I enjoyed a Zoom cocktail hour last weekend with some amiable new acquaintances.
We started with some well-meaning Zoom icebreakers – the boredom with which so many of us must feel at this 7-month anniversary of shelter-in-place. After delivering the shortest version of the Roundup/GMO/cancer trial story in my repertoire, it was suggested to me that I should move to a remote farm where I could live in a treehouse, dining on raw foods with others of my kind. While a part of me finds that suggestion a compliment, I am nowhere near enviro-cool enough to be included in such a cohort. I still enjoy reality TV, lazy strolls alone through Target, and baked pasta.
The assumed dichotomy between the naturalist hippie vs “mainstream” people presents a challenging, though not insurmountable, hurdle to the non-toxic, pro-microbiome movement. How can we prevent social stereotypes about environmental health activism from overshadowing the scientific reality that we face in our health and environment?
There are innumerable films, books, speakers, celebrities, scientists, doctors, and blogs (ahem), that preach about the glaring abyss of bad health into which we are rapidly slipping. Yet – perhaps like Trump (TBD) – people don’t seem to internalize health risk until they experience a health scare or tragedy of their own. It makes sense that so many of my readers have struggled either with their own health or that of someone dear to them. When it’s your body on the line, stuff gets real.
We cannot wait for more people to become ill enough to care about the chemical that has caused so much damage to our bodies. It must become socially mainstream to care about Roundup – how extensively it is sprayed and how prevalent it is in our food.
Impressively, France appears to have already accomplished this “mainstreaming glyphosate” goal. When I visited France pre-covid, a taxi driver heard me talking about glyphosate (yes, my son says I can’t stop talking about it) and shared that everyone in France knows what that chemical is and understands the controversy surrounding Roundup. And that it causes cancer.
I heard a similar message in Switzerland and saw this landscape designer driving around town, highlighting her lack of glyphosate usage:
France and other European countries are wise to keep the Roundup/GMO matter alive in public discussion. From Wikileaks, we know that the US State Department planned economic retaliation against France if they didn’t support the US AgChem industry. Regarding European reluctance to adopt Roundup-Ready GMOs, the State Department recommended:
We calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory.
“Worst culprits” here means France.
If we can mainstream the message as the French have, we may very likely succeed in cleaning up our bodies, soil, and water. Hippies and non-hippies, tree dwellers and NYC apartment renters, dog people and *EVEN* cat people – all working together to fix our planet, our food, and our bodies.
Listen up, breathers of wildfire smoke. As you know, the California wildfires are producing dangerous, unhealthy air that makes doing anything outside headache-inducing. In my case, lung abraising as well. I learned that burning ethanol as car fuel – created from Roundup Ready GMO Corn – results in questionable byproducts in the air and rain. Similarly, the smoke created from the fires burning in our pesticide-drenched vineyards, landscapes and farms
is contaminated with chemicals as well.
The study Pesticides, Wildfire Suppression Chemicals, and California wildfires: A Human Health Perspective elucidated this scary, rarely considered health risk:
When wildfires burn land treated with pesticide, these chemicals and their combustion products are volatilized and can be inhaled by humans. These constituents can be transported long distances in smoke, although those at the highest risk for exposure are near the wildfire source. Toxicity of some pesticides by inhalation has been demonstrated, although the health effects of pesticide combustion products in smoke have not been characterized.
During wildfire season, we need to wear those N95 masks, not the cotton Covid covers.
The teams are closing in on settlement terms – the major law firms Baum Hedlund, Andrus Wagstaff, and Moore Law Group reached master settlement agreements. Many cases from other law firms remain unsettled, so expect updates on that over the next few months. More details can be found in the court document here.
No word yet on whether a cancer warning label will be mandated on the Roundup bottle. I don’t want to elaborate on this point because it makes my heart hurt. Particularly because I am mourning the recent loss of a close college friend to an aggressive cancer. To know that a label would prevent so many cancer cases, yet may not be placed on the bottle at the end of this Roundup litigation, is sickening.
Stunningly, I mean TRULY bafflingly, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann had his contract extended, despite his clear lack of judgement in acquiring Monsanto in the first place. Bayer’s stock price recently plummeted due to slumping crop prices and weakening demand for biofuel – that same ethanol fuel that I mentioned above that is burning glyphosate into our air and rain. A rare silver lining of the Covid epidemic for you. Investors can no longer be surprised by the deluge of bad news – we appear to have a sinking ship.
There will be more trial and settlement updates in November.
For those of you struggling mentally right now, in the midst of the global pandemic, illness, wildfires, kids at home at all times, work frustrations, tumultuous election news – I get it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (Has he been cancelled? I apologize if so.) said: “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Let’s tie one.
PS – I enjoy a side hustle of dog photography. My dog under the big lights, reminding me to stay happy: