miércoles, septiembre 29, 2004

This just came from the Center for Food Safety:

> Dear all,
> Please comment to the USDA/APHIS on GE bentgrass with our below action
> alert. For more in-depth info, please check out the comments we submitted to the USDA this past March.
> Thanks,
> Ellen Kittredge
> Outreach Director
> Center for Food Safety
> 660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 302
> Washington, DC 20003
> ph: (202) 547-9359
> fax: (202) 547-9429
> ellen@icta.org
> A Center for Food Safety Call for Action
> Monsanto Company and The Scotts Company have been trying to get
> regulatory approval to release their genetically engineered (GE)
> Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass since 2002. If approved, the
> genetically engineered grass would be used on golf courses and lawns
> across the country.
> However, the Biotechnology Regulatory Service (BRS), an agency within
> the USDA/APHIS, has agreed to conduct the first ever environmental
> impact statement (EIS) on a genetically engineered crop. The agency is
> now seeking public comment on the scope of the proposed EIS for GE
> creeping bentgrass, and it is very important that they hear from you!
> Roundup Ready GE bentgrass is able to withstand sprayings of the
> popular herbicide Roundup. The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of
> Land Management (BLM) oppose the approval of this GE grass because
> they would lose the ability to use Roundup, one of their best methods
> of weed control, to keep the GE bentgrass out of national forests and
> BLM lands.
> If released into the environment, GE bentgrass will almost certainly
> cross-pollinate and contaminate on a very wide scale. Bentgrass is
> wind-pollinated, has very light seeds, and can outcross with 12-14
> wild relatives.
> A recent study conducted in Oregon demonstrated that approval of this
> GE organism would virtually ensure contamination of wild relatives via
> GE pollen-flow. The study found that GE creeping bentgrass can
> cross-pollinate with related species as far away as 13 miles. For more
> information see the Center for Food Safety's press release on the recent contamination event.
> Please submit your comments today. (Sample comments below). The
> deadline for submission is October 25, 2004
> You may submit comments via any of the following methods:
> Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your
> comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 03-101-2,
> Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700
> River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your
> comment refers to Docket No. 03-101-2.
> E-mail: Address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your
> comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send
> attached files. Please include your name and address in your message
> and ``Docket No. 03-101-2'' on the subject line.
> Agency Web site: Go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/cominst.html
> for a form you can use to submit an e-mail comment through the APHIS
> Web site.
> * * * * * Sample Comments * * * * *
> Dear Sir/Madam,
> I am writing in regard to Docket No. 03-101-2, the Animal and Plant
> Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) intent to prepare an environmental
> impact statement (EIS) relative to its consideration of a petition
> received from Monsanto Company and The Scotts Company for a
> determination of nonregulated status for GE creeping bentgrass. It is
> critical that APHIS conduct an environmental impact statement on GE
> creeping bentgrass, as the release of this GE organism has unique
> potential to negatively impact the natural environment.
> I urge APHIS to consider the following points in preparation of its
> environmental impact statement. Creeping bentgrass is a perennial,
> wind-pollinated species that has potential to cross-pollinate with
> 12-14 wild relatives. No other commercialized genetically engineered
> organism is a perennial species with the potential to cross-pollinate
> with such a large number of wild relatives.
> A recent study conducted by the EPA found evidence of "multiple
> instances at numerous locations of long-distance viable pollen
> movement from multiple source fields of GM (genetically modified)
> creeping bentgrass." Additionally, the study found that the bentgrass
> had the potential to cross-pollinate with species up to 13 miles away.
> If approved for commercial release, genetically engineered
> bentgrass could be planted on more than 17,000 golf courses and
> millions of private lawns across the country. No other genetically
> engineered organism has been planted on small plots of public and
> private lands spread throughout the country. Up until now, genetically
> engineered organisms have been limited to farmland. Such widescale
> plantings virtually ensure contamination by GE bentgrass.
> Genetically engineered bentgrass has been opposed by both the U.S.
> Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), because it and
> related species can be serious weeds, and because they would lose the
> ability to use Roundup, one of their best methods of weed control, to
> keep the GE creeping bentgrass out of national forests and BLM lands.
> Thank you for your consideration of the above points in your upcoming
> environmental impact statement. I appreciate your commitment to
> conducting an EIS on this new genetically engineered organism that has
> such potential to negatively impact the natural environment.
> Sincerely,
> Center for Food Safety works to protect human health and the
> environment by curbing the proliferation of harmful food production
> technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable
> agriculture. CFS engages in legal, scientific and grassroots
> initiatives to guide national and international policymaking on
> critical food safety issues.

This is from the Global Justice Ecology Project:


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The development and consequences of genetically engineered trees are moving faster than anticipated. If you're opposed to the use of genetically engineered tress, I urge you to please sign our petition to the United Nations.


