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How Mainstream Media Insults the Public’s Intelligence on Vaccines

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-04-25 18:15
Health IssuesMartha RosenbergOrganic Consumers AssociationApril 24, 2017 Kid Eyes 1000x523

There is a bitter war going on, and it’s not over Trumpcare or immigration: It is about vaccines.

Mainstream media and medical groups, typically funded or backed by Big Pharma, cast parents who are skeptical about vaccines as conspiracy theorists whose backward beliefs put the public at risk.

Vaccine skeptics cast vaccine promoters as paid shills, hired by Big Pharma to cover up documented vaccine-related injuries.

In mainstream and progressive media coverage (Mother Jones, Alternet, Huffington Post, Truthout, Progressive, The Nation) there is zero tolerance for critical debate about vaccine safety. Question why the hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given to babies at birth—for a disease mainly transmitted through sex and I.V. drug use—and you’re  labeled “anti-science.”

Suggest that some vaccines, including those such as the highly promoted HPV Gardasil and Cervarix (both of which have been linked to adverse reactions and death) are not exactly “life-saving,” and you might as well yell “bring back polio.”

The media routinely discredits parents of vaccine-injured children, accusing them of not knowing anything about medicine (except raising their own challenged child of course) and of "imagining" or even causing their child's deficits.

Progressive news sites that would never defend corporate media coverage of Monsanto or GMOs drink the vaccines-are-safe Kool-Aid. Last month, Jezebel ran this headline: "Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Call Vaccines Dangerous, Which They Are Not." In a 2015 article, the Atlantic sneered that "Vaccines Are Profitable, So What?" And the Daily Beast has gone so far as to praise Paul Offit, perhaps the nation’s most extreme vaccine promoter.

One wants to ask these progressive sites: Do you really think Pharma has never steered us wrong, just for the sake of profit? What about all the drugs that had to be pulled from the market, after Pharma insisted they were safe? Drugs like Vioxx, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Raxar, Redux, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Prexige, phenacetin, Oraflex, Omniflox, Posicor, Serzone and Duract?

The fact is vaccines are not all safe. That’s why the National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) program, established to provide monetary compensation to victims of vaccine injuries, exists. The VICP website states:

Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. In these instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.

Even the very pro-Pharma Forbes reports: "It's true that there have been 24,000 reports of adverse events with Gardasil" and "106 deaths." But the author of the Forbes article rationalizes: "There have also been 60,000 reports of adverse events with the mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine, and 26,000 following vaccination with . . . Prevnar, for pneumococcus bacteria."

We ask: Do two wrongs make a right, Forbes?

The CDC maintains a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) where people can see for themselves the adverse effects and deaths related to a particular vaccine. A search for people who have died from the measles vaccines MEA, MER, MM, MMR or MMRV revealed 416 deaths. Last summer, the mainstream science outlet

EurekaAlert submitted that reading VAERS info “may not build public trust or adherence.”

That is an understatement.

Profiteering and conflicts of interest not even hidden

There is no question vaccines are profitable. In some states, Blue Cross Blue Shield gives doctors bonuses for the vaccines they give patients. And an increasing number of drugstore chains now offer vaccines.

There are brazen and unhidden conflicts of interest between mainstream media and vaccine makers who influence reporting and discourage healthy debate about vaccine safety. Mike Papantonio, of the America’s Lawyer TV show, reports: 

According to a 2009 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, with the exception of CBS, every major media outlet in the United States shares at least one board member with at least one drug company. These board members wake up, they go to a meeting at Merck or Pfizer, and then they have their driver take them over to a meeting at a TV station.

The Gates Foundation is deeply entangled with vaccine makers, as are our own government agencies, including the CDC. It’s clearly a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation. The vaccine industry also “gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters,” reports CBS.

In 2013, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported that the seriousness with which academics portrayed the 2009-2010 swine flu outbreak was shaped proportionately by how much funding they had received from Pharma.

What does the science say?

When you read the scientific papers published about vaccine safety—and especially about links to childhood autism—it seems as if they are all written by four scientists who know each other and who work for Big Vac.  Despite overwhelming evidence that the mercury used in vaccines, thimerosal, is harmful to children and to pregnant women and the elderly, the official position of pro-vaccine scientists is “it was totally safe but we took it out anyway.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of The World Mercury Project, disagrees. Vaccines containing thimerosal are neither safe, nor is thimerosal gone from vaccines he claims. Kennedy offers $100,000 to anyone who can find a published study indexed in PubMed proving mercury levels in vaccines are harmless for infants and developing fetuses at the levels they are given.

Though they are scientists, pro-vaccine researchers use embarrassing non-logic in their vaccine defenses—they actually employ the "Raven Paradox" which many of us learned in Logic 101. It declares that “all ravens are black; that bird is black; it must be a raven.”  In other words, according to logic-challenged researchers: "Mercury is safe—and it doesn't cause autism—so all vaccines are safe.”

Meanwhile, the pro-vaccine scientists seldom, if ever, address the more complicated scientific questions surrounding vaccines—such as other metals used in them, like aluminum. Or whether the current series of multiple vaccines administered to children today could overwhelm their immune systems. Or whether live vaccines or disease antibodies could paradoxically cause the disease they’re intended to prevent.

According to published articles, it’s not just the thimerosal but metals in general, such as the currently used aluminum in vaccines, that are under suspicion. Such metals can cross the child’s blood brain barrier and set off increased oxidative stress which is linked to autism, say journal reports. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. Too many vaccines given too closely together to children that are too young also increases the stress, say those who question vaccines and vaccine schedules.

When a scientific paper appears to clearly show a link between childhood vaccines recommended in the U.S. and impaired neurodevelopment, pro-vaccine scientists savage it. A 2010 paper published in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering neuroscience, found that “rhesus macaque infants receiving the complete U.S. childhood vaccine schedule” did not “undergo the maturational changes over time in amygdala volume that was observed in unexposed animals.”

Why does the amygdala matter? The researchers wrote: “Neuropathological and neuroimaging studies of individuals with an ASD [autism spectrum disorder] . . . have provided growing evidence of a central role for the amygdala.” Specifically, it is enlarged in such children “compared with neurotypical controls.”

