GMO Foods have been at the center of global controversy for years. Now, in a rare display of agreement, conservatives and liberals alike are all ruffled up by President Obama’s recent signing of the Monsanto Protection Act.
The act, which was sneakily buried within the new U.S. budget bill, exempts biotech firms from the arm of judicial law, allowing companies like Monsanto to plant genetically modified crops (commonly known as GMOs, or genetically modified organisms). The Act is like a big kiss on the lips from Congress, stripping federal courts of the power to stop the production, growth, and sale of GMO seed crops, regardless of any concerns and criticism.
GMOs have long drawn ire for a variety of ethical and safety reasons, especially concerning safety to the environment and to human health. Currently, the labeling of GMO foods has little to no regulation in the United States. Last summer, major biotech companies spent millions of dollars lobbying against Prop 37, which would have required labeling of all foods made with genetically modified ingredients. Thanks to the defeat of that legislation, the USA is one of the few first-world countries where genetically modified foods don’t require labels.
Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society released a statement to the media last Thursday about a new Chinese development that will endanger the vibrant ecosystem of the Puerto Morelos reef, located about 22 miles south of Cancun in eastern Mexico.
Cousteau reports that the Chinese Dragon Mart Cancun mega-project would include more than 3,000 storefronts and be a retail hub for selling Chinese products. “In addition to the center itself,” Cousteau’s press release said, “722 houses for an estimated 2,500 Chinese families would need to be built as well. The center is to be built on 557 hectares, 418 of which would be on a nature reserve.”
For the first time in 120 years, the Sierra Club Board of Directors will allow the group to lead and participate in a peaceful protest against the tar sands of the controversial Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Project.
The company issued a press release about the event following Nebraska Governor David Heineman’s decision to approve the building of the oil pipeline. The protest will take place on Feb. 17 as part of the Forward on Climate Rally in Washington, DC. The Sierra Club (along with climate change-focused NGO 350.org) hopes that its peaceful protest will convince President Obama to stop construction of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline.
It’s safe to say that many environmentalists cried tears of joy when Barack Obama‘s victory was announced in November. Most had nightmares about the impact a Ryan/Romney Administration could have had on Global Climate Change, matched only by hope for the Clean Energy initiatives the President might be able to push through Congress with the added momentum boost provided by winning a second term.
But as we celebrate the Obama Inauguration today, the question remains: How far will the President go in trying to address Global Climate Change over the next four years? And how far will those who profit from the exploitation of fossil fuels go in order to stop him?
With lots of our GGT friends and family (including Mary’s dad) in the New York and New Jersey areas, we got plenty of first-hand information on the insane level of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. What we didn’t realize until this weekend, when we received an email from our friends at the Wildlife Conservation Society, was that humans were far from the only species impacted by the natural disaster.
The financial toll Sandy took on the northeast will take a long time to fully quantify, but the obscene numbers are starting to roll in. The Society’s New York Aquarium was hit especially hard by the storm, according to a statement issued by Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium. The beloved seaside venue suffered serious flood damage and structural damage and will be closed indefinitely.
If it weren’t for the courageous, around-the-clock efforts of 18 Aquarium staffers, the news could’ve been much worse at the popular 14-acre attraction. Like most everything else in the Coney Island area of south Brooklyn, the New York Aquarium facility was overrun by ocean waters. In addition to the fish, the aquarium houses a host of other animals, including sharks, turtles, sea lions, otters and an adorable orphaned walrus named Mitik.
“Staff have established temporary life support for the aquatic systems, are pumping flood waters out of basements and mechanical areas, and are working to restore filtration and other life support essentials for the exhibit and holding tanks,” the non-profit organization said in a WCS press release. “We have a short window of time to get these systems re-established. If this cannot be accomplished in this critical period, we will temporarily relocate the collection to other AZA aquariums in the region.”
Getting excess saltwater pumped from inside the building and restoring power was essential to the creatures’ survival. But the 55-year-old tourist attraction still has a lot of work left to do. In fact, New York Aquarium officials say it’ll be months before the facility is back up and running. To counter the costs it’ll take to rebuild the aquarium, please join GGT in making a tax-deductible donation to the recovery efforts here. –DeMarco Williams; photos provided by New York Aquarium
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