* CHINA--Two years ago, China's State Forestry Administration approved genetically modified (GM) poplar trees for commercial planting. Well over one million insect resistant GM poplars have now been planted in China. (This info was uncovered by Chris Lang and published by the World Rainforest Movement in August, 2004.)

* MILAN, ITALY--With pressure from the U.S., the U.N.sponsored Ninth Conference of the Parties held in Milan, Italy last December (2003), agreed to allow the use of genetically engineered trees in plantations developed for carbon sequestration as part of the Clean Development Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that the U.S. has rejected the Protocol. This agreement, reached over the objections of the European Union, opens the door for World Bank funding for development of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset plantations in the Global South through the Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund.

HILO, HAWAII -- Independent laboratory testing results released earlier this month (September, 2004) reveal widespread contamination from the world's first commercially planted genetically engineered tree, the papaya, on Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai. Contamination was also found in the stock of non-genetically engineered seeds being sold commercially by the University of Hawaii.


* Global Justice Ecology Project is working nationally and internationally to stop the commercial development of gentetically engineered trees. In early October (2004) GJEP Co-director, Anne Petermann, will be in Durban, South Africa for important meetings on carbon trading and timber plantation carbon sinks. Some of the groups involved in these meetings are The Corner House (UK), World Rainforest Movement (Uraguay), Carbon Trade Watch Transnational Institute (Netherlands), CDM Watch (Australia), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (Sweden), Indigenous Environmental Network (Americas), Sinks Watch (UK), Timberwatch Coalition (South Africa) and more. To read more on these meetings go to our October Events website.

* On Earth Day last April (2004) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Dennis Brutus, a South African activist, Ricardo Navarro from El Salvador, Chair of Friends of the Earth International) and Anne Petermann from GJEP demanded that the United Nations and World Bank stop any plans for forestry plantations developed to offset carbon emissions from the Industrial North.

* In May, 2004, GJEP's Anne Petermann went to Geneva, Switzerland with organizations including The Union of Ecoforestry (Finland), Friends of the Earth International and World Rainforest Movement (Uruguay), to pressure the United Nations to oppose the use of genetically engineered trees in carbon offset forestry plantations developed under the Kyoto Protocol, and to ban their commercial development. On 11 May petitions signed by renowned scientists such as Dr. David Suzuki, more than 160 organizations including The Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth International as well as over 1,500 individuals were presented to the U.N. in Geneva backing these demands.

* It's still not too late to sign the petition to the U.N.
as we will be presenting more to the U.N. Tenth Conference of the Parties to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December (2004).

* Additionally, Global Justice Ecology Project is one of the founders of the Stop GE Trees Campaign The Campaign includes GJEP, the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Dogwood Alliance, Polaris Institute, WildLaw, Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, ForestEthics, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Forest Stewards Guild and Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering. Anne Petermann is Chair of the Steering Committee.

To help and get involved in the national and international campaigns against ge trees, please contact Global Justice Ecology Project . Click here to become a member of Global Justice Ecology Project and support our work to stop ge trees.

More info on ge trees from GJEP


Acaban de publicarme en el portal Biodiversidad en América Latina mi artículo sobre EXPERIMENTOS TRANSGENICOS EN PUERTO RICO.

martes, septiembre 28, 2004

Published on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 by Agence France Presse
Greenlanders Mystified by Incredible Shrinking Glacier

The sun sets on the Ilulissat fjord, on Greenland's western coast. Residents of Ilulissat, most of whom live off of shrimp and halibut fishing as well as the all-important tourism industry, nearly choked on their morning coffee when The Groenlands Posten newspaper described how the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, one of the most active glaciers in the world and the town's biggest tourist attraction, had receded by more than five kilometers (three miles) in the past two years. The chilling news came just two months after UNESCO placed the Ilulissat Icefjord on the World Heritage List. (AFP/Slim Allagui)

Comunicado de Prensa


28 de septiembre de 2004

Como secuela a los deslizamientos de terreno ocurridos en la urbanización Valle de Aramaná en Corozal tras el paso de la tormenta Jeanne, la organización conservacionista Ciudadanos del Karso (CDK) reclamó acción de parte del gobierno en la implantación de leyes y reglamentos dirigidos al uso del suelo en la zona del Karso en la Isla.

Abel Vale Nieves, Presidente de CDK, señaló que “el gobierno ha estado aprobando proyectos en áreas inestables del karso durante los pasados tres años. De hecho, el gobierno esta promoviendo al presente varios proyectos en esta región, tales como la construcción de 711 residencias en un área de sumideros en el Barrio Pugnado Afuera de Vega Baja, asi como la eliminación de aproximadamente 12,000 cuerdas en Lares, zonificadas para conservación, para permitir usos más intensos.”

