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Member since: 2002
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Why I’d Rather Be a Team Big Dissident, Than a Team Small Cheerleader (On making positive changes.)



Which goes to the discomfort I very quickly began to feel almost as soon as I started to identify myself with the Food Movement. I am greatly inspired by a lot of the animating spirit of the movement. I’m an environmentalist. I’m naturally inclined to root for the small guy. I’m critical of capitalism. I think the Standard American Diet is a national disgrace. All of that means that I want to see big improvements in our environmental impacts and big improvements in diet related health outcomes, especially for low income citizens. I don’t just want to read stories about cool projects that people are doing. I want to see significant improvements in CDC numbers on diabetes, heart disease and low income life expectancy.

As much as farmer’s markets, CSAs, and co-op stores appeal to me, they can’t achieve the scale of changes that I want to see. To me reforming our food system means improving industrial agriculture, not trying to replace it. I’m interested in what a left/progressive response to the major issues in industrial ag looks like. How are our labor laws failing farm workers? Which best practices need to be better integrated into current systems? How can we extend school lunch reform into every cafeteria? What are the proper regulatory responses to antibiotics in meat production, water pollution from agricultural sources, soil erosion, greenhouse gases? We live in an industrial society, with the population largely centered in cities. Just as we don’t expect our phones, or cars, or sneakers, or medicine to be locally made by small producers, we can’t expect our food to come from those kinds of producers in way that approaches the scale that we consume.

On issues like healthcare and energy, liberals and progressives quite clearly see reform as meaning setting standards for the industry as well as encouraging scalable new approaches that can have major impacts. No one is proposing replacing our healthcare system with a ragtag network of scrappy community clinics.
Healthcare reform means reforming the healthcare industry, not de-industrializing it. Why wouldn’t we approach the food system the same way? Where the Food Movement is pushing for evidence based regulatory reform, I’m there, all the way. Where they are pushing for improvements in school lunches at the local and federal level, I’m there. Where the Food Movement stands with farm workers and fast food workers for better pay and working conditions, I’m with them.

But, I also see a lot of projects and attention given to projects that can only amount to becoming rounding errors. In fact, it sometimes seems like antagonism towards scalablity is the price of admission. Farmer’s markets are great cultural assets for a community, the can be smart place making and economic development moves for local governments. But in a country of 314 million people, in a 15.6 trillion dollar economy, they will always be a rounding error in the food system. I’m more interested in seeing supermarket chains that serve the triple bottom line."

A great little piece in response to the content of a rather good book. This conversation point could be pushed into every area. It's an important conversation to have, IMO.

A report on the bad behavior of some of the March Against Monsanto "protesters."


A much better report on these "protests."


And one more piece on the topic:

Positive Agriculture Practices Get A Voice, If Even A Quiet One.

Science Drama at March Against Myths about Modification, and My Showdown with Zen Honeycutt

"Sometimes science can be boring, or at least seem less-than-riveting to the general public. There are a lot of dry methodologies, frequent snafus, those pesky problems of having to reproduce results, and don’t forget peer review and meta-analyses. Though scientific advances are certainly exciting to many who follow them closely, the process from bench to discovery can seem dry.

Science activism on the other hand is anything but boring. Indeed, this past weekend proved to be a veritable soap opera. Here’s my recap of the highlights from Saturday May 23rd, the day of the third annual worldwide March Against Monsanto (MAM), and the first annual counter-protest against the anti-biotech group’s misinformation mongering. We at March Against Myths about Modification (MAMyths) were buzzing with excitement leading up to our first worldwide event, and were thrilled that it made far more of an impact than we anticipated. Bill Nye even showed up and took a picture with our MAMyths member Chauncey in NYC! MAMyths events happened in 13 locations around the world. My co-founders and I took to the street in Chicago, in the name of science and biotechnology. We were happy to give media interviews, and there was at least one documentary film crew we spoke with.


The overarching theme that emerged across the country and the world was that MAM protesters were unreasonable, angry, rude, and irrational, while MAMyths members were approachable, civil, and rational. We held signs like “Facts, not fear!” and “GMOs saved the Hawaiian Papaya,” and “Farmers never sued for cross-pollination.” In contrast, their signs were full of expletives and deluded messaging like, “Fuck Monsanto,” “OMG, GMO, WTF,” and even anti-vax signs, middle finger images, and chemtrail conspiracies.

