Reasons for hope.

Protecting bees from big business. Fighting glyphosate – the pesticide.

Such a hero in Mexico. Leydy Pech has received the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Leydy Pech, a Mayan beekeeper from the Mexican state of Campeche

Mayan beekeeper has fought Monsanto GMO plantings in Mexico and won.

Published: January 12, 2021

Issue: January/February

Category: GMO News

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

‘Leydy Pech, a Mayan beekeeper who led a coalition that stopped Monsanto from planting genetically modified crops in seven states in southern Mexico, was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Pech, a 55-year-old Indigenous woman from the state of Campeche in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, works with a rare, stingless, native bee species (Melipona beecheii) that has been cultivated by the Mayans since pre-Columbian times. Beekeeping is a key part of Mayan culture, and quite important economically. In Campeche, an estimated 25,000 families, many Indigenous, rely on the honey trade for their livelihoods, and Mexico is the sixth-largest producer of honey worldwide.

In 2012, after failing to consult with local and Indigenous communities, the Mexican government granted Monsanto permission to plant GMO Roundup Ready soybeans in seven Mexican states, including Campeche. Pech formed a coalition of NGOs, beekeepers and activists who filed a lawsuit against the Mexican government. Her coalition advocated for research into the effects of the GMO plots, resulting in evidence that GMO soy pollen was present in local honey, and that glyphosate, a chemical best known from the widely used pesticide Roundup, was found in the water supply and urine of people in Pech’s hometown of Hopelchén.

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled unanimously that Indigenous communities must be consulted before the planting of GM soy. Monsanto’s permits were cancelled in Campeche and Yucatán states. Further organizing by Pech led to Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoking Monsanto’s permits to grow GMO soy in seven states.

In a statement thanking the Goldman Environmental Foundation for the award, Pech said: “The award gives me the opportunity to tell the world that the territories of indigenous peoples are being dispossessed by extractive megaprojects, agro-industry, tourism, and others that strengthen a capitalist model that affects natural resources and our way of life.

“I call on all governments and world leaders to rethink more comprehensive development models that respect and recognize human rights, autonomy, self-determination of Indigenous peoples, and ancestral heritage.”

(Source: Goldman Environmental Foundation)

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, January/February 2021

But why are these pesticides still being allowed when our bees are key pollinators?

PAN International | Pesticides don’t respect national borders

What is PAN? Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 ..

Some good news in Australia

and in this – The Decade of the Oceans

On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National Science Show

we can listen to Martina Doblin. Despite still the absence of a national climate  change policy, our carers for the oceans, the marine life and us who depend on them are not deterred.

New director for Sydney Institute of Marine Science

Martina Doblin describes some of the research programs underway and plans for the future.

Then in the Australian Federation where so much relies on the decisions of the States and Territories, there is this good news from the Northern Territory government

‘The Northern Territory Government has just announced that seabed mining will be permanently banned in NT waters. Those NT waters are so close to West Papua, claimed by Indonesia, and the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. Not quite a Maritime Protected Area.

This is a huge win for Territory coasts and sends a strong signal nationally that seabed mining is too risky for our marine life and coastal communities!

‘The Top End has some of the last healthy tropical coasts in the world. Seabed mining is like bulldozing the seafloor. It would decimate our marine life, pollute our waters, threaten our fishing and destroy places of cultural significance. 

No sea-bed mining on North Territory coast of Australia.

‘The NT Government asked Territorians to have their say on whether or not seabed mining should be allowed. Territory locals, Traditional Owners, environment groups, commercial and recreational fishers, tourism operators and scientists sent a strong message calling for a permanent ban on this destructive industry. 

Huge congratulations to the Territory community and our friends at Keep Top End Coasts Healthyfor achieving this massive win for marine life, and to the NT Government for listening to the community and putting this ban in place.’ 

On the other hand, the Northern Territory government is permitting fracking near Booloola!

In the last blog ‘The Cry for Survival’ I included a warning from the Scientific American

Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to ‘Inactivism’

‘Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets, by Richard Schiffman on January 12, 2021’ Now I add reference to this book. Professor Mann was in Australia when the nation faced those terrifying bush fires that should have woken us up to global warming.

Here are excerpts from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Nick O’Malley, February 15th 2021, about his Michael Mann’s book, The New Climate war.

Michael Mann sees reasons for optimism!

‘Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, spoke at the climate change science panel held by the Sydney Environmental Institute last year. ‘Professor Mann asserts in The New Climate War that, with the impacts of climate change now obvious to those living through it, those fighting effective action are determined to deflect and delay rather than deny.’ ‘Proponents of deflection,’ he argues, ‘range from the fossil fuel industry and their allies in the media across the political spectrum to purveyors of what he calls “doom porn”, who, in defiance of good science, preach that a climate cataclysm is inevitable and imminent.’

Don’t they sound like members of the Australian Coalition government who wanted to exempt agriculture from efforts to reach zero emissions by 2050 when they heard the Prime Minister say zero emissions by 2050 was his ‘preferred option’? Didn’t one of them say he wouldn’t be here in 2050 anyway? Some need to be voted out at the next election.