Pro-vaccine scientists pounced. Not enough monkeys were used to establish a scientific finding, said one scientist. Opposite findings about the amygdala have been reached,

which invalidate the study, said another scientist. One angry scientist was even willing to discredit the monkey study by claiming that monkeys are not a valid model for human disease—thus annulling millions of experiments including the ones on which human drugs are approved! Of course, many in the animal welfare community have questioned the validity of animal "models."

Insulting illogic

On behalf of Pharma, mainstream science and media set up a strawman called “vaccines cause autism.” Then they knocked it down and declared vaccines safe. It is an insult to the public’s intelligence, especially in light of clear injuries that exist, including those documented in the VAERS database—not to mention injured people, especially parents of injured children. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program alone has awarded $3.18 billion in 16,000 claims since 1988.

Do vaccine injury cases prove that vaccines are always unsafe and should always be avoided? Of course not. But those cases do prove that vaccines are not “completely safe” as the well-funded vaccine dogma continues to insultingly tell us.

Martha Rosenberg is a contributing writer for the Organic Consumers Association. 

International Monsanto Tribunal Calls for Human Rights Over Corporate Rights

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-04-20 14:51
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social Justice, OCA in the NewsKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationApril 18, 2017 Monsanto tribunal press conference 1000x523

Most opinion tribunals have had a considerable impact, and it is now accepted that they contribute to the progressive development of international law. – International Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion, The Hague, 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?

Citizens’ tribunals historically contribute to developing international law

The Monsanto Tribunal judges had barely finished delivering their opinions before Monsanto spit out the usual pablum, claiming to be committed to finding “real solutions” to the challenges of hunger, food security and the role of farmers to “nourish our growing world sustainably.”

In a statement issued by the biotech giant’s Global Human Rights Steering Committee (who knew?), Monsanto claimed the Tribunal was “staged by a select group of anti-agriculture technology and anti-Monsanto critics who played organizers, judge and jury.”

In fact, organizers of the Tribunal had no say in the judges’ final opinion. And the judges themselves are all independent, highly qualified lawyers and legal experts, recognized by the international legal community for their accomplishments and credentials.

In their Advisory Opinion, the judges didn’t directly address criticism of the Monsanto Tribunal specifically, nor did they address attempts to delegitimize citizens’ tribunals (which the judges referred to as “Opinion Tribunals”) in general. But the judges did outline what an Opinion Tribunal is—and is not—and why they are important:

Their objective is twofold: alerting public opinion, stakeholders and policy-makers to acts considered as unacceptable and unjustifiable under legal standards; contributing to the advancement of national and international law.

The work and conclusions of opinion tribunals are shared with all relevant actors and widely disseminated in the national and international community. Most opinion tribunals have had a considerable impact, and it is now accepted that they contribute to the progressive development of international law.

Judges: Monsanto violated basic human rights

As we wrote last year, the Monsanto Tribunal judges were asked to consider six questions, referred to as the “Terms of Reference.” During two days of testimony, the judges heard from 28 witnesses (representing about 15 countries) on matters relating to the six questions.

On four of those questions—whether or not Monsanto violated the right to a healthy environment, right to food, right to health, and right to freedom of expression and academic research—the judges concluded in all cases that yes, Monsanto’s activities have violated all of those rights. (Detailed answers to all questions are included in the Advisory Opinion).

On the question of war crimes, related to Monsanto supplying Agent Orange to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, the judges concluded:

Because of the current state of international law and the absence of specific evidence, the Tribunal cannot give any definitive answer to the question it was asked. Nevertheless, it seems that Monsanto knew how its products would be used and had information on the consequences for human health and the environment. The Tribunal is of the view that, would the crime of Ecocide be added in International law, the reported facts could fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

And that brings us to question six: Could the activities of Monsanto constitute a crime of ecocide, understood as causing serious damage or destroying the environment, so as to significantly and durably alter the global commons or ecosystem services upon which certain human groups rely?

Possibly—if ecocide were recognized as an international crime, under the Rome Statute. Because it isn’t, at least not yet, the judges could only add to existing calls for the International Law Commission to amend the Rome Statute to include ecocide on its list of international crimes.

On complicity in war crimes, the Tribunal judges wrote:

The Tribunal assesses that international law should now precisely and clearly assert the protection of the environment and the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if such a crime of ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide. Several of the company’s activities may fall within this infraction, such as the manufacture and supply of glyphosate-based herbicides to Colombia in the context of its plan for aerial application on coca crops, which negatively impacted the environment and the health of local populations; the large-scale use of dangerous agrochemicals in industrial agriculture; and the engineering, production, introduction and release of genetically engineered crops. Severe contamination of plant diversity, soils and waters would also fall within the qualification of ecocide. Finally, the introduction of persistent organic pollutants such as PCB into the environment causing widespread, long-lasting and severe environmental harm and affecting the right of the future generations could fall within the qualification of ecocide as well.

International law has ‘failed woefully’, but we have to hope

We can’t do justice here to the Tribunal judges’ 53-page Advisory Opinion. The Opinion, which include 120 citations, paints a detailed picture of how Monsanto violates human rights and ravages the environment, on a global scale. In their published Opinion, the judges call for changes in international law in order to give priority to human rights, over the rights of corporations, and to hold corporations accountable for violating human and environmental rights.

While according companies like Monsanto unprecedented rights and entitlements, international law has failed woefully to impose any corresponding obligation to protect human rights and the environment. However, it is beyond the scope of this advisory opinion to consider the breadth of reforms required to re-align the respective priorities of commercial and public interests that must be brought about under international law. Therefore, the Tribunal strongly encourages authoritative bodies to address the legal and practical limitations that currently confine the scope, content and ultimately the effectiveness of international human rights law.

As she wrapped up the April 18 press conference in The Hague, Tribunal Judge Françoise Tulkens said that while the judges’ work was done, the work of civil society has just begun.

“Now this Advisory Opinion is in your hands, it’s for you to use it. You, as in civil servants, as in lawyers and judges, if it’s possible . . .  maybe this Opinion will serve in the development of international law, and of course international law does develop under the impetus of civil society, so for that maybe we have to wait one year, two years, decades, maybe centuries, I don’t know, but we still have to hope that it’s possible.”

As we hope for international law to start holding corporations like Monsanto (or Bayer or Dow or Syngenta) accountable for the devastating consequences of their poisonous chemicals, we must also look for hopeful solutions for feeding the world’s growing population. Monsanto will have you believe that its failed GMO monoculture model provides those solutions—but increasingly, the world is wising up to that lie.

