Mike McCarthy has done a wonderful job in covering this story at The Independent in London. This looks too good to be true - but since Sir Robert Watson says that the UK Govt is going to reconsider its existing approval of neonicotinoids in the light of the new research from Stirling and from France - it looks as if the dam is finally bursting.
Anyone who would like to email Mike McCarthy and thank him personally - on behalf of bees, wildlife and the environment -please feel free to do so.
His email is: McCarthy
Cheers Graham White
(below is an edited version,ed)
The chief scientist at the Department of the Environment, Sir Robert Watson, told The Independent that the British Government is to reconsider its refusal to ban neonicotinoid pesticides (the nerve-agent chemicals blamed for the collapse of bee colonies worldwide).
Sir Robert, a former head of the UN climate panel, begins a comprehensive re-evaluation of the Government's stance after two new scientific studies (from Britain and France) strongly linked neonicotinoid use to bee declines. He said the new studies, and others, would be closely analysed.
Despite mounting evidence that they are harmful to bees and other pollinating insects, even in minute doses, the British Government has refused previous requests to consider a precautionary suspension of the chemicals, which have already been banned in France and Italy.
The role of bees in pollinating crops is worth billions of pounds annually to global agriculture. They are vital (as in ‘we need them to live, without them we’d be dead’ ed).
Even on Thursday, after the new studies were published, a spokesman for Defra (Department for Food and Rural Affairs) said the new research did not change the Government's position, and that "the evidence shows that neonicotinoids do not pose an unacceptable risk to honey bees". ( What planet is this spokesperson from? Not ours surely.ed)
But yesterday Sir Robert said: "The real Defra position is the following: we will absolutely look at the University of Stirling work, the French work, and the American work that came out a couple of months ago [a study by the US government's leading bee researcher, Dr Jeffrey Pettis, which showed that exposure to microscopic doses of neonicotinoids weakened bees' resistance to disease]. We must look at this in real detail to see whether or not the current British position is correct or is incorrect.
He added: "I want to get a really careful analysis of all three papers, and I've asked for a briefing on some ongoing work that we've been doing ourselves.
I want this all reassessed, very, very carefully."
The final PPT Verdict against the Big Six Agrochemical Companies: Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, and BASF is now available and may be downloaded here. PAN International organised a historic session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal in Bangalore on December 3-6, 2012, attended by hundreds of peasant farmers, agricultural workers, and activists. Witnesses from all over the world gave testimony on the human rights violations perpetrated by the agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs). Below is a brief summary of the Tribunal’s Findings and Recommendations.
The six TNCs are responsible for gross, widespread and systematic violations of the right to health and life, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as of civil and political rights, and women and children’s rights.
The United States, Switzerland, and Germany (Home States), have demonstrably failed to comply with their internationally accepted responsibility to promote and protect human rights, especially of vulnerable populations. These three States, where the six corporations are registered and headquartered, have failed to adequately regulate, monitor and discipline these entities by national laws and policy; have unjustifiably promoted a double standard approach prohibiting the production of hazardous chemicals at home while allowing their own TNCs unrestrained license for these enterprises in other States, especially of the Global South.
Technology-importing (Host) states are responsible for not adequately protecting human rights and social movement activists from vexation and harassment; not adequately protecting independent scientists; not fully pursuing alternatives and less hazardous forms of agricultural production; and not honouring obligations from the ILO Conventions.
Some of the policies of the WHO, FAO and ILO are not fully responsive to the urgency of regulation and redress, as articulated by suffering peoples, and human rights and social movement activist groups and associations. A more proactive role is especially indicated in the field of hazardous agrochemicals and agribusiness TNCs. UNESCO ought to take expeditious and effective steps for the protection of academic and scientific freedom of researchers and specialists who raise justifiable alarm over the long term impact of pesticides.
The establishment of an appropriate international mechanism to investigate gross and flagrant violations of human rights by TNCs, host and home states: a body, before which individual or collective victims could bring their claims and demands for justice.
For national governments and states not to ratify any new trade or investment agreement proposed without regard for human rights norms. To avoid granting immunity to agrochemical companies from criminal liability under national law. To accept a less heavy burden of proof on the victims and to legislate for the precautionary principle. To prevent TNCs from directly or indirectly harassing and intimidating scientists, farmers and human rights and environmental defenders.
To amend the Rome Statute in order to extend its jurisdiction to legal persons and include the most serious crimes against the environment, in addition to those already provided for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The EU institutions to subject their international economic policy and cooperation to the international rules for the protection of human rights and the environment and to extend environmental liability to the activities of corporations with registered offices in the EU. ___________________________________________
The Permanent People's Tribunal Session on Agrochemical TNCs is organised by Pesticide Action Network International, a global network of more than 600 organisations in over 90 countries which has been working to eliminate the use of pesticides and other hazardous technologies.
See the full coverage of the PPT Session here. Download the final PPT Verdict against the Big Six Agrochemical Companies here.