Skepchick friend Kevin Folta wrote in his blog, “The pictures from the scenes across the nation showed small clusters of MAMyths supporters out with signs, standing up for science. The best part was their apparent softness, the repeated theme, “Ask me about GMOs.” These were scientists, and science fans, out sharing science, and there is some real magic in helping people understand facts instead of fear. It was outreach in action at ground zero of insanity, a potential to reach those that cannot be reached and hopefully influence the folks in the middle.”



Yes, this is a watershed moment for everyone who cares about using the scientific method to make the world a better place.


Thanks for posting this, Sid. Here are some updates.

A blog piece by one Portland MAMyths participant:

Outside looking in: March Against Monsanto

A rundown by one of the co-creators of MAMyths:

Science Drama at March Against Myths about Modification, and My Showdown with Zen Honeycutt

How to contact sponsors to tell them to stop supporting FIFA, Sepp Blatter, slavery and corruption .


"It’s time for action. Put your anger about Sepp Blatter being re-elected as FIFA President to good use by contacting the FIFA sponsors and demanding that they STOP:

(1) supporting FIFA President Sepp Blatter,
(2) supporting the use of slavery in Qatar to build for World Cup 2022, and
(3) allowing FIFA to continue with a lack of transparency and oversight that has led to alleged corruption.

Here’s a list of contact information for the sponsors, as well as links to petitions. The only way to make your voice heard is by hitting FIFA where it hurts – in the wallet. And to do that, we need to let the sponsors know that we want this to end.



You don't have to be a soccer fan to want things to change here. FIFA has negatively affected human rights over time.

Please use this to help. Thank you.

Ten Facebook Pages You Need to Stop Sharing From


"A friend of mine shared an eyebrow-raising article on Facebook. The linked story was along the lines of “private planes stolen by terrorists in the Middle East, and an attack is imminent”. The sensible people among his friends good-naturedly mocked him. They ribbed him about how ridiculous the prediction was. And all you had to do was consider the source.

My friend had shared the story from a notoriously crackpot Facebook page. The post lacked any merit, save a few tenuous and unrelated pieces of actual news. This behavior was typical of this particular page. Often, these types of pages hook you with a kernel of truth, and then wrap it in layers of idiocy.

When confronted, this friend said, “well, we’ll see who’s right in time.” The prediction by Natural News has failed to become reality almost a year later.

The Facebook fan pages below have a habit of spitting scientific inquiry and reason in the eye. They also have an unreasonably high number of fans who share their inanity. Shares from the following pages deserve a serious eye roll and shaking of one’s head.




Into the Depths of Anti-Science Hell


"I did something bold yesterday, I took a stand for logic and reason. It cost me dearly and I will gladly do it again.

For too long, the anti-science movement has used the myths and fearmongering lies about my people to spread their agenda. I have heard one two many times that I am part of an epidemic and 28 year old Autistic women like me do not exist. Ignorant people say the recent rise in autism diagnosis is not because of revised diagnostic criteria, or the result of people like me finally being included in our communities instead of locked up in mental institutions. They insist the neurology of Autistic children (Autistic adults don't exist) is the result of vaccines, GMOs and ambiguous "toxins".

Yesterday, I did something about it. I went to the March Against Myths About Modification counter-protest against the March Against Monsanto anti-GMO activists and took a stand for science and my Autistic neurotribe. I did so knowing that the shrill, screaming masses would be torture to my hypersensitive hearing and their anger would overload my extreme empathy. I knew it was likely that I would meltdown or shutdown, and could even be physically assaulted or targeted for stalking but I choose to go like a sacrificial lamb to slaughter.

I arrived in front of the Washington DC Monsanto headquarters early to find three parked cars topped with giant sculptures of vegetable-fish hybrids. They would have been delightfully cute if it weren't for the slogans promoting fear of perfectly safe agricultural technology plastered across the sides of the cars. Slowly, but surely more of us on the side of science arrived.There were a dozen in total and they were all delightfully intelligent allistic (non-autistic) people from various backgrounds. We formed instant bonds because of our common goal and I felt safe around them even though I was the only Autistic person in the group. We were there about an hour and I chatted with one very nice Monsanto employee. I really emphasized with him because I recently started a wonderful job with a different science-based industry that is deeply hated by ignorant extremists.


She goes on to describe some rather ugly incidents with the March Against Monsanto people, as well.

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