In “3 Big Myths about Modern Agriculture,” David R. Montgomery, professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, says that conventional farming practices that degrade soil health undermine humanity’s ability to continue feeding everyone over the long run. Montgomery writes:

I no longer see debates about the future of agriculture as simply conventional versus organic. In my view, we’ve oversimplified the complexity of the land and underutilized the ingenuity of farmers. I now see adopting farming practices that build soil health as the key to a stable and resilient agriculture.

Do we have decades or centuries, as Tulkens suggests, for international law to crack down on Monsanto? Probably not, if climate scientists’ predictions are correct. But as humans with rights, and consumers with responsibility for our purchasing decisions, we can help fuel a Regeneration Revolution that can both cool the planet and feed the world—without poison.

Watch the Monsanto Tribunal April 18 press conference

Summary of the Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion

Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion—full document

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.


Velorutionary - Veronica Bailey

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 13:27

What do you do for a living?

I'm a photographic fine artist , specialising in still life. My work has shown worldwide, with limited edition prints available through my studio, galleries, and art fairs like Photo London and Paris Photo.

What are you passionate about?

Primarily art, architecture and sculpture. Old cameras fascinate me. I bought a vintage Mamiya from Sendean Cameras on St Cross Street, Hatton Garden. I like it's honest mechanics. A bit like my bike - they can always be mended.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I actually bought my first serious bike from Velorution back in 2008. It was from Finland - a Jopo. Recently I couldn't resist a 1970's Raleigh Stowaway. I put a vintage french fisherman's creel basket on the front - for stashing my cameras.

What bike are you riding now?

It's a Moulton TSR. I think my love of architecture influenced this purchase. The frames's structure is so sculptural. And it has that in-built iconic status. A classic.

What appeals to you about cycling?

My eye is always finding interesting details - either architectural or natural. So the bike allows me to easily stop, take photos en route, and then continue on my journey. You go at your own pace. This opens my mind. London really is a great city to take-in by bike.

How often do you ride?

I visit my studio in Clerkenwell, London, most week days, i'm usually walking my two dogs - Marcel and Milli - in the morning. So the roads tend to be quieter when i later head in from north London. Weekends I go to Harringay Local Store.

What is your favourite route or destination?


Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Guy House

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 13:13

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Property Underwriter at Lloyd’s of London specialising in US markets.

What are you passionate about?

Food! I love it! Primarily eating. That pushed my enthusiasm to cook it properly, conjuring up meals for friends is always a joy. London has a multi- cultural outlook on food, whether it be fine dining, or the plethora of pop-up street chefs serving new creations. Thankfully regular cycling helps mitigate any side effects from overindulging.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I’ve been cycling for as long as I can remember, and can still picture my first Raleigh mountain bike. I took up cycling again to commute to work. I caught the bug quickly and now every summer I take part in a mountainous European tour with a group of hardy friends. Summer 2016 was in Vuelta, Northern Spain, which included Alto de L’Angliru.

What bike are you riding now?

This bike is “Shinie Tempah”. A silly consequence of giving my bikes rappers’ names. He is a Schindelhauer Siegfried Road, that has been beautifully modi ed by the team at Velorution. Brooks very kindly made a one-o saddle that matches the tan leather bar- tape and tyre trim, following a wonderful polishing job, it’s super shiny! I cannot speak highly enough about the belt drive experience.

What appeals to you about cycling?

I love the freedom. There’s so little stopping time and you can travel as far as you want. I see a lot of riders cycling with earphones listening to music, whilst I can understand the appeal, I also love the peacefulness of a bike ride.

How often do you ride?

Whatever the weather, I commute every day between the City and Battersea. I find it far more enjoyable than the packed Tube, it certainly wakes you up in the morning. I also try and do a fortnightly escapade to the Surrey Hills or around Richmond Park.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?

My journey home from work is one of the best city commutes in the world. Down the Embankment, past The Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, across Chelsea Bridge and through Battersea Park. There’s so much history along the river. Other than that, a trail through Washington Park, Portland, and touristing Copenhagen. The best individual ride I’ve ever done was a twilight descent from Col De La Croix de Fer to Le Bourg d’Oisans.

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Julian Vogel

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 13:10

What do you do for a living?

I’m co-owner of a fashion and beauty lifestyle brand communications consultancy ‘MODUS’ based in London. I work with British and international clients creating strategies to communicate their products and services. For me it’s about how we tell their story, through events like runway shows at Fashion Week, artist collaborations, photographic campaigns, seeing their clothes on musicians and actors, and creating content for their social media channels or websites.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about design; as trustee of the Design Museum I’m excited about the move to its new home in South Kensington in November. I’m also on the board of the Victoria & Albert Museum, one of my favourite places to get lost, I always try and walk a different route, never knowing what I might find. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of ceramics and have been using a studio space in Mornington Crescent.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I’ve been cycling since I was eight years old. My first bike was a Tomahawk, it was the little brother to the mighty Chopper. I’ve only recently started riding more frequently in the city. The ‘Boris Bikes’ got me riding to work. I was living near Hyde Park for a year and it was two miles to my office, mainly through the park. It’s such a great way to see the city.

What bike are you riding now?

I’m riding a Biomega NYC with a lightweight aluminium frame, Gates Carbon Drive with an automatic two speed system. For me, it’s the perfect bike for London.

What appeals to you about cycling?

I like the discovery. I always see things di erently when I’m cycling, each time
a di erent perspective of the city. I can just stop and jump o my bike and really look at things.

How often do you ride?

I live in Kings Cross, very close to my office. I only cycle to work in the summer. I cycle a lot at the weekends with my son.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?

We live by Regents Canal. The route through Camden Lock, by London Zoo, seeing the giraffes on our way through, out to the Paddington Basin passing Little Venice, or up by Kings Cross. The destination is usually food related. Melrose & Morgan is just off the towpath before Regents Park and a perfect place to stop.

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - David Kallo

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 13:02

What do you do for a living?

I’m a singer, dancer, actor, model and painter. Currently I’m working in front
of the camera with Warner Brothers, dancing amenco at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, modelling at the Royal Academy, and painting my own classic artwork for exhibitions. I o en sing classic jazz, with a long line of musicians in my family tree.

How long have you been a cyclist?