Este añadió que los cambios propuestos en Lares se llevarían a cabo en terrenos que forman parte de la cuenca hidrográfica del Lago Guajataca, lo que pondría en riesgo los abastos de agua en el noroeste de la Isla.

Vale Nieves denunció a su vez que la presente administración ha estado violando la Ley para la Conservación de la Fisiografía Cárstica de Puerto Rico, o Ley 292, al proponer proyectos en esta zona. Esta ley ordenaba al Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales (DRNA) a completar un Estudio en agosto de 2001, que delimitaría las áreas del karso que se dedicarían para conservarción y aquellas donde se permitirían movimientos
extracciones de terreno. Las recomendaciones del Estudio resultarían en enmiendas al Reglamento para la Extracción de Materiales de la Corteza Terrestre, asi como a la adopción de zonificación nueva por parte de la Junta de Planificación, labor que no ha sido realizada.

Como resultado, CDK radicó un recurso legal contra el DRNA en octubre de 2002 para obligar a la agencia a cumplir con la ley. El pleito fue transado en noviembre de 2003, luego de que el Departamento presentara un plan de trabajo comprometiéndose a finalizar el Estudio en septiembre de 2004, situación que no ha ocurrido, según se indicara.

“Estamos conscientes de que los técnicos del DRNA a cargo de completar el Estudio han tratado de cumplir con el plan de trabajo y de hacer un Estudio que cumpla con los propósitos de la Ley 292. Sin embargo, la agencia y la presente administración, no le han otorgado los fondos ni la prioridad que esta labor requiere. El gobierno a continuado aprobando proyectos en esta zona del País, poniendo en riesgo a las comunidades y el ambiente, tal y como ha ocurrido recientemente en Corozal” señaló el Presidente de CDK.

Sobre 20 residencias en la urbanización Valle de Aramaná en Corozal se encuentran en peligro de colapsar luego del paso de la Tormenta Jeanne, debido a la aprobación de su construcción en terrenos inestables y al relleno de quebradas. Cerca de 7 familias ya han recibido órdenes de desalojo de parte de la Defensa Civil municipal, por recomendación del DRNA. Previo al paso de la tormenta, los residentes resultaban afectados por el desbordamiento continuo de aguas sanitarias proveniente de los pozos sépticos, ante el pobre drenaje de los suelos donde ubican sus viviendas.

Abel Vale Nieves (CDK) : (787) 755-0410
Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera (CDK) : (787) 460-8315


lunes, septiembre 27, 2004

El mes pasado tuve el gran placer de conocer en Point Reyes, California, al periodista Mark Dowie, a quien he admirado por muchos años. La Revista del Sur, publicada desde Uruguay, acaba de traducir al español el excelente escrito a continuación.

por Mark Dowie

La investigación personal de cuatro biólogos de Europa y América del Norte podría representar una amenaza económica a la industria de la biotecnología, que ha reaccionado atacándolos al punto de poner en riesgo sus puestos de trabajo. Por otro lado, académicos e instituciones supuestamente independientes que alguna vez defendieron la libertad científica, los han abandonado. En una reciente conversación pública en el campus de Berkeley de la Universidad de California, a la que asistieron 500 personas y que llegó a otras 4.000 más en todo el mundo a través de Internet, los científicos Arpad Pusztai, John Losey, Ignacio Chapela y Tyrone Hayes compartieron sus experiencias y juntos exploraron las formas de impedir que otros colegas sufran una suerte similar.

martes, septiembre 21, 2004

The New York Times has just published an article about a startling new source of GMO contamination: genetically engineered lawns. Thanks to John Perrine of UC Berkeley for bringing this to my attention.

Genes From Engineered Grass Spread for Miles, Study Finds

A test plot of the herbicide-resistant strain of creeping bentgrass last spring at the St. Louis Country Club.
Teak Phillips/St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A test plot of the herbicide-resistant strain of creeping bentgrass last spring at the St. Louis Country Club.

By Andrew Pollack

A new study shows that genes from genetically engineered grass can spread much farther than previously known, a finding that raises questions about the straying of other plants altered through biotechnology and that could hurt the efforts of two companies to win approval for the first bioengineered grass.
The two companies, Monsanto and Scotts, have developed a strain of creeping bentgrass for use on golf courses that is resistant to the widely used herbicide Roundup. The altered plants would allow groundskeepers to spray the herbicide on their greens and fairways to kill weeds while leaving the grass unscathed.

Look what I've found. A letter from the Grocery Manufacturers of America opposing Puerto Rico's GMO labeling bill.

