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plotthickens

Un report condemns Big Ag's tactics: millions of deaths are directly attributable.

27 posts in this topic

Here's the Salon story that links (at least) nine primary sources/articles.  The Big Agriculture's tactics to sell farmers compressed nitrogen, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, pelletized fertilizers, and other delicious things is killing soil, creating superbugs and superweeds, and of course these poisons are killing humans (and beggaring farmers while enriching chemical corporations).

Instead of laying out the arguments supporting above, I'm going to diverge from this, my usual tactic.  Let me just explain this point very simply.   Farmers spray/drench fields with their poisons: pesticides, fungicides, herbicides.  The air, water, and land is mostly sterilized.  Then compressed, frozen nitrogen is sprayed out through nozzles forced under the soil: this absolutely kills anything left alive in the soil.  Then they plant seeds, usually coated with more poisons, and continue to spray throughout the growing season, some of which are persistent throughout the plant itself.   PARALLEL: using powerful antifungals, stripping soaps, and antibiotics on a human for years and years, then being surprised when the human just doesn't flourish.  Microbiomes are essential on human skins and in our guts... and they are essential in our fields, too. 

 

Read the links if you want more info.  Most of those who want to argue against my point won't read anything else, so let's address their points.  I know what their points are, they've been the same for literally decades. 

 

But we need modern Chemical Agriculture to feed the world!
 

Spoiler

 

We already grow enough food for 9B people; we have 7.4B currently.  Those going hungry are not getting food due to poverty, corruption, allocation inefficiencies, inequality, and waste.  Transitioning to a better distribution form while ramping up sustainable agriculture practices would mean that more people are fed NOW, and food continues to get less toxic.  I'd settle for just transitioning to sustainable agriculture practices ASAP and worrying about fighting corruption later, but if we're going to solve this problem, might as well shoot for the moon.  We already have the tools to increase production by more than enough to quell any worries... but we'd have to lay off the poisons.

Please note that just one of the finds in sustainable agriculture practices has been that we could quite easily increase cassava yields by 20%-40% with a single step: inoculation with a specific strain of mycorrhiza.  Since Cassava feeds half a billion people as their staple diet, that's significant as hell -- and this inoculation would be entirely wiped out by Chemical Ag practices. 

Here's an award-winning podcast about microbiome use in ag: https://gastropod.com/microbe-revolution/

Please note that Chemical Ag Corporations make it their business to weasel into "new markets" to advertise to farmers before any other method arrives.  It takes at least three years for a sterilized soil to return to a healthy microbiome, and that's with experts working on it.  Frequently the farmers taken in by the ads just go into debt and then default and lose their farms.  This results in things like the Suicide Belt in India. 

 

 

You're just a silly luddite/you can't expect to feed the world by going back to ancient tech/other strawmen

Spoiler

Modern technology is essential to modern organic farming.  CRISPR, MaST, and other tech are already showing promise.  The inoculation from the above Cassava yield example was very carefully researched and sequenced and selected by trained scientists.   This is not a choice between grubbing in the soil like neanderthals VS Marvelous Modern Science, this is a choice between consciously choosing to poison ourselves with our own food VS gradual transition over to the ever-expanding field of modern sustainable agriculture practices.

 

This doesn't affect me/why should I care/only ridiculous hysterical liberal wimmen like you give a shit/other ad homs
 

Spoiler

 

Hormone disruptors are a large part of the pesticide arsenal.  These xeno-estrogens are being found in every ecosystem.  They are linked to:

  • less boys being successfully brought to term (more spontaneous abortions)
  • feminization of males, such as ambiguous genitalia, undescended testicles, gynocemastia, inability to generate enough testosterone,  etc
  • lessening or complete loss of fertility in men

Want your dick to work?  Want a functioning uterus?  Want healthy kids?  Then you probably don't want to be eating hormone poisons.

 

 

If it were so bad for us, it wouldn't have worked/the Free Market would have already fixed this/other scoffing

Spoiler
Quote

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, published in 2014, E. G. Vallianatos, who worked for the EPA for 25 years, wrote:

It is simply not possible to understand why the EPA behaves the way it does without appreciating the enormous power of American’s industrial farmers and their allies in the chemical pesticide industries, which currently do about $40 billion per in year business. For decades, industry lobbyists have preached the gospel of unregulated capitalism, and Americans have bought it. Today, it seems the entire government is at the service of the private interests of America’s corporate class.