Throughout my teens I cycled to college and university. I returned to London
six years ago a er a longstanding performance in Europe, without much driving experience. I decided to travel across London on a bicycle, reminding me of all my past travels and adventures in my early years.

What bike are you riding now?

I ride my Brompton everywhere in London, it’s easy to fold the bike before entering shops, restaurants and my own working areas, its size and shape are the size of a suitcase when folded. When riding, the upright position on saddle reminds me of riding horses.

What appeals to you about cycling?

Through my international travels, I have seen the cycling life of grand cities like Bangkok, before becoming convinced that it’s the best way to keep your fitness and speed of travel on balance, without the barriers of traffic, cost of travel and an engine to look after. It was in London, at a red light, where a cyclist stopped next to me, looked down on his muscular legs and said, ‘These are my own powerful engines’.

What are your passionate about?

I have passions to perform on stage, my Spanish flamenco costume, stamping all the beats to Compás. I really enjoy cycling through London in my Old English suit. The waistcoat and jacket from Velorution’s No75 collection.

How often do you ride?

Every day across London, to work and back. Through Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Kings Cross and the West End. I also ride the silent path of the north canals and Kew Gardens at the weekend. I stop at cafés and restaurants wherever I go.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?

With my love for classic architecture, I enjoy riding through the colourful streets of Notting Hill, or the awakening workout when riding up to Harrow on the Hill on a sunny day.

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Marc Simon

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 12:42

What do you do for a living?

I run an independent dental surgery supply and maintenance company, and have done since 1988.

What are you passionate about?

My passions are often competing for maximum exposure. I am a very keen and pretty useful cook. I like to shop for good and, when possible, interesting and locally sourced ingredients from Farmers’ Markets then go cook up a storm. When

I refurbished my home I spent a decent amount of time designing the kitchen space, choosing the most suitable and practical appliances to give me longevity. My other passion is music – I can’t play a note, but I have a somewhat eclectic taste, I’ll go see a band, a gig or an orchestra as often as possible. Brighton is blessed with numerous venues and a very vibrant music scene.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I’ve been cycling recreationally for ages and completed a few duathlons and at least three London to Brighton rides in more recent years.

What bike are you riding now?

A Dutch masterpiece that rolls along by the name of Van Nicholas.

What appeals to you about cycling?

The low impact on my ageing body, while being able to keep up some level
of fitness. The chance to go and explore the countryside and spaces that I would never otherwise go to, and to connect with nature. To see and smell the seasons as you ride through the country lanes and take in the view – more readily available in the slow lane than from the driving seat of any vehicle. To ride with others (my girlfriend is a keen cyclist) and chat as we pedal is also such fun. We share moments, smells, scenery, and the occasional pub garden.

How often do you ride?

I try to get out every weekend to either the Preston Park velodrome (the oldest
in the country, I hear) with my local tri club, or for a good long ride on a Sunday, around forty miles.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?

The byways of East and West Sussex at the moment, but having not long returned from a cycling holiday on the island of Majorca, I must say, that’s really high up there, but not so readily accessible.

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Andrew Fortune

velorution - Thu, 2017-04-20 09:40

Andrew Fortune

What do you do for a living?

I am practising as an architect in London, designing homes for those who don't cycle!

How long have you been a cyclist?

I don't remember a time I didn't cycle, stabilisers are still a memory. Having experienced competitive cycling in bmx, road racing and mountain biking, there is nothing more rewarding than cycling at your own steam.

So what are you riding now?

A bespoke Schindelhauer which I have de-badged and slicked. Having tested the ingenious engineering of the bike, mulling it over and creating a spec that will put a smile on my face each time I see and cycle it. The bike has massive amounts of control and solid sense from the tires through the frame and in to the saddle and bars.

What appeals to you about cycling?

Knowing I will be there when I want to be there. Seeing more of the city with ease

How often do you ride?

Not as often as I'd like. With my new bike things will change.

What's your favourite route or destination?

The one with least cars unless I am in a 'courier' mood which Schindelhauer is well equipped for!

Categories: Liveable cities

4 Doable Ways to Get Closer & Boost Action

There’s a proven way for your organization to start and strengthen vital relationships with the people whose support, loyalty, and actions you want—donors, volunteers, and even staff (too often overlooked here).

This approach is easy to learn and execute. And it’s something you do on a personal level all the time: Getting to know and understand others with whom you want to build a friendship—learning what’s important to them and how their days go. These insights enable you to focus in on what’s important or interesting to both of you, and how best to keep in touch via a commonly-used channel (social, mobile, text, mail) at a receptive time.

Here are four proven methods of harvesting these priceless insights:

1) Launch a Marketing Advisory Group

Begin by identifying your target audiences and prioritize segments of each that share wants, needs and preferences. Then put together a marketing advisory group incorporating as many of these perspectives as possible—that way you’ll have the right person to turn to when you need her. In addition, this group will provide a solid diversity of opinion when you solicit input on a specific campaign or message.

Next, invite prospective team members to participate. If you don’t have people in mind that represent all the perspectives you need, ask program or other colleagues for recommendations.

Make sure to specify your expectations and to keep them modest. I recommend that you ask team members to help at most once or twice a month, asking for no more than 5 to 10 minutes of their time for each ask.

Put your marketing advisors to work in the way it’s most beneficial—that may vary depending on the task at hand. Ask a few of them for input on draft messages for the new advocacy campaign  and a few others for a critique of the draft mini-site for the campaign. Or ask all of them to complete a brief online survey to share their perception of the new program and the gap it will fill. Whatever your decision, make sure you ask with thought and don’t overburden your advisors. Most importantly, thank them frequently and often.

Try it for six months, refining the program over time to be of greatest value for you and least burden for your marketing advisory team. When you do, I promise you’ll know, and connect with, your audiences better than ever before.

2) Listen to Social Conversations

There’s so much being said online—about your organization, causes or issues, campaigns, and organizations you compete with for donations and attention—that you’ll learn a lot by just listening. By monitoring social channels for conversation on relevant topics, you’ll see what resonates and why, enabling you to better engage your people.

Keep in mind that with this kind of social listening, you won’t know who’s talking and how that person maps (if at all) to your targets. Nonetheless, if there’s a groundswell of conversation on a topic important to your organization, you want to hear it.

Social monitoring options range from free tools like Google Alerts to paid services such as Mention, and social listening services such as Attentive.ly which enable you to focus in and listen to your people (those in your donor management system, e-news subscribers, volunteers, and others).