GMA Letter of Opposition to Puerto Rico Biotech Food Labeling Bill

The Honorable Roberto Vigoreaux Lorenzana Chairman, Committee on Banking and Consumer Affairs The Senate of Puerto Rico The Capitol San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-3431

Dear Chairman Vigoreaux Lorenzana:

On behalf of the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), I am writing to urge your opposition to Senate Bill 621. As you know, SB 621 seeks to mandate labeling for "foods produced through biotechnological means" and is scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Banking and Consumer Affairs on Wednesday, October 10.

GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in the United States. The staff of GMA applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues.

With its unfounded assertion that biotech foods are somehow less safe than foods produced through traditional means, SB 621 would create unnecessary and misleading labels on many food products sold in Puerto Rico. These labels will increase the cost of consumer food products by requiring administration of food labeling programs that will potentially restrict food choices for Puerto Rico consumers.

Food biotechnology is already regulated by three government agencies (the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency) and has the support of several world health organizations. The FDA, which regulates the introduction and labeling of biotech foods, holds producers legally responsible for the safety and wholesomeness of any food product placed on the market. All foods, regardless of whether they are produced using biotechnology or not, are regulated for their individual safety, toxicity and the presence of allergens.

After decades of scientific review, the FDA has determined that foods produced through biotechnology are equivalent to foods developed through crossbreeding and other traditional methods. Thus, compulsory biotech labeling requirements for Puerto Rico provide no additional significant or useful information to consumers. In fact, research shows that mandatory labeling of biotechnology products has the negative impact of misleading consumers to believe foods derived from biotechnology are harmful when the best current scientific evidence indicates they are not.

Based on the concerns mentioned, I urge your opposition to SB 621. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.


M. Troy Flanagan Manager, State Affairs

lunes, septiembre 20, 2004

Taken from the Biodevastation web site:


domingo, septiembre 19, 2004

Mae Wan Ho

It is amazing how much scientific and religious fundamentalism have in common. The late Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize jointly with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for working out the structure of DNA; and rather like the new 'Potentate' of biology, issued the "Central Dogma" to the faithful, which decreed that genetic information flows linearly from DNA to RNA to protein, and never in reverse. That was just another way of saying that organisms are hardwired in their genetic makeup, and that the environment has little if any influence on the structure and function of the genes.

El ALCA, ya no quedan dudas, se convertiría al aplicarse en una nueva y única Constitución global, simplificadora y homogénea, que regiría la vida y futuro de los entonces ex Estados Nación de América Latina.

Este mega-tratado de libre comercio, no se presenta como un acuerdo económico multilateral o incluso bilateral (como el caso de Chile) ordinario o tradicional en su gestación y acuerdo parlamentario. Son tan profundas las reformas que su aplicación y cumplimiento producirían, que para su consideración y tratamiento por parte de los poderes legislativos de América Latina y el Caribe no existen muchos caminos institucionales a tomar.

sábado, septiembre 18, 2004


Everything that's not happening at the WTO

bilaterals.org is a collective effort to share information and stimulate cooperation against bilateral trade and investment agreements that are opening countries to the deepest forms of penetration by transnational corporations.

These agreements -- "bilaterals", for short -- are negotiated in secret, far from the reach of parliaments or people. They have tended to attract far less attention than World Trade Organization negotiations -- and yet their provisions often go even further than existing trade liberalization commitments made at the WTO.

This website was initiated by several organizations and activists who felt the need for an open space on the Internet to share information and action ideas about bilateral deal-making. However, all organizations, networks or individuals active on these issues or wanting to get more involved are encouraged to participate.

Andrés Barreda

El ALCA es una figura “proto” jurídica en la que se expresa la maduración de una nueva forma de dominio esencial, directamente económico, de la riqueza del continente americano por cuenta del capital mundial, personificado por el capital estadounidense. Maduración de una serie de herramientas de control económico (e industriales) destinadas a la subordinación de la totalidad del proceso de reproducción del capital y de la sociedad, lo cual, a su vez, está encaminado a radicalizar formas económicas más desarrolladas que las actualmente existentes en América Latina (como la OMC, el GATT o el AMI) con las que ya se ha comenzado a ejercer el control global de la totalidad del hemisferio norte [más acá de ese tipo de control político, diplomático, pero sobre todo militar, que a lo largo de todo el siglo XX se ejerció en todo el planeta mediante las guerras mundiales, las guerras regionales, las guerras contrainsurgentes y de baja intensidad y las guerras civilizatorias como la que se ejerce contra el Islam].

martes, septiembre 14, 2004


Declaración en oposición a las negociaciones en Puerto Rico del Tratado de Libre Comercio Andino – TLC/ ALCA

14 de septiembre de 2004

El pueblo puertorriqueño, organizaciones no gubernamentales, movimientos sociales, ambientales, sindicales, organizaciones religiosas y estudiantiles repudiamos que se utilice nuestra nación para reuniones del Tratado de Libre Comercio de la Región Andina.