Any of you who have ever queued up to join the audience for the recording of a radio broadcast at London's BBC Radio Theatre, will surely have experienced an often miserable hour or so in wet and windy weather, with the queue snaking in a long line outside Broadcasting House, umbrellas aloft, prior to being ushered into the warmth of the building and the welcome atmosphere to watch a radio recording.
However, these long miserable queues, are, I'm pleased to say, no more, as with the opening up of the elegant and ultra-smart new Broadcasting House extension, audiences are now ushered in to enjoy a public space, where the audiences can enjoy such facilities as the Media Café, whilst waiting to go and see Just A Minute, The Now Show, The News Quiz, or Newsjack, amongst other radio recordings.
It really is an impressive building and is truly a creative hub of broadcasting, where, for the first time in history, a whole raft of the BBC's network and global services in television, radio and online will be brought together in the iconic BBC building - Broadcasting House.
It's a great addition to the BBC's portfolio of broadcasting centres across the UK.
Recently, the Radio 4 Extra staff had the experience of being ushered in from the ‘new wing’ to the Radio Theatre for the Audio and Music Awards. We were all delighted to be one of the nominations for ‘Team of theYear’, and waited with bated breaths for the winner to be announced
It was - The BBC at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Team.
And I have to say, I did not feel that we had lost out, as the team which ran the Edinburgh Festival did a magnificent job, creating a new venue there and bringing a wonderful range of programmes to listeners and viewers. My congratulations to their team. Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes, BBC Radio4 Extra
This is a busy time of year. Also a traumatic and tense one.
Barack Obama was quoted as saying that if he had a son he would look
likeTrayvon, the 17 year old boy who was shot dead by a Neighbourhood watch guy
in Florida (or maybe he was just a ‘hood’). In view of the approaching Presidential
elections I think it was very brave of Obama to align himself with the dead
In the UK, George Galloway has fucked up everyone’s plans by
winning the Bradford West byelection from a safe Labour seat, with a huge
majority for his Respect Party. Fucking brilliant I think and I hope it will
inspire disenchanted people all over the globe to find a worthy, intelligent,
uncorrupted candidate who cares about poor unemployed scared and worried people
– and vote them in.
All you Apple users – Apple is abusing its Chinese workers. Too
many have already committed suicide. They have to work long hours, standing up,
their feet swell; it sounds gross.
Also in the UK, Polly Higgins is informing people about her
excellent project Ecocide. She has already spent valuable time travelling the
globe in order to attract support for the premise and to legally make it a
crime to misuse or damage the Earth. Our son Matt Morton (Oxford East Green
Party Councillor) totally supports making Ecocide a crime.
In Toulouse, French citizens (including children) were shot dead
by a 23 year old French citizen. In amongst the terrible grief for such an
awful waste of life (including the shooter as he was shot dead by French
police) there are many unanswered questions.
“Where did he get all his guns?” “Why was he so full of hatred?”
“Did he plan these killings by himself?”
Another disturbing piece of news from China is that young
healthy dissidents are being executed and ailing Chinese from America,
Singapore and Malaysia are flying in to acquire the healthy organs of the dead
young prisoners. Sick, huh! (I did not make this up – it was on the BBC World
Evidently another Iranian scientist was killed this week. Does
anyone care? I do. We know some really nice Iranians. George Galloway spoke
against war and occupation abroad and inequality at home. I would agree. This
war and occupation and killing of other countries’ scientists has to stop.
From the midst of rural France it all seems so improbable.
Especially as we have had days of continuous sunshine beaming from bright blue
skies. However today when I asked our local alimentation what days they were
open over Easter, she replied “every morning but maybe later, depending on la
neige”. Yes the snow! Today it is 23 degrees but in 4 days time they are
expecting snow – buggery bollocks, what is going on?
As a consequence, tomorrow we are going to go to our nearest big
chateau (we’ve got one in spitting distance across the filed and our village
with the alimentation flaunts one, but they are not big). So we’ve decided
(after all its 30 years since we bought our place) to do the guided tour in the
sunshine as opposed to the snow. The chateaux has opened its doors to the
public for the religious observance of Rameaux. We are rather waffly about Rameaux
(ie totally ignorant) but looking forward to dropping tools and hanging about
doing nothing for once.
Yesterday I got through a task that I should have taken care of
last August – cleaning up piss and shit from hundreds of hornets that had build
a nest in our attic. Once the darling brave man (not Roger) had killed them all
the day after our tiny vulnerable grandchildren had arrived for their summer
hols, I shut the attic door and got on with the other tasks that had elbowed
their way to the top of my mental (in the true sense of the word) list.
So enjoy the sun but don’t pack away your snowsuit yet. Joselyn Morton
We once again visited Suffolk and the pier at Southwold where we saw the crazy slot machines that Tim Hunkin had invented for his amusement arcade on the pier. Outside the cold wind howled and took the skin off your lips. A sculpture was encased in ice and the waves looked menacing.
Back in London, Sloane Square underground (our local, as we played ‘Sloanies on loan’) was strangely empty. Paris metro had more violin players than your wildest dream. Chez nous, the pond was frozen solid. ed