Posts Tagged ‘sierra club’

No Child Left Inside Act

This week, I was shocked to learn that Congress did something worthy of approval. Both Democrats and Republicans came together to write and introduce the No Child Left Inside Act of 2013. Headed by Congressmen John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), the bill is intended to acquaint students in grades K-12 with nature.

Of course, as a formal environmental educator and current nouveau hippie, I am all for getting kids up off the couch and out exploring the landscape. Making sure that children get their daily dose of green not only helps to cultivate an understand of the world around them, but also improves test scores, alleviates stress and anxiety, and reduces symptoms of ADHD. Studies have shown that even a couple days of outdoor learning can improve science test scores by 27 percent. The hope for this legislation is to spur the next generation of scientists and conservationists as well as equip the youth with some pretty enormous environmental challenges that they will undoubtedly face in the future.

At the moment, schools across the country are pressed for resources, but at least the NCLI Act will begin to motivate educators to bring Mother Nature into the curriculum. There are some nationwide organizations available to help, including the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, and the No Child Left Inside Coalition. For those living in San Luis Obispo and neighboring counties, the California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) is an excellent place to find out what schools, camps, and preserves are in the area.

Fingers crossed for the passage of some enlightened legislation!

It is that time of year again.  The leaves are falling, the Halloween decorations are getting swapped out for hand-turkeys and cornucopias, and sample ballots are being mailed to homes across California.  This season, citizens of the Golden State have an opportunity to make history with Proposition 37, a measure that will require genetically modified food to be labeled for consumers.  As a business that supports transparency, responsibility, and the rights of customers to make the decisions based on accurate information, Bambu Batu would like to support passing Proposition 37.  Before voting, here are a couple of things to consider.

· Who is funding the proposition and who is against it?  Turns out the major force against Proposition 37 is Monsanto, donating over $7 to stop the law from being passed.  Other opponents include Pepsico, Syngenta, DOW, Nestle, ConAgra Foods, and Coca Cola, all massive corporations that either produce or use GMO’s.  Those in favor of the bill are a collection of health food brands, family farms, and organizations such as the Organic Consumers Fund, The Center for Food Safety, Amy’s Kitchen, Clif Bar and Company, UFW, California Nurses Association, and the Sierra Club.

· 61 other countries have labeling requirements for GMO’s.  Labeling would occur at no cost to consumers and create no new bureaucracy.

· The Union of Concerned Scientists give Monsanto an “F” grade in sustainable agriculture, citing their value of the bottom line and production of engineered seeds over conservation and long term viability.  Not only are they falling short on feeding the world, their products and practices foster chemical resistance, spread gene contamination, encourage dangerous monocultures, reject alternatives that are more expensive, suppresses research, and direct enormous amounts of time and money lobbying congress.  Not surprisingly, the gigantic company is the largest opponent to Prop 37.

· GM foods have caused a number of problems in the environment and for small farmers.  Those who do not wish to support the actions of agribusinesses should have the right to opt out of buying these goods.  For example, there have been peer reviewed studies that have shown GM plants have contributed to the rise of genetic resistance to certain pesticides, and to the decline of certain plants and animals.

· Some who disagree with Prop 37 believe that if consumers were aware of GMO’s in their foods, they would shy away from those brands because of a negative stigma.  If GMO’s are as safe as we are told, why should these businesses worry?  If we label trans fats and sodium, we should be able to let consumers know other ingredients are in their foods, where they come from, and how they are cultivated.  The foods are not banned, just labelled.