Expresamos nuestra firme oposición a la intención de que se establezca el Secretariado permanente del Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas (ALCA) en Puerto Rico. Nos unimos al reclamo continental en repudio a tratados que obvian alternativas solidarias, de conservación y preservación de los recursos naturales, así como de la identidad, cultura y soberanía de nuestros pueblos.

Condenamos esta nueva forma de invasión político-económica a los pueblos de Nuestra América, causante de miseria, desigualdad, feminización de la pobreza, desplazamiento de comunidades, degradación ambiental y la privatización de servicios básicos como la salud, agua y energía, así como la violación del ordenamiento jurídico y constitucional de los países del Caribe, Centro y Sur América.

Declaramos que no somos ni neutrales, ni imparciales a negociaciones de espaldas a la mayoría, que benefician a corporaciones multinacionales abriéndoles libre camino para apoderarse de los recursos, de la sabiduría milenaria y la biodiversidad de nuestros pueblos mediante la represión y militarización del continente.

¡No más porque lo vivimos!, no más porque estos tratados han demostrado ser un fracaso para el desarrollo social y económico en México, así como para los obreros, comerciantes y agricultores en Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico. ¡No ahora, ni después!

¡Sí a la Vida NO al ALCA!
¡La vida en primer lugar!

¡ALCA es miseria para el pueblo! ¡Otra América es Posible!

Proyecto Caribeño de Justicia y Paz
Coordinadora para la Confraternidad Caribeña y Latinoamericana de PR
Colectivo Vida y Libertad
Concejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias
Mov. Independentista Nacional Hostosiano

Grito de los Excluidos- Jubileo Sur
Conferencia de Iglesias del Caribe
Comando Betances
Frente Socialista de Puerto Rico
Proyecto de Bioseguridad de PR

"Lo que tenemos frente a nosotros es una propuesta de libre comercio en el marco de una dominación imperialista inspirada en la doctrina neoliberal. Sus repercusiones en materia ambiental pueden ser extremadamente graves y aquí no caben las ilusiones y, sobre todo, no cabe caer en la trampa de la inevitabilidad de las propuestas neoliberales. No son inevitables y como país soberano, tenemos derecho y obligación de buscar lo mejor para nuestra gente y nuestro espacio natural"


domingo, septiembre 12, 2004

The Tomales Bay Institute

Another interesting initiative from Marin County:


The Tomales Bay Institute was founded in 2001 by a group of outside-the-box thinkers seeking to expand the scope of the possible in American politics and policy. We are located in Point Reyes Station, California, and affiliated with Earth Island Institute and the Mesa Refuge.


"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else."
- John Maynard Keynes
For too long, the possibilities for change in America have been confined within a very narrow conceptual box. Inside this box there exist only two arenas of activity: the market and the state. Almost always, the market is seen as the best way to get things done - it is more efficient, fair and even democratic than the state. The state's primary job is to protect and expand individual and, above all, corporate property rights.

Within this box, the default solutions to almost every social and environmental problem are privatization, deregulation and tax reduction. To the extent there are alternatives, they invariably require increased taxation, government spending and regulation.

We believe it's time for America to break out of this conceptual box. To do this we need an expanded intellectual framework. The major defect of the prevailing conceptual box is that it misses an entire realm of human and natural activity. We call this missing realm the commons.


The mission of the Tomales Bay Institute is to develop an intellectual framework that includes the commons as well as the market and the state, and to inject that expanded framework into America's vision of possibilities.

Our long-term objective is to leverage system-wide change by creating an easy-to-grasp intellectual framework that inexorably leads to such change.

Etiquetas: ,

sábado, septiembre 11, 2004


With the exception of cattle, 100% of Marin County's agriculture is organic. But the cattle farms are also moving in the right direction. Some of them are downsizing their herds and focusing on quality rather than quantity. Marin is home to the Straus Family Creamery, one of the first American dairies to go organic.

About Straus Family Creamery

"no pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones"

We are a small, family-owned dairy farm nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of western Marin County, just north of San Francisco. We have been farming here for over 50 years. We consider ourselves both farmers and stewards of the land. We are deeply committed to:

  • producing milk and dairy products that are organic and healthful for the general public, and
  • developing sustainable, environmentally sound practices in farming.

We raise our cows without use of any synthetic substances to deliver to our customers the highest quality product and the healthiest. Our products are certified organic. Our milk is so rich and fresh-tasting that it is a surprise for most folks to taste. Our butter, cream, and cheeses are wonderfully tasty - we've won gold the Los Angeles County Fair, The American Cheese Society and the California State Fair as well as being named the best butter in America by House and Garden and called "extraordinary" by Martha Stewart who has featured our dairy and creamery on her show!

