Category Archives: Farming

Slug poison found in drinking water

Garden slug

Slug poison was found in one in eight rivers and reservoirs used for drinking water in England and Wales according to the Environment Agency’s (EA) most recent survey.

This has prompted environmentalists to call for greater use of natural predators instead of chemicals. Last November, levels 100 times higher than EU regulations were detected at a water treatment intake on the River Stour in Essex, which supplies water to homes in Essex and Suffolk.

Levels spiked in late 2011 and persisted into 2012 due to wet weather creating runoff and ideal slug breeding conditions.

The obvious source of slug pellets is our gardens, but huge quantities of this chemical are also being used to grow rape seed oil, winter beans, sugar beet and brassicas such as broccoli.

There is currently no regulation to stop widespread use of the chemical and Pond Conservation director Jeremy Biggs said current methods for limiting runoff were ineffective, although he added there were few concerns about human health.

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IF campaign continues to put the pressure on

The Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign is far from over. It was a great day in Hyde Park and you can join the campaign at http://enoughfoodif.org

Hyde Park Rally urges G8 leaders to act on hunger

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About 45,000 people hit Hyde Park yesterday for the Big IF Rally, that urged action on global hunger from G8 leaders when they meet on 17-18 June.

A colourful installation of thousands of plastic flowers, the petals of which represented the millions of children who die each year as a result of malnutrition, was the focal point of the rally. The flowers were made and laid by thousands of people who had travelled to Hyde Park from around Britain for the rally.

Organised by the Enough Food for Everyone IF coalition of NGOs, the initiative is the first major joined-up campaign since Make Poverty History in 2005, the last time the UK held the G8 presidency.

The IF coalition, which includes Save the Children, Oxfam, Unicef and Christian Aid, is calling on the G8 group of industrialised countries, which meets in Northern Ireland on 17 and 18 June, to increase funding to tackle malnutrition and stunted growth. The coalition also wants the G8 to make greater efforts to give people in poorer countries control over their land, both by ensuring transparency and greater accountability over land deals and by closing loopholes that allow companies to dodge paying tax.

Figures published by The Lancet on Thursday showed malnutrition to be the root cause of death for 3.1 million children, accounting for about 45% of deaths among children under five years of age. The growth of a further 165 million children was stunted as a result of poor diets. Previous estimates had put the figure at 2.3 million.

Celebrity speakers included the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates, singer Angélique Kidjo and actor David Harewood.

Britain last hosted the G8 summit of super-power super-leaders in 2005, when wealthy nations promised to allocate 0.7 per cent of their wealth to international aid. Oxfam said: “One in eight people do not have enough to eat. All this can change IF the world’s most powerful leaders get serious about tackling global hunger, tax dodging and land grabs. With David Cameron as the current G8 President, June 2013 is our big chance to save and change millions of lives.”

Anger as pesticides escape European ban

Rally calling on the EU to ban the use of bee poisons and other pesticides in Brussels

Pic: Eric Vidal/Reuters

There was widespread anger as the European proposal to protect bees from toxic pesticides failed to get a majority.

Campaigners across the continent hoped the European Commission’s proposed two-year suspension of neonicotinoids would be passed, but major nations, including UK and Germany, failed to back the plan in a vote on Friday.

The result leaves environmental campaigners, scientists and some politicians bitterly disappointed. “Britain and Germany have caved in to the industry lobby and refused to ban bee-killing pesticides” said Iain Keith, of the campaign group Avaaz. “Today’s vote flies in the face of science and public opinion and maintains the disastrous chemical armageddon on bees, which are critical for the future of our food.

“But the European Commission will appeal the decision and can still get it adopted! This week we got Spain on our side, let’s keep up the pressure on Germany, the UK and other countries who abstained or opposed today.”

Suspensions have previously been put in place in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, but the EC proposal would have applied across all 27 member states. Many major agricultural nations, including France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland, voted for the ban, while the UK and Germany abstained, with Hungary and Romania leading those opposed.

However, the ban could still be enforced within months if the EC takes the decision to an appeals committee. Friday’s vote, by member states’ experts on the standing committee on the food chain and animal health, saw 13 nations in favour of the ban, five abstaining and nine opposing, meaning there was no majority for or against.

Enough Food for Everyone IF

The world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food. Here’s a great new campaign worth supporting.