Soil Foodweb Inc.
Dr. Elaine Ingham
Monsanto Tribunal: Report from The Hague
Tuesday April 18, 2017

On Tuesday, April 18, representatives of the Organic Consumers Association and our Regeneration International project gathered in The Hague, Netherlands, along with members of other civil society groups, scientists and journalists.

We assembled to hear the opinions of the five judges who presided over the International Monsanto Tribunal. After taking six months to review the testimony of 28 witnesses who testified during the two-day citizens’ tribunal held in The Hague last October, the judges were ready to report on their 53-page Advisory Opinion.

The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.

The judges also called on international lawmakers to hold corporations like Monsanto accountable, to place human rights above the rights of corporations, and to “clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide.”

The completion of the Tribunal judges’ work coincides with heightened scrutiny of Monsanto, during a period when the company seeks to complete a merger with Germany-based Bayer. In addition to our organization’s recently filed lawsuit against Monsanto, the St. Louis-based chemical maker is facing more than 800 lawsuits by people who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As a result of recently-made-public court documents related to those lawsuits, pressure is mounting for Congress to investigate alleged collusion between former EPA officials and Monsanto to bury the truth about the health risks of Roundup.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the Monsanto Tribunal to announce its opinions. But is time running out for us to hold Monsanto accountable—and replace its failed, degenerative model with a food and farming system that regenerates soil, health and local economies?    

One final note—we'd like to thank all of you who helped support the Monsanto Tribunal. As always, we couldn't do the work we do, without your support. Thank you!

Katherine, on behalf of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Regeneration International (RI) teams

              Spreading Compost On The Range
               Can Earn Ranchers New Revenue

                                                                                           by Sara Snider
                                                                                 Published October 16, 2014

Rangeland ecosystems cover approximately one third of the land area in the United States and half the land area of California. What if that vast domain could be utilized to combat climate change, and ranchers could get paid for land management practices that keep more carbon in the soil and enhance production?

That’s the direction we’re going, thanks to a new carbon accounting standard approved today by the American Carbon Registry. The new protocol allows ranchers who reduce their greenhouse gas footprint by applying compost to their fields to earn credits that can be traded on the voluntary carbon market.

Climate benefits

The standard is supported by research conducted by the Silver Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, which shows that applying a half inch of compost to rangeland soils removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere at the rate of half a ton per acre each year.

If the practice of applying compost can be scaled to even 5 percent of California’s rangelands, we could capture approximately 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is about the same as the annual emissions from all the homes in California!

Compost can be created from any number of waste materials, including green waste (like lawn clippings) and municipal food waste. Using compost from food waste provides extra climate benefits.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the largest single waste stream going to landfills, totaling more than 36 million tons in 2012. When food is placed in landfills it generates methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By diverting food waste from landfills and converting it into compost for rangelands, ranchers will help prevent the creation of new GHGs.

Proven benefits to ranchers

A handful of California land managers have pioneered the practice of applying compost to grasslands at two locations over the past seven years.  These trials, part of the Marin Carbon Project, demonstrate that a one-time application of compost increases forage production 40-70 percent and doubles the water holding capacity of the soil—an increasingly important issue in drought-stricken California.

As an added value for ranchers, the practice may decrease the need to purchase feed because it improves forage quantity and quality.

The promising future of compost

These impressive results inspire us to expand compost research into additional geographies. While this new protocol can be implemented immediately on grasslands in Mediterranean climates, we are exploring the possibility of it bringing benefits to ranchers in different climate zones.

The potential to improve soil health and increase carbon sequestration on a variety of soil types and microclimates is exciting and could provide substantial benefits to ranchers. With the launch of this new protocol, EDF and its partners will continue to research, develop and promote ways that make it profitable for ranchers to stay on their land, enhance the health of rangelands and adapt to a climate changing world.

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