Organic farmers and conventional farmers that want to go organic get help from Marin Organic.


The fertile valleys and lush grassy hills of Marin County have been home to thriving family farms and dairies for well over a century. Over the past fifty years, however, Marin has lost a significant number of its small farming operations to stiff economic competition from industrial-scale agriculture.
In response to this development, in 1999, a group of visionary farmers and ranchers formed Marin Organic, an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture and creating a model program to keep farming in Marin County alive.
Today, Marin Organic is an integral part of the agricultural and educational landscape in Marin County, and has become an essential link between organic farmers and consumers throughout Marin.

Farmland is protected from urban sprawl by the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Our Mission

Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) was the first land trust in the United States to focus on farmland preservation. Founded in 1980 by a coalition of ranchers and environmentalists to preserve farmland in Marin County, California, MALT acquires agricultural conservation easements on farmland in voluntary transactions with landowners. MALT also encourages public policies that support and enhance agriculture. It is a model for agricultural land preservation efforts across the nation. MALT has so far permanently protected 35,000 acres of land on 53 family farms and ranches.

Marin also has a very strong anti-GMO campaign , which is run out of The Good Earth, an organic products store in Fairfax.

organic, vegetarian, vegan, green business, Strause dairy, brick oven bread, home made, organic salad bar, hot food deli, carrot juice, wheat grass, organic produce, local growers, free range chicken, wild fish, pesticide free, hormone free, grass fed beef

If all this can be done in Marin County, then I don't see why it can't be done in the rest of the country.

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miércoles, septiembre 08, 2004


I just spent a couple of weeks in California's Marin County, just north of San Francisco. I was there for the Mesa Refuge writers' retreat, a totally gorgeous, enirching and inspiring experience.

photography by Marty Knapp

A place for writing on the edge

The Mesa Refuge is right next to the Point Reyes National Seashore, an incredibly good place for long, long hikes.

National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior
Point Reyes National Seashore Pelican Lake. (NPS Photo) Requires 7 mile round trip hike.

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martes, septiembre 07, 2004

Exitosa la agricultura orgánica en Brasil

Mañana miércoles comienza en Rio de Janeiro la super feria orgánica BioFach América Latina.

BioFach América Latinrket-place orgánico de América Latina

El mercado interno de alimentos orgánicos en América Latina presenta un contíuo desarollo. Brasil es un ejemplo de este mercado promisor, con un crecimiento anual de 50% en
el mercado orgánico.

La Conferencia BioFach América Latina tiene como objetivo dar apoyo a eses mercados emergentes, actuando como plataforma de debates y informaciones para el sector orgáico en América Latina. La primera Conferencia BioFach en Brasil, en el 2003 superó todas las expectativas con 1216 participantes.

Conferencia BioFach en Brasil, 2003

BioFach América Latina 2004, sera exitoso nuevamente bajo el patrocinio de IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movents).

Nuevos canales de distribución (Mercados de Granjeros, Servicio a Domicilio, Tiendas), La Dimensión Social de la Agricultura Orgánica, Orgáicos y Servicios, Productos Orgánicos en la Escuela, Agricultura Familiar, están entre los temas que serón tratados por renombrados especialistas internacionales en la BioFach América Latina.

Brasil será además el País del Año en la feria BioFach 2005 a celebrarse en Alemania en febrero del año que viene.

Dice BioFach en un comunicado lo siguiente:

Brasil será el país del año en la BioFach, feria líder mundial de productos biológicos, que tendrá lugar del 24 - 27.2.2005 en Núremberg. Los principales productos de producción ecológica del mayor país sudamericano son el café, el cacao, las habas de soja, el azúcar, el zumo de naranja, los frutos secos, las nueces y frutas tropicales como el mango, la papaya y las frutas de la pasión.

En Brasil, la superficie ecológica ha crecido considerablemente en los últimos años. Hay nuevos proyectos que se ocupan del cultivo del melón, la piña, la cereza acerola, la guayaba y la fresa. Alrededor de 6.500 productores explotan 130.000 hectáreas. El ministro de Agricultura, Roberto Rodrigues, quiere que la agricultura ecológica alcance el 10 % en un plazo de cinco años.

BioFach forma parte de IFOAM, la federación internacional de movimientos de agricultura orgánica.

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lunes, septiembre 06, 2004

(A version of the following article was published by Z Magazine back in July)

The Carbon Trade

Carmelo Ruiz

Global warming has spawned a new form of commerce: the carbon trade. This new economic activity involves the buying and selling of "environmental services". Such "services", which include the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, are identified and purchased by eco-consulting firms and then sold to individual or corporate clients to "offset" their polluting emissions. While some NGO's and "green" businesses favor the carbon trade and view it as a win-win solution that reconciles environmental protection with economic prosperity, some environmentalists and grassroots organizations claim that it is no answer to environmental problems and that it does not address the causes of global warming.