 

 

This is just so bad I can't think about it/How dare you force me to even contemplate yet another horrible doom thing we're facing/I feel helpless argh
 

Actually, it's a really good thing.  Imagine if people in the 1950's and 1960's had said "Hey, cigarette smoking gives you cancer!  That's awful!  Let's put some breaks on this poisoning."  So many people would not have had to suffer and die, so many millions of dollars wasted on cancer treatment.  Just think how many spontaneous abortions, malformed reproductive tracts, acute poisonings, and other horrid outcomes we could avoid -- while feeding more people at less cost --  if we just transitioned to sustainable agriculture. 

 

And you can help: buy Organic or even Transitionally Organic, even if only once in a while.  Yes, that's all you need to do to help.  :) 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, plotthickens said:

buy Organic

We do this as much as is humanly possible (and as local as possible), and my mother practically raised us on organic produce. Organic stuff tastes better anyway. Organic tomatoes are my passion.

Edited by Madden

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Another vote for organic produce, free range animals and sustainable seafood!

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I am unclear on your points. You notify of the salon article, make a statement about the UN condemning "big ag", assume that information is a given and draw an unsupported and subjective parallel to "microbiomes" on skin. There's nothing to agree or disagree with here. Give us a statement to discuss, not a god damn infomercial.

Edited by Nerdsmith

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2 hours ago, Nerdsmith said:

I am unclear on your points. You notify of the salon article, make a statement about the UN condemning "big ag", assume that information is a given a draw an unsupported and subjective parallel to "microbiomes" on skin. There's nothing to agree or disagree with here. Give us a statement to discuss, not a god damn infomercial.

Title:

Un report condemns Big Ag's tactics: millions of deaths are directly attributable.

AKA second sentence:

The Big Agriculture's tactics to sell farmers compressed nitrogen, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, pelletized fertilizers, and other delicious things is killing soil, creating superbugs and superweeds, and of course these poisons are killing humans (and beggaring farmers while enriching chemical corporations).

AKA rephrased:

Millions of deaths are directly attributable to the tactics of large, corporate, chemical-focused agriculture, as reported by the UN; links found in Salon article provide primary sources, studies, trials, and proof. 

 

The above three statements are merely restatements of the articles linked.  This means my post wasn't an infomercial, but reporting on information coming from the United Nations.  The larger portion of my OP was neither restatements nor infomercial, it was rebuffing the typical types of arguments I get year after year on here when I try to talk about transitioning to Sustainable Agriculture.  "Infomercial" is a new one, though.

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Okay. The comparison still seems a pretty wide chasm. I'd be happy to jump up and down on either side of it but I'm not going to try jump across. ;)

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6 minutes ago, Nerdsmith said:

Okay. The comparison still seems a pretty wide chasm. I'd be happy to jump up and down on either side of it but I'm not going to try jump across. ;)

Perhaps you should read the linked article and embedded links to the two reports, since your responses point to not reading them.  

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2 minutes ago, Nerdsmith said:

Too much straw for logical debate... sorry, I'm checking out of this one.

Good since you've brought nothing of value into this discussion and have done nothing but shit straw all over the thread.

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1 hour ago, Nerdsmith said:

Too much straw for logical debate... sorry, I'm checking out of this one.

 

44 minutes ago, Nerdsmith said:

Hahaha, you're not looking for discussion. You're looking for agreement.

Apparently not.

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1 hour ago, Nerdsmith said:

Too much straw for logical debate... sorry, I'm checking out of this one.

A UN report, multiple scientific studies, primary sources have "too much straw"?  No.  You just want to niggle a response from other people.  Fine, you have your responses, now next time you go to the store, consider buying Organic produce.

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22 minutes ago, RBM said:

Here's a case Big Picture Agriculture featured that  you might be interested in, One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts.

BPA's site is all about issues like the OP.

Thanks for sharing this clip! Ethical farming/business practices gets my thumbs up since everyone wins within a healthy ecosystem.

This was entertaining and eye opening, from the linked site:

https://bigpictureagriculture.blogspot.ca/2011/06/what-white-house-garden-would-look-like.html

shzqEi75wz4pLAwiH0Wzd_aAQpsqmdMthJI24E00

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My father was an executive at Monsanto.  I'm also a conservative and not a feminist...yet I wholeheartedly agree with all your points.