Case Study: American Friends Service Committee Uses Attentive.ly to Connect
A few days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), noticed a significant shift in focus on social media to the hashtag #Ferguson. They could quickly see that terms such as “police” started trending, nationally and among supporters in AFSC’s database (CRM).

AFSC created a saved search to see exactly who in its CRM was talking about Ferguson on Facebook and Twitter. Next, they invited those supporters to a Google Hangout that resulted in record-high participation and 74 donations. That’s incredible targeting!

3) Ask & Listen in Your Social Communities

If your organization has an active community on Facebook, Twitter, or other interactive platforms, you have a focus group ready to roll. But before you just ask, and ask, and ask again, prioritize what you want to know. Also, decide how to filter and weigh what you hear since your social communities may not map exactly to your donors and prospects.

Facebook has a few advantages as an audience research tool:

  • Since you can easily run your organization’s donor or email list against Facebook subscribers who have liked your page, it’s easier to map responses to your prioritized audiences.
  • The new-ish Facebook Live Video tool is an excellent way to gather quick feedback on a draft logo, design, message, or email format (anything, in fact, easy to view via an online video) IF you have a huge and active following on Facebook.
  • Polling is super easy to set up and respond to.

4) Ask Folks as They’re Leaving a Program or Event

This technique is ages old but works well, as long as you ask just one or two quick questions. If your question is brief, ask verbally. If you want to gather names or have a couple of questions, then have pens and printed mini-surveys or tablets on hand for responses. If the event is online, pop up a quick survey before the finish.

BUT these insights boost actions ONLY when you…
Capture, Analyze, and Share What You Learn, then ACT on it

Keep in mind that what you learn about your audiences is valuable only when you log, share, and analyze it across your organization.

This process will position you to put your findings to work most effectively right now. Then go one step further to extend their value by adding these insights to supporter data. That’s your path to getting closer than ever with your people, and activating them to move your mission forward. Go to it, friends.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
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Categories: Non profits

Best Marketing Tips & Tricks (#17NTC)

Liz Polay-Wettengel is National Director of Marketing and Communications for InterfaithFamily, a Jewish non-profit based in Newton, MA.

For three years in a row, my colleagues from InterfaithFamily and I have participated in the annual Nonprofit Tech Conference (from NTEN). It is, by far, the conference that we learn the most from. Every year, we have come back with new ideas, fresh perspectives, and tools to do what we do better.

This year was no different. Held in Washington DC, the 3,000 attendees at the 2017 conference brainstormed on topics far beyond the “traditional” definition of technology—nonprofit marketing, development, leadership, and organizational infrastructure.

Key takeaways from my deep-dive into NTC learning include:

On communication and branding
• 53% of supporters leave because of lack of or poor communication
• What NPOs talk about isn’t what donors care about. Communication can fix this.
• Clarify positioning (head) and personality (heart) to get to brand strategy and use in communications
• Something I feel strongly about: develop strong (and emotion based) messaging tie it throughout your organization

On working together
• “I don’t see competition, I see collaboration” this is important not just for storytelling but for NPOs in general.
• “Rising tides lift all boats” in the workplace can be about giving others a say at the meeting/committee. Bring others up with you.
• “Partners make you stronger” I’ve been preaching this for a while! Work together. Collaboration, not competition.

On storytelling
• “Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”
• “To tell a story you have to be a good listener.” Listen to all the people around you from staff to volunteers to program participants.
• Stories must resonate. Must be seen, heard, shared, felt, remembered.
• SHOW without telling. Can you tell your story visually?

On digital content
• “What’s your goal? Who’s your audience?” Video isn’t always the answer. Think it through.
• Success is defined by YOUR goals, not just your social numbers
• It doesn’t have to be AMAZING! Just try stuff.
• For digital, sometimes it’s the quick not so slickly produced content that gets engagement
• Make videos not necessarily to inform and teach but to inspire (my favorite mantra of the conference)
• Awe, excitement, and humor in digital content inspire emotions that increase sharing

On planning
• Your plan is meaningless if you don’t know your audience
• “If you have ‘general public’ as your audience in your marketing plan, please go to the office on Monday and delete.”
• Planning is essential for communications especially when a crisis impacts your work. Allows for quick impactful pivoting
• Don’t let the “how” of measuring goals block you from setting them. Pinpoint what you’re trying to accomplish, and how to measure progress.

There is far more to NTC than the sessions I attended, as there is far more to the conference than the sessions. Connecting face-to-face with our fellow nonprofit warriors is as fulfilling and educational as learning from session speakers.

Some of my most meaningful conversations were at a lunch table, in hallways, and in the hotel bar. My thanks to those who led sessions this year, you always inspire me to be a better marketer. Finally, a huge thanks to Amy Sample Ward and the NTEN team who put on the conference of the year, every year. I will see you next year in New Orleans.

Capture more takeaways from NTC sessions via these collaborative notes for 2017 NTC sessions.

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Liz is a veteran marketing professional with extensive experience in traditional marketing and digital strategy with a strong background in social media. A storyteller at heart and a former music business professional, she has been an innovative thought leader in the non-profit space for over a decade.

Categories: Non profits

Velorutionary - Stephen Worell

velorution - Tue, 2017-04-11 11:52

Stephen Worrell

What do you do for a living?

I'm a whisky merchant at Cadenhead's Whisky Shop & Tasting Room in Marylebone, where we have several hundred single malts ranging from five to over 50 years old. We are just short of our 175th anniversary as an independent bottler, and 187 years as Scotland's oldest family owned and operated distillers. We run daily testing sessions and evening events to give our customers a comprehensive range of tastes and for people wanting to know more about one of the world's most iconic products.

How long have you been a cyclist?

I returned to cycling after my 50th birthday following a break of over 35 years. I opted for the Gocycle, mainly because of the need to feel safe as possible riding in London, but also because i loved the look of the bike and it's designed in Britain. When i had enough confidence and had studied the Highway Code, I also purchased a road bike. I use that a lot more during the summer months, mainly for the enjoyment of cycling and not to race others; when people think I am going faster than them, I wave them on, because for me cycling is enjoyable, not a competition. It's been three years since I started to ride again and not only do I feel a lot better, but I'm also a better pedestrian! The best thing about cycling is the freedom it gives me. My journey to and from work has been cut by over an hour each way, not to mention the saving on transport costs.

