Friday, January 20, 2017

Hunger -- the continuing menace

In my 1976 book, "Fear in the Countryside," I examined the political origins of hunger in Latin America (primarily Colombia) and the US. In 2015, at a conference at Pomona College, Claremont, California, I recounted the reasons why hunger still is plaguing so many millions across the world, rich and poor countries alike. I connected hunger with high-tech agriculture, pesticides and government and corporate malfeasance. Seeing foreign imported workers harvesting the crops of factory farmers illustrates why hunger is not about to disappear.

Asking questions during my talk included distinguished scholars like John Ikerd, Vandana Shiva, and Heather Williams:


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Are we Going Backwards?

The coming of Donald Trump to power is likely to have adverse effects on the natural world and society. His appointment of Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma, to be the administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, promises trouble for the already deeply wounded agency. The EPA has been a victim of corruption for decades. The near disappearance of honeybees illustrates our environmental predicament. The industry does not think much of the harm its neurotoxins afflict on so useful and ancient an insect.

Read the article:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Conventional food may not be good for your health

If we had philosophers like Plato and Aristotle alive, they would be besides themselves. They would see things in America's countryside one of us, blinded of the reality next door, would consider as science fiction.

Imagine this reality -- evident in California's Central Valley, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois, New York and the rest of "rural" America -- immense farms growing one crop, helicopters spraying this territory, and almost all farm animals concentrated in cement enclosures fed corn and soybeans coming out of the farms.

Then extend your vision to see how the government approves terribly toxic poisons to kill every animal potentially threatening corn and soybeans, including honeybees, Monarch butterflies and myriad other invertebrates, birds, and other creatures.

If you are honest about preserving your health, you will want to go below the surface of supermarkets and TV advertisements. You will want to investigate the history of agencies like the US Department of Agriculture, the US Federal Drug Administration and the US EPA: environmental Protection Agency. This investigation will open your eyes, seeing the controlling influence of the chemical / pesticide industries, and agribusiness. You will ask: What happened to our small family farmer? Why do farmers (large agribusiness) spray our food with so many sprays? And how come EPA has been approving these "pesticides" / biocides?

I have been answering these questions for a very long time. But here's another article that touches on these realities affecting our lives and the natural world:     

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The work of the EPA

The US Environmental Protection Agency was a great idea that has gone sour. The industry has captured it. In the 2014 presentation in Corvallis, Oregon, I explain how and why that corruption took place.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Food Sleuth Radio host, Melinda Hemmelgarn, interviews E. G. Vallianatos, June 11, 2015

If you think the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first priority is protecting public and environmental health, get ready for a few surprises. Join Food Sleuth Radio host and Registered Dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with E. G. Vallianatos, Ph.D., author of “Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA." Vallianatos takes us behind the scenes of his 25 year career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs. He describes what happens when well-meaning scientists try to do their job, and how economic interests have handcuffed government oversight. Vallianatos presented at the 33rd National Pesticides Forum, April 17, 2015: Full Description)
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Elections 2016: Why so indifferent to the natural world?

I have been writing about the importance of the natural world for nearly as long as I remember. To me its obvious we cannot ignore the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat or the breeze bathing us each time we bike or walk or stay motionless under a tree. Then there are those gorgeous landscapes I embrace in my walks up Johnston's pasture, a mountain at the northern borders of Claremont. But even in my backyard where I do my writing I occasionally see the Monarch butterfly landing on the green leaves and red flowers of the milkweeds. This insect alone makes my day. Its large diaphanous colorful wings open and close like a dream.

But, of course, the natural world includes animals, plants, rivers, mountains, oceans, most of the Earth is natural world. So why our politicians fail to get it? You cannot be healthy if the natural world is unhealthy. That's simple. Or is it not?

I heard practically nothing about the natural world in these past "debates" between Trump and Clinton. These candidates have other things in mind.

But I wanted my candidate, Hillary Clinton, to at least think about the unsaid in the debates. So I wrote her a letter:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Seeds of Life

Seeds are life. I knew that from childhood. I observed my father at harvest saving wheat, barley and lentils for sowing later in the year. Saving seeds is still alive but it is under stress. Agricultural industrialization includes the industrialization of seeds. Now, in the US, we have this unbelievable reality where pesticide companies are becoming seed companies!

This mechanization of almost everything is causing chaos in rural America and seed protection. Experts say crop genetic diversity is in hard times, which puts agriculture also in hard times.

I reviewed two books on seeds:

Both books, one by the Japanese civil-society organization, Shumei International, and the Indian Navdanya, and the other written by an American agronomist, Cary Fowler, warn we better mend our ways or we are for a likely massive hunger, perhaps unimaginable catastrophes.

The Japanese-Indian book urges all of us to find a way to reconcile our differences with the natural world and learn how to live in peace and harmony with nature. The other book is about protecting a good sample of unmodified seeds from calamities, even nuclear war.

Time has come to rethink our failed agricultural policies and rebuild rural America. These two books are an inspiration to action.