives have failed to stop the sprouts and shoots of the new green economy.
Why is it happening now? There is a requirement for all of California’s electric utilities to buy 33 percent of our power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
We just returned from a week of glorious — and nearly free – recreation in three of California’s state parks and want to reflect for a moment on the amazing resource that our state government manages for everyone.
Despite the recent controversy about the “extra” $54 million that was discovered by the state Department of Recreation, we were reminded about the incredible natural resource that we all have in our state parks. We should also be celebrating the extra money found to keep the parks open. It’s important to remind ourselves periodically that the only thing protecting the redwood forests and gorgeous coastlines from being 100 percent privately owned recreation centers for the rich, or a special resource for the lumber industry, is our government.
We spent a week vacationing in Mendocino County, the home of redwood groves that spill down to the gorgeous rocky Northern California coastline. We were surrounded by exquisite beauty.