What's your favourite cycle route or destination?

My journey takes me through Hyde Park, which just happens to have my favourite stretch of road in the country: North Carriage Drive. On one side you can't mistake your in London; on the other side you see horses being trained and trees in the park, creating the perfect backdrop.


Categories: Liveable cities

Tell the USDA: Support Organic Farmers and Consumers Not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-04-06 19:56
Belong to campaign: Safeguard Organic StandardsCategory: All About OrganicsArea: USA

Advertisements with slogans like “Incredible Edible Egg,” “Pork: The Other White Meat,” “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” and “Got Milk?” promote industries (mostly Big Meat and Big Dairy), without ever mentioning a specific company or brand. Who pays for those ads?

The money comes from Research & Promotion (R&P) programs set up under the USDA, commonly referred to as checkoff programs. Now the USDA, with support from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), wants to establish a similar mandatory program specifically for organic producers.

Good idea? The Big Food corporations that are buying up organic brands (and calling a lot of the shots at OTA), say yes. But small organic producers and family farmers say that an organic checkoff program will be bad for them, and bad for consumers.

TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT APRIL 19: Tell the USDA: Support organic farmers and consumers not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program! Please sign our 'No Organic Checkoff' petition. Read more

Proactive Budgets Get the Marketing $ Need for Impact!

The hands-down, most hated and most frequently-avoided marketing task is budgeting. Believe me, I hear it constantly.

Now’s the time to get past this bias and digest the coming series on on budgeting how-tos. You’ll learn the value a budget brings to your work as it translates the actions outlined in your marketing plan into expense. You’ll discover is a completely different way of looking at your marketing work, that works as both a clear framework for your decision-making on wants vs. “nice-to-haves” and a powerful tool for getting the marketing dollars you need to meet agreed-upon goals.

Start building your budgeting skills and confidence right now:

Q: I have a to-do list a mile long. That’s my marketing plan and what I use to create my budget. Or do I need something else, too?

A: No, Virginia, that to-do list is not your marketing plan! It’s a marketing checklist that you hope will move your organization forward. I guarantee that even if you complete every single one of those tasks, you won’t be contributing as much as you could to meeting your org’s goals.

That’s because this kind of marketing is all action and no traction. You’re generating a stream of one-off marketing outputs that have little impact. In fact, these one-offs are likely to confuse and alienate the people you really need to motivate to give, volunteer, and register.

So scrap the laundry list and take a one-day marketing planning sabbatical (here’s a marketing plan template to work from). In just a single day, you’ll finish with a much clearer path in front of you to:

  • Direct and prioritize your focus, and ensure you make the most of your budget
  • Know what you are working towards and make the best decisions on how to get there (critical for leadership buy-in and ongoing support)
  • Craft an accurate, realistic budget built on logic and strategy, one that will greatly increase your success rate in getting the budget you need
  • Track progress (against concrete, measurable benchmarks)
  • Confidently draft a realistic daily work plan.

You’ll see clearly how much you have to spend to reach your goals and, via tracking results, will gain a sense of what strategies work best to achieve which goals. And when you’re making marketing decisions throughout the year, use the plan as your framework.

Your plan (can be a one-pager) will enable you to distinguish “needs” from “wants,” to craft a budget around what really matters—what’s going to drive your marketing impact–motivate your people to take the actions you need!  For example, based on your budget framework, you may decide to promote your advocacy campaigns via direct mail and email, social, text and paid advertising in order to match legislative time frames. At the same time, your budget might indicate that it makes sense to hold off on enhancing your already-strong membership program with the launch of a members-only community.

What’s keeping you from budgeting to fuel your marketing impact?  Please share your budgeting challenge (or success) here.  I’ll cover in a future blog post!

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
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Categories: Non profits

Tell Your Senators: Protect Consumers’ Right to Hold Corporations Accountable

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-04-05 19:09
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a suite of bills that would make it harder for ordinary people to take corporations like Monsanto to court—even if a company’s product is proven to cause serious injury or illness.

The bills—three of them—will soon head to the Senate.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720. Read more

Velorutionary - Joe Brown

velorution - Wed, 2017-04-05 17:46

What do you do for a living?
I’m a Sales Account Manager for Brompton Bicycle. I’m responsible for developing B2B relationships, coming up with sales strategies and training dealers. It’s an interesting role with a good balance of being in the office and out on the road.

What are you passionate about?
Of course, I love all things cycling. I have a passion for listening and making music. I’ve always had an eclectic taste from baroque to big band, delta blues to death metal and most things in between. At the moment I’m playing the harmonica, piano and guitar, but I also have some more niche items in my collection such as a bamboo saxophone, dobro and ocarina. Unfortunately I’m not allowed bagpipes.

How long have you been a cyclist?
From three years old, I’ve always had some form of wheels. My first ‘proper’ bike was a lovely green Raleigh with stabilisers. I started commuting eight miles a day to school from Stoke Newington to Islington with my Mum aged seven. I have fond memories of riding along the canal reciting my times tables. Weekends were spent cycling towards green spaces with my parents. By eleven I had already completed my first forty-mile charity ride, haven’t stopped riding since.

What bike are you riding now?
My Brompton! It’s probably the best purchase I’ve made. I have bikes for most disciplines, but the Brompton trumps them all. I’ve locked it up twice in five years. It’s always by my side or in the cloakroom, whether I’m out on the weekend, shopping or at a gig.

What appeals to you about cycling?
The freedom to explore, the sense of community, the satisfaction gained from reaching your destination through my own efforts. There are so many benefits to mention before even touching the health and environmental factors.

How often do you ride
I ride to work pretty much every day and try my best to get out on the weekends. A group from the Brompton factory ride the London to Brighton every year and the Surrey 100 on our Brompton’s. I also took part in The London Nocturne folding bike race around thames ark at the Brompton World Championships.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?
Probably the Ronde Van Vlaanderen route. It’s gruelling work and a real test for your equipment, fitness and mental fortitude, but it’s a ride steeped in cycling history – a true classic. For destination, it’s anywhere with good cakes.