Just follow the money.  It's not about caring for the environment or people/animals.  I read recently that we are being exposed to 2,000 new chemicals every year, most of which haven't been tested for safety in humans. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Palladium said:

My father was an executive at Monsanto.  I'm also a conservative and not a feminist...yet I wholeheartedly agree with all your points.

Just follow the money.  It's not about caring for the environment or people/animals.  I read recently that we are being exposed to 2,000 new chemicals every year, most of which haven't been tested for safety in humans. 

Did you watch the clip that RBM linked?  It's pretty cool since it illustrates the difference between a healthy ecosystem and an unhealthy one.

Edited by Distance

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2 hours ago, Palladium said:

My father was an executive at Monsanto.  I'm also a conservative and not a feminist...yet I wholeheartedly agree with all your points.

Just follow the money.  It's not about caring for the environment or people/animals.  I read recently that we are being exposed to 2,000 new chemicals every year, most of which haven't been tested for safety in humans. 

 

 

Yup, the money trail speaks volumes ? Money is the weakest link to capitalism's otherwise pretty good economic system.

Did it break out the exposure by mode of exposure ? For example, how much exposure is ingested via our so-called food supply ?

Edited by RBM

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On 19/03/2017 at 6:33 PM, plotthickens said:

The Big Agriculture's tactics to sell farmers compressed nitrogen, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, pelletized fertilizers, and other delicious things is killing soil, creating superbugs and superweeds, and of course these poisons are killing humans (and beggaring farmers while enriching chemical corporations).

Instead of laying out the arguments supporting above, I'm going to diverge from this, my usual tactic.  Let me just explain this point very simply.   Farmers spray/drench fields with their poisons: pesticides, fungicides, herbicides.  The air, water, and land is mostly sterilized.  Then compressed, frozen nitrogen is sprayed out through nozzles forced under the soil: this absolutely kills anything left alive in the soil.  Then they plant seeds, usually coated with more poisons, and continue to spray throughout the growing season, some of which are persistent throughout the plant itself.   PARALLEL: using powerful antifungals, stripping soaps, and antibiotics on a human for years and years, then being surprised when the human just doesn't flourish.  Microbiomes are essential on human skins and in our guts... and they are essential in our fields, too. 

I'm on board with limiting pesticides.

But, given how in the UK, the non-pesticide foods are called "organic" and are priced at close to double the price of foods containing pesticides, these sort of arguments have been commercialised into yet another way to increase profits. So I'm rather pessimistic about the benefits of these sorts of condemnations.

Edited by scorpiomover

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2 hours ago, scorpiomover said:

But, given how in the UK, the non-pesticide foods are called "organic" and are priced at close to double the price of foods containing pesticides, these sort of arguments have been commercialised into yet another way to increase profits. So I'm rather pessimistic about the benefits of these sorts of condemnations.

Where I live in the USA. the price difference used to be like that. Now it's starting to even out, and on a rare occasion the organic version is cheaper (carrots). 

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Organic food isn't perfect either as it has more waste, and thus requires more land. And many many people cannot afford organic. 

That said, I do agree that there should be strict regulations on harmful chemicals to ensure human and environmental health. Given that something like 40% of all food grown is never eaten, I think the much more economical thing that everyone can do, regardless of income, is to work at cutting down on food waste. We'll always have some food waste - there will always be unexpected freezes or incorrectly calculating how much you can eat, but given that 30% of food is thrown away at the consumer level, I think we can do better. Calculate how much food you actually eat, don't religiously follow expiration dates for food, if you want to try something new get only a *small* amount, and, finally, buy ugly produce. Huge amounts of produce is thrown out because consumers only want the "prettiest" ones. 

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On 3/19/2017 at 11:33 AM, plotthickens said:

Hormone disruptors are a large part of the pesticide arsenal.  These xeno-estrogens are being found in every ecosystem.  They are linked to:

  • less boys being successfully brought to term (more spontaneous abortions)
  • feminization of males, such as ambiguous genitalia, undescended testicles, gynocemastia, inability to generate enough testosterone,  etc
  • lessening or complete loss of fertility in men

Want your dick to work?  Want a functioning uterus?  Want healthy kids?  Then you probably don't want to be eating hormone poisons.

To date there is no evidence to suggest that consuming organic produce (when compared to non-organic produce consumption) increases life expectancy, reduces cancer risk or otherwise offers any additional nutritional value. In addition arguing that trace amounts of a poison can influence health is in league with homeopathy, which has been repeatedly debunked by multiple governments and health organizations across the world, so I find it amazing that the same people who reject homeopathy (in the name of science) would readily embrace the organic food fad (in the name of health). 