The carbon trade works like this: an eco-consultancy that brokers environmental services conducts an eco-audit of a client and comes up with a presumably accurate estimate of how much carbon the client's activities release to the atmosphere. Carbon is the common denominator in all polluting gases that cause global warming.

At the other end of the operation, the firm scours the world in search of environmental services that could offset its client's emissions. These services are usually forests and tree-planting projects and are known in the business as carbon assets or carbon sinks, because trees remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in their wood. The activity of these sinks is often called carbon sequestration.

Using a variety of methodologies, the environmental services broker arrives at an estimate of how much carbon a particular sink sequesters, and then assigns it a monetary value and sells it to a client. The client then substracts from its carbon account the carbon sequestered by its newly purchased carbon sink. The client is said to be carbon-neutral or climate-neutral when its carbon assets equal its carbon emissions.

The carbon trade is supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a prestigious scientific body that advises the Climate Change Convention. It is also authorized by the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Contrary to what many environmentalists belive, the Protocol does not seek substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The industrialized countries that sign on to it commit themselves to reduce their emissiones to 5.2% below 1990 levels. However, the IPCC stated that in order to prevent a global disaster, these reductions must be of 60% below 1990 levels. The CDM is one of the Protocol's three market-based "flexible" mechanisms. The other two are Emissions Trading, in which industrialized countries trade pollution permits among each other, and Joint Implementation, in which Western industrialized countries fund climate-friendly projects in the former Soviet bloc.

The players in the carbon trade include:

* Firms that do consulting and brokerage of carbon sinks, like EcoSecurities, NatSource, Co2e.com and Climate Change Capital.
* Companies that "validate" and "certify" the quantities of carbon sequestered by sinks, like Det Norske Veritas and Societe General de Surveillance, both European.
* United Nations agencies, like the Environment and Development programs (UNEP and UNDP), which help corporations to locate and purchase carbon sinks.
* Certain US-based environmental groups, which include the World Resources Institute and Environmental Defense.
* Multilateral banks like the World Bank, which has set up a Prototype Carbon Fund.

Climate Care and Future Forests, both of them UK-based carbon sink brokers, are private entities that have carried out high profile public relations campaigns to promote both themselves and the carbon trade in general. Climate Care is a non-profit organization that sells carbon sinks to individuals and companies and invests the profits in environmentally friendly projects, including wildlife protection in Uganda, energy efficiency in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, and small scale hydro dams in Bulgaria. Climate Care's clients are mostly ecotourism companies like Ecotours, Whale Watch Azores and Nature Trek.

Future Forests, a for-profit business, says in its web page " We help you to see how much CO2 is produced by the things you do, and suggest ways you can reduce those emissions. What you can't reduce, we can neutralise (or 'offset') for you - by planting trees that reabsorb CO2 and by investing in projects that cut down CO2 emissions, such as those which use renewable energy sources." The firm's clients include celebrities like Pink Floyd, Simply Red, Kitaro and film maker Ridley Scott, corporations such as Fiat, Mazda, Volvo, Marriott hotels, BP, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Warner Brothers, Tower Records, Harper Collins and even NGO's like Amnesty International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

However, some environmental organizations have been speaking out against the carbon trade and refuting the industry's claims.

“We are concerned that these companies are indirectly blocking the real solution to global warming, which is reducing and finally halting fossil fuel burning", declared Heidi Bachram of Carbon Trade Watch, a group campaigning to curb global warming. "The idea that people can burn fossil fuels and then plant trees to clean up the carbon dioxide which results is simply wrong. This false ‘solution’ will merely keep people digging up oil and coal, instead of trying to shift to clean energy.”

"Pretending that a tonne of carbon stored in trees is the same as a tonne of fossil carbon ignores the very basics of the natural carbon cycle", Said Jutta Kill, director of SinksWatch, an organization that monitors projects claiming to 'neutralize' fossil fuel pollutants. "There is enormous scientific controversy about how much carbon dioxide any given tree-planting can take out of the air, and for how long.”

“There’s a difference between planting trees, which benefits the climate, and planting trees as part of a programme sanctioning further fossil fuel burning, which does not”, stated Mandy Haggith of Worldforests. “It’s the difference between green action and greenwash.”

“To be able to say you’ve ‘neutralized’ the emissions from your car by investing in efficient stoves or machinery, you have to be able to calculate exactly how much of an improvement over ‘business as usual’ you’re making”, said Larry Lohmann of the campaigning group The Corner House. “But there are huge disputes raging over these calculations. Experts are coming up with estimates that differ by orders of magnitude.”