See our range of Bromptons

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Geoff Smith

velorution - Wed, 2017-04-05 17:41

What do you do for a living?
I’m head of Digital for Universal Strategic Marketing International based in London working with some of the world’s greatest music artists and their catalogues. My role involves working with our many stakeholder teams across the globe in delivering new releases and content to our fans through a multitude of channels and digital initiatives. I’m also the project lead for udiscovermusic.com Universal Music’s new global music discovery and editorial platform.

What are you passionate about?
Music, film, scooting, cycling, travel and tech innovation.

How long have you been a cyclist?
All my life. I learned to cycle at a very young age and always loved it.

What bike are you riding?
I now ha e the new MK3 Swifty folding scooter that I use daily plus a Marin bike that I use for longer rides. I bought the Swifty folding scooter last year and it totally changed my daily commute.

What appeals to you about cycling and scooting?
I love scooting across London as it gives me time to think about the many creative aspects of my job. I find it relaxing and good to relieve stress at the end of each day. Scooting is a great way to escape the full train commute, as I can jump out at Clapham junction and scoot the last few miles home.

How often do you scoot?
Most weekdays unless the weather is really bad. Having the Swifty means I can fold it and take it on the tube, train or to my meetings in town – it’s light and super easy to fold, so for my needs it’s the ultimate urban form of non-motorised transport.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?
Weekdays are great as most of my journey is on road or cycle paths. At weekends during the summer I try to go for a longer rides to Richmond Park or along the Thames.

See our Swifty scooters

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorutionary - Keith Evans

velorution - Wed, 2017-04-05 16:42

What do you do for a living?
I’m Vice President of Hotel Acquisitions at Starwood Capital Group.

What are you passionate about?
My family and friends. I’m fortunate that I get to see places through my job and really enjoy world travel. I’m also really keen on outdoor sports. Food and wine are also one of my passions.

How long have you been a cyclist?
Since my childhood, I picked up mountain biking when living in Arizona during my University years and then later I enjoyed cruiser biking when I lived in California and Amsterdam.

What bike are you riding now?
I recently bought a handmade Retrovelo it’s the Rolls Royce of bikes, classic engineering, retro design and a modern drive, it’s like riding on air.

What appeals to you about cycling?
Relaxation when riding a bike outdoors, getting some exercise and chilling out. Cycling is a great way for me to take a break from the hectic and busy lifestyle in London.

How often do you ride
I try to cycle every weekend in the wonderful London parks and around town during the day. Sometimes in the summer evenings it’s fun to hop between pubs with friends.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?
Along the Thames river paths, out towards Richmond, still connected to the city but far enough away to find some space.

See our range of Retrovelo

Categories: Liveable cities

'so I'm biggering my company'

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-03-29 15:44
Environment & Climate, Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 29, 2017https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 2017 Spring $180k 1000x523

There's a principle in business, that everybody knows is sound,
It says the people with the money, make this ever-loving world go ‘round.
So I’m biggering my company, I’m biggering my factory,
I’m biggering my corporate sign.
Everybody out there can take care of yours,
And me? I’ll take care of mine mine mine mine mine. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Trump just unveiled his vision for America: Let corporations pollute at will.

Trump’s plan to gut EPA and USDA regulations follows a previously announced plan to cut funding for medical research.

One of his prime targets? The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the agency that two years ago classified Monsanto’s Roundup as a probable human carcinogen.

With only three days to go, we’re about $60,000 short of our quarterly fundraising goal. Fortunately, Mercola.com, our ally in the battle against Monsanto, has stepped up with a triple match offer. Please help us take advantage of this generous offer by making a donation today.

There's no end to the grim news coming from Washington D.C. these days.

Chemicals in your food and water? Don’t worry.

Global warming? It doesn’t exist.

You may think the situation is hopeless. But you have more power than you think.

Corporations will cheer Trump’s plan to trade short-term corporate profits for your health, and your children’s future.

None will cheer more loudly than Monsanto.

As you know, Monsanto is hoping to “bigger its company” by merging with another of the world’s worst chemicals companies, Bayer.

But Bayer may not be so keen to buy Monsanto, if the lawsuits against the maker of Roundup keep piling up, if the number of acres planted in GMO crops continues to decline, and if the EPA decides against reregistering glyphosate because the agency can no longer deny the allegations that some of its own officials colluded with Monsanto to bury evidence that glyphosate causes cancer.

In the coming weeks and months, with your help, we will push for a Congressional investigation into the possibility that Monsanto and the EPA hid the truth from you about the health risks of Roundup.

 We will call on you to visit your Congress members in their home offices, and demand to know the truth about what went on behind closed doors at the EPA.

You will help us bring victims of Roundup to Washington, where they will make the case that Monsanto knew about the link between Roundup and cancer. (More than 700 people have sued Monsanto because they, or a family member, developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup).

You’ve probably reduced your own exposure to Roundup by avoiding GMO foods.

But it would be nearly impossible to avoid glyphosate altogether. Why? Because only 20 percent of GMO crops go into food. Twice as much goes into animal feed for factory farms. Another 40 percent are used to make ethanol.

History will no doubt rank glyphosate as one of the worst scourges unleashed on the human race.

Your relentless pursuit of the truth, and concern for the future, are our best hope for ridding the world of Roundup.

We're down to the wire, and we're still about $60,000 short of our quarterly fundraising goal. Fortunately, Mercola.com, our ally in the battle against Monsanto, has stepped up with a triple match offer. Please help us take advantage of this generous offer by making a donation today.

In Gratitude and Hope,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

Congress Must Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA, Now

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-03-23 13:23
Environment & Climate, Health Issues, Politics & GlobalizationKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 23, 2017 handshake cartoon businessmen suits red cc 1000x523.png

“I have cancer, and I don’t want these serious issues in HED [EPA’s Health Effects Division] to go unaddressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.”

It’s been four years since Marion Copley, a 30-year EPA toxicologist, wrote those words to her then-colleague, Jess Rowland, accusing him of conniving with Monsanto to bury the agency’s own hard scientific evidence that it is “essentially certain” that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, causes cancer.

Copley has since died. But her letter suggesting that EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to hide the truth about Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller has been given new life.

Thanks to the persistence of hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging that they (or their deceased family members) were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup, newly discovered internal emails and other documents are being made public. And they paint an increasingly troubling and sinister picture of corruption.

The Organic Consumers Association is calling on Congress to immediately and fully investigate these and any other revelations that may come to light.