So if you want to argue on behalf of consumer health within the food industry,  I do sincerely believe your focus should be on processed foods. Unlike with non-organic produce, processed foods has been repeatedly connected to an increased risk of a wide variety of negative health side effects such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and reduced life expectancy, and any nutritionist worth their salt would point out that non-processed non-organic foods would be night and day healthier than organically processed foods. 

But sure... just stick to preaching about organic food and then be super sensational about it by trying to connect non-organic consumption to ED and then wonder to yourself why no one takes liberals seriously. 

Edited by Deprecator

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13 hours ago, scorpiomover said:

I'm on board with limiting pesticides.

But, given how in the UK, the non-pesticide foods are called "organic" and are priced at close to double the price of foods containing pesticides, these sort of arguments have been commercialised into yet another way to increase profits. So I'm rather pessimistic about the benefits of these sorts of condemnations.

To expound upon this, I find it rather despicable that people must pay out the wazoo to eat clean food, however, it was only 70 years ago that people having their own gardens and growing their own produce was common, especially during the war era when food rationing was huge. The best way to tell Big Ag to pound sand would be to grow our own food.

My next point, why is it we only seem to get wildly swinging spectrums? Big Ag goes overboard and poisons us all, so then organic farming makes a come back, but THEY seem really hungry for big profits, too! I mean can someone please show me some fact sheets that show the cost of organic pricing vs. the cost of non-organic pricing is equal to the disparage between prices?

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On 3/20/2017 at 2:20 PM, RBM said:

Here's a case Big Picture Agriculture featured that  you might be interested in, One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts.

BPA's site is all about issues like the OP.

 

1 hour ago, Deprecator said:

To date there is no evidence to suggest that consuming organic produce (when compared to non-organic produce consumption) increases life expectancy, reduces cancer risk or otherwise offers any additional nutritional value. In addition arguing that trace amounts of a poison can influence health is in league with homeopathy, which has been repeatedly debunked by multiple governments and health organizations across the world, so I find it amazing that the same people who reject homeopathy (in the name of science) would readily embrace the organic food fad (in the name of health). 

So if you want to argue on behalf of consumer health within the food industry,  I do sincerely believe your focus should be on processed foods. Unlike with non-organic produce, processed foods has been repeatedly connected to an increased risk of a wide variety of negative health side effects such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and reduced life expectancy, and any nutritionist worth their salt would point out that non-processed non-organic foods would be night and day healthier than organically processed foods. 

But sure... just stick to preaching about organic food and then be super sensational about it by trying to connect non-organic consumption to ED and then wonder to yourself why no one takes liberals seriously. 

Watch the clip in RBM's post, the one titled One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts.  It's not solely about human health.  It's about ecological health which results in ecological sustainability for future generations.

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3 hours ago, Deprecator said:

To date there is no evidence to suggest that consuming organic produce (when compared to non-organic produce consumption) increases life expectancy, reduces cancer risk or otherwise offers any additional nutritional value. In addition arguing that trace amounts of a poison can influence health is in league with homeopathy, which has been repeatedly debunked by multiple governments and health organizations across the world, so I find it amazing that the same people who reject homeopathy (in the name of science) would readily embrace the organic food fad (in the name of health). 

So if you want to argue on behalf of consumer health within the food industry,  I do sincerely believe your focus should be on processed foods. Unlike with non-organic produce, processed foods has been repeatedly connected to an increased risk of a wide variety of negative health side effects such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and reduced life expectancy, and any nutritionist worth their salt would point out that non-processed non-organic foods would be night and day healthier than organically processed foods. 

But sure... just stick to preaching about organic food and then be super sensational about it by trying to connect non-organic consumption to ED and then wonder to yourself why no one takes liberals seriously. 

Some of the chemicals that are in the environment and used on our foods are xenoestrogens.   They mimic estrogen and create unhealthy levels in both men and women contributing to estrogen dominance.  Estrogen dominance causes all kinds of health issues, reproductive issues in particular.

And I'm not a liberal so you can take me (and my facts) seriously.

Edited by Palladium

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2 hours ago, StarFox64 said:

To expound upon this, I find it rather despicable that people must pay out the wazoo to eat clean food

As I understand it, food has historically always been a much bigger percentage of people's income than it is now. We've just gotten used to low prices.

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