According to Oilwatch, "'carbon sinks' are not the solution and they will bring more problems, without solving the root cause of the problem. Like it or not the industrialized countries --which are responsible for the climatic tragedy that is occurring -- have a great problem to solve and that is the reduction of emissions and the transition to clean, renewable and low impact energy sources. Only then could a solution to the future of the Earth and its inhabitants become possible."

In its defense, Future Forests responded in its web page that "there are ‘purists’ who believe that the only way to address climate change is to reduce emissions. Future Forests agrees that reductions are critical to dealing with the issue. However, our view is that reductions AND offset are all part of the approach we should be taking. The fact is that until new technologies are commercialised, people will continue to drive cars, take flights and use energy from fossil fuel sources."

"Once a client has reduced CO2 emissions as far as possible, ‘offset’ is the only way to deal with the unavoidable emissions. Future Forests offers best practice carbon offset, which benefits local communities. The only framework for international action on climate change has a target of a 5% reduction. Future Forests’ clients by going CarbonNeutral are able to go much further to reduce the net impact of their operations, products or services."

But the carbon trade's critics have a different view. "The real solution is the conservation of energy, the reduction of consumption, a more equitable use of resources and equitable development and distribution of clean and renewable low impact energy sources", stated the World Rainforest Movement. "Yet, while it is almost a platitude to say so, the political will of governments will be necessary. This is scarce, and when it does exist, it must face very powerful and implacable interests."

Check out also CDM Watch.


Si se pudo en California, ¿por qué en Puerto Rico no?


Acabo de pasar un par de semanas en el condado de Marin, justo al norte de San Francisco, y allá ví un número de cosas que hacen falta en Puerto Rico.

En ese condado 100% de la agricultura es orgánica, con la excepción de la ganadería. Pero los ganaderos también están echando pa'lante. En Marin se encuentra la finca Straus, que es quizás la primera vaquería orgánica en Estados Unidos. Los demás ganaderos están reduciendo sus rebaños para competir en calidad, no cantidad. Ya hay algunos que venden desde sus fincas productos lácteos de valor añadido.

El condado tiene una institución dedicada específicamente a la promoción de la agricultura orgánica, llamada Marin Organic.. Dado que la población del condado quiere alimentos orgánicos y quiere también apoyar la agricultura local, los productos orgánicos vendidos en Marin que son producidos localmente llevan el sello de Marin Organic.

En el lado oeste del condado, que da hacia la costa Pacífica, la batalla contra el desparramo urbano se ganó hace tiempo. Hay un fideicomiso, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, que se dedica a proteger las tierras agrícolas.

Marin está bien adelantado en la educación popular en torno al asunto de los transgénicos, con su campaña de GMO-Free Marin. En noviembre el asunto va a referendo no solo en Marin sino en varios otros condados del estado. En meses recientes dos condados cercanos, Mendocino y Trinity, ya dijeron NO a los transgénicos mediante voto popular. La voz cantante en la campaña GMO Free Marin la lleva la tienda de productos orgánicos The Good Earth (¡donde hasta tienen tocineta orgánica!).

¿Y nosotros qué rayos estamos haciendo en Puerto Rico? Aquí, con cuatro millones de bocas, no tenemos un solo mercado orgánico semanal. La gran mayoría de nuestra población no sabe ni le importa nada acerca de la agricultura orgánica. Tenemos un Departamento de Agricultura local que no tiene idea de lo que es el término "orgánico", y no parece importarle mucho. Tenemos una Asociación de Agricultores que está en las mismas. Y tenemos un Departamento de Agricultura Federal que parece tener una hostilidad implacable hacia todo lo que sea agricultura puertorriqueña.

(Ah, y quiero comentarles lo siguiente: En el área metropolitana acaba de abrir una cooperativa de alimentos orgánicos que no vende un solo producto puertorriqueño! ¿Acaso no hay agricultores puertorriqueños orgánicos? Mientras no incluyan productos boricuas en esa cooperativa, no será más que una plataforma para productos orgánicos importados que competirán con nuestra escasa producción orgánica nacional)

Pero yo sigo diciendo, si se puede en Marin, ¿entonces por qué rayos no se puede aquí? Nosotros los colonizados parece que siempre tenemos tiempo y energía para lamentarnos, maldecir nuestra mala fortuna, y buscar excusas para no hacer lo que debemos hacer para echar el país adelante.


POSDATA: Y si creen que Marin es un caso excepcional y aberrante, en mensajes futuros les presentaré otros casos, como Vermont y la ciudad de Nueva York. Y si creen que esto es solamente cosa de gringos, pues les diré del progreso que se está haciendo en Cuba, Brasil y Bangladesh hacia la agricultura orgánica.

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