A long history of deceit

For decades, Monsanto has enjoyed a revolving-door relationship with government agencies like the EPA and USDA, giving the chemical company unprecedented power to influence and manipulate the regulatory process.

Meanwhile, the biotech behemoth has attacked scientists’ claims that its flagship product, Roundup, causes harm to both humans and the environment, by discrediting scientists who raise concerns, coercing others into producing industry-friendly research, and manipulating corporate media into spinning a favorable narrative.

And while on the one hand clinging steadfastly to its claim that Roundup is “safe,” Monsanto strong-armed the junk food industry into joining forces against consumers who said fine, if your Roundup-sprayed GMO foods are safe, you should have no problem labeling them.

But just as the truth about DDT and Agent Orange came too late for many of its victims, so it appears to be the case for hundreds, or more likely tens of thousands of people—all over the world—who have been affected by Monsanto’s Roundup.

Here in the U.S., victims are fighting back through a wave of new lawsuits—more than 700, filed in St. Louis, Mo. (Monsanto headquarters) and Alameda, Calif.

As reported in EcoWatch, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., co-counsel in some of the lawsuits, told St. Louis Public Radio:

"We're bringing the lawsuit to address the injuries that have been caused by Roundup and glyphosate to mainly farmers and farm workers, but we think that consumers and home gardeners have also been affected." 

Monsanto is sticking to its story, that “when used according to directions,” Roundup is safe. Farmers who spray it, consumers who use it in their yards needn’t worry, the Biotech Giant says. But as lawyers and reporters sift through and pore over thousands of pages of court documents, Monsanto’s claims of safety ring more and more hollow.

As reported in Alternet:

One of the documents unsealed by Judge Vince Chhabria was an email written by William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, giving his colleagues the green light to ghostwrite glyphosate research and then hire academics to put their names on the papers. He even cited an instance where the company had used this method in the past. "We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak," wrote Heydens.

On March 21, officials at the New York Medical College (NYMC) in Valhalla, N.Y., told the American Association for the Advancement of Science they will investigate one of their faculty members, who according to the court documents, put his name on a paper partially ghostwritten by Monsanto employees.

Good to know that at least one institution is willing to uphold the integrity of science.

Tip of the sinking iceberg?

In the coming weeks and months, reporters and lawyers will continue to sift through and analyze the mountain of new documents that include emails between Monsanto and EPA officials.

What we’ve seen so far may be just the tip of the iceberg. But after all the evidence has been analyzed and exposed, will it be enough to bring down Monsanto?

Probably not—unless the public pushes back as never before. And unless Congress does its job.

Meanwhile, people like Yolanda Mendoza, who trusted Monsanto’s word that Roundup is safe, deal with the consequences of that trust. Mendoza, diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma, told a Houston, Texas-based TV station:

“I have nerve damage, I don't feel the tips of my fingers,” said Yolanda Mendoza. “My jaw, its still, I still can't feel it.”

In 2015, 17 scientists with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research (IARC) on Cancer unanimously concluded in 2015 (and since reaffirmed) that Roundup is a "probable carcinogen" to humans—and that people exposed to Roundup are most likely to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers.

Last month, A report by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council, stated unequivocally that the storyline perpetuated by companies like Monsanto—the one that says we need pesticides like Roundup to feed the world—is a myth. And a catastrophic one at that.

Since the EPA was established on December 2, 1970, to work for “a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people,” it has failed repeatedly to put public health above corporate profits, as documented in “Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA,” written by a 25-year veteran of the agency.

Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world. If anyone inside the EPA has colluded with Monsanto to bury evidence that this product—labeled “safe” and widely available today in stores like Home Depot, Walmart, TrueValue Hardware—causes cancer, Congress should investigate that collusion now.

Please ask your Congress members to investigate the truth about Monsanto and the EPA.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.


Inside Scoop: Powerful Testimonials from Your Peers

Guest blogger Karen Petersen is Director of Annual and Planned Giving at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala.

In my previous life, I was a TV reporter. My favorite part of the job was interviewing people and weaving their words together with mine to construct a compelling story. Little has changed since I changed careers.

In fundraising, we are all storytellers!

To tell the best stories, we need to find convincing characters who can provide passionate and powerful quotes. As Nancy has said in previous posts, “testimonials provide credibility.

You may automatically reach out to external donors for your organization’s testimonials. However, you may be surprised by the storytellers you can find in the cube, office or even lab next door.

I work for a nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving human health and quality of life through genomic research, educational outreach and genomic medicine. The majority of my colleagues are self-professed nerds—brilliant introverts who believe less is more when it comes to all forms of communication.

Take Dan Dorset, for instance. He’s a computational biologist who spends hours at his computer, writing custom software and analyzing petabytes of genomic data. Dorset searches for genomic markers which can lead to urgently-needed diagnoses in clinical cases or groundbreaking discoveries in research.

Dan is also a dedicated donor, among the Institute’s 75 percent of employees who donate to the Institute through our annual Employee Giving Program. This year, I asked him to provide a testimonial for our campaign.

This was Dan’s first go: “I only donate to organizations that demonstrate competence in efficiently and effectively pursuing their stated objectives. As an employee of HudsonAlpha, I have no doubt that my donation is being put to good use for the advancement of beneficial scientific and medical knowledge.”

Sure, that would work for analytical folks, but we needed something to tug at heartstrings. I asked him to channel his inner “blue,” the emotionally-motivated shade of the True Colors personality assessment. He responded with this testimonial homerun:

“I’m lucky enough to work in the revolutionary field of genomics. The scientific advances have begun to reveal real medical solutions, and situations that were hopeless or sad now have answers. I’ve witnessed our team using genomics to save the life of a newborn. There is tremendous promise in this field, and the talent and structure at HudsonAlpha makes it the best in the world in terms of impact and innovation.”

Wow. It’s so easy for us to typecast people into their primary personalities, but we don’t fit into boxes and our testimonials shouldn’t, either. When considering his philanthropic options, Dan looks at the bottom line: numbers and fiscal responsibility. But he can also deliver heartfelt diamonds when encouraged to dig deep.

Dan’s testimonial, along with several others, recently prompted one employee-donor to increase her pledge by 400 percent. Her reason: “My co-workers inspired me.

If you haven’t even asked your colleagues to give: What are you waiting for? Like Dan, they likely have generous support to give and, even more importantly, passionate, heartfelt stories to share.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
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Categories: Non profits