Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That Most Ancient, Most Effective Instrument: Our Collective Voice

Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring lead to the public outcry which eventually brought about the banning of DDT for agricultural use in the US in 1972.  Why was Carson's spring silent? The birds had been killed by DDT. She saw them writhe in pain as they died on her own property after it was sprayed for mosquitos without her permission. DDT was used with abandon in those days and children were born deformed, people became very ill, and wildlife died everywhere it was used, especially birds and the songbirds she loved. DDT was pronounced safe by the manufacturer, but it was far from safe and no one was protecting us from it.

A new public outcry is needed to bring an end to the chemical warfare being waged, again, on humans and nature alike.  As Jane Goodall declared, "How could we have ever believed it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?" And not just our foods, but the lawns our children play on, the parks our families visit — the herbicidal poison Glyphosate is being used all the time everywhere we live, play, work... and on the food we eat.

Now, thanks to Europeans actually testing people for evidence of it, we know that it's in us. It's very likely in all of us.

The Schmidt Law Firm has launched a national class action law suit against Monsanto for falsely claiming that Glyphosate is safe for humans. Their website  points to research which has finally linked Glyphosate to cancer and several other diseases.

Whether or not you believe that crossing jellyfish and spiders with our food is safe science, engineering crops that can stand more poison is not safe science and, at the very least, the poisons GMO crops tolerate need to be banned. Not now. Not yesterday. A decade ago. The diseases which have become rampant since around 1990 when Glyphosate began to be widely used are ruining our quality of life. All indications are anecdotal because proper longterm research has not been conducted but it's pretty damning to follow the timeline. A tremendous rise in food allergies and auto-immune deceases coincides with the rampant increase in the use of the herbicide Glyphosate.

Speaking for myself, I have an inflammatory auto-immune disease called Sarcoidosis. My son has lupus. My other son has central nervous system vasculitis. None of us have ever engaged in unhealthy activities or been exposed to toxins... except what we're exposed to in our food.

You've heard of millions of bees dying from colony collapse disorder and the many suspected culprits including neonicatinoids, chemical pesticides that harms the nervous systems of bees. There's also evidence now that Glyphosate is harmful to bees.

Monsanto has invested millions of dollars in savvy marketing, including political influence. The positioning goes like this: "Those leftwing nut jobs want you to be afraid of your food. There's nothing to be afraid of. We've tested it and it's perfectly safe. They just want more regulation, bigger government, more restrictions on business. That's bad for America. We know what we're doing, we've done the research, we know it's safe. Let the experts handle it."

DDT's manufacturers also fought regulation. When it was finally banned in the '70s, however, it had already made its way to the arctic and, decades later, was found in the blubber of ringed seals and polar bears. We have no idea today how far reaching and long lasting the effects of Glyphosate will be. But it must be banned.

The success of Silent Spring to bring about the ban on DDT use for crops was, according to Carson, not the book itself, but the public outcry that resulted from it. What does a public outcry look like? It's everyday people becoming alarmed enough to take action—simple action like writing a letter or boycotting a product... or a store.

Both The Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores are national chains with a combined 6,500 retail locations and $34 billion in annual sales between the two of them. These goliath retailers both carry Monsanto's Roundup, the most popular Glyphosate products, for use by homeowners, municipalities and farmers alike.

Let's send a message to these retailers. Let's sound an alarm in the only language they'll understand. I spoke to the managers of my local Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores and let them know that I was boycotting their stores because they sell Roundup, now shown to cause cancer. Both responded that they have no say in the matter. They stock what corporate requires them to carry. So I told them I would write to corporate. 

Below, for your easy access (these things are never easy to find) are the name and address of the CEOs of The Home Depot and Ace Hardware. I plan to invest a fair bit of time in crafting my correspondence to them which, I am fully aware, an assistant of some kind will open and, perhaps glance over, or perhaps not. What is important is not that every word is read. What matters is that the headline is clear. "I'm boycotting your store until you remove Roundup from your shelves."

My two little letters may not have a very big impact. But what about a public outcry? I participated in the grape boycott initiated by Cesar Chavez when I was just a teenager. I saw firsthand that laws were passed to protect migrant farm workers who were struggling, even dying, under inhumane conditions. Now, today, it's time to put to use that most ancient and most effective instrument, our collective voice, and fight for the health of our families, the bees we need, wildlife we love, our planet in all of its glorious diversity.

You don't want to read a poetic or philosophical tome, so I'll leave you with this:
Share these two addresses. Ask your friends, neighbors and family members to boycott these two retailers and to send even a postcard to these CEOs letting them know what they're doing.  Then let's just sit back and see what happens.  I realize that boycotting very convenient stores like these is a hardship for you. I realize you want to just pick up a few pieces of wood or a wrench, I do realize that this is a sacrifice. And I really, really missed eating grapes in high school. But ask yourself this: If there were something YOU could do to save your loved one from a chronic disease or from cancer, would you do it? If the answer is yes, then you've already agreed this is really not too big of a sacrifice to make.

Craig A. Menear, CEO
The Home Depot
2455 Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30339

Ace Hardware Corporation
2200 Kensington Court
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523

Let's you and I start something today. Let's use our collective voice and start a public outcry.


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