My friends, family, and co-workers know that I’m a pretty proud fur mom. We adopted Mischa in the fall of 2016. And she’s had me wrapped around her finger from almost the beginning.
Mischa and her siblings were living with a local Save-A-Stray volunteer. The animal shelter had another puppy with parvo, a deadly puppy illness, and so they had to go somewhere else. When we arrived at the volunteer’s home, there were seven puppies acting much like toddlers as they waddled around the backyard wrecking havoc.
I picked Mischa up and she tried to eat my hair. So we naturally figured she was the one. (I should’ve known…)
I know there’s still a stigma around adopting dogs. There’s unknowns, especially with mixed-breed puppies. And older dogs might have a rough past. But I’ve almost never regretted adopting Mischa.
I’d still love to have a pure-bred Golden Retriever one day. But I’m also a big fan of adopting. And here’s how Mischa convinced me.
1. Mischa is incredibly resilient. And she helps me be the same.
Mischa grew up as a farm dog. Not many neighbors. Never needing a leash. Long walks on the farm roads. It was all hers.
But then we moved to a subdivision. I wasn’t even sure moving her here was going to work. She now has a fenced-in yard. Lots of neighbors. A leashed walk around the neighborhood. In other words, we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
And yet she’s thrived. It turns out she loves people. She loves our four-legged neighbors. She feels safe in the fence. And walking is her favorite part of the day.
Mischa adapted so well to life in our subdivision. And she faces any new condition like a champ. She gives me confidence too. Big changes can be scary. But if she can handle it, so can I.
2. Mischa is a hoot.
Mischa is the goofiest dog ever. At 6-months old she was sitting in front of the sliding-glass door marveling at a lightening show. She thinks she needs to challenge the vacuum cleaner whenever it’s running. And she can’t understand where the snow balls go once I throw them.
I swear she spends more time with her legs in the air than she does right-side up. And birds are her sworn enemy. Also the bathtub.
Seriously, even when she’s being naughty it’s usually funny (even if only in hindsight). She managed to find and open her wrapped presents under the Christmas tree. She jumped in our window well to play with the frogs and toads trapped inside. And she’s so pathetic when her tie-out gets wrapped around the bushes out front and she has to bark for me to come save her.
3. Mischa keeps me active.
My new job is sometimes exhausting, though in a good way. I’m being challenged. I’m always learning. And I’m constantly busy. When I come home in the evening, I ready to check out for a nap.
But Mischa doesn’t let that happen. She keeps me moving. We have to take a walk. We have to chase the ball around. We have to be active. She gets me off the couch and away from the computer. So we’re always moving.
I mean, it’s exhausting. But I know it’s good for me. And there’s nothing better than coming home to her wagging tail and frenzied kisses.
4. Mischa is always super sweet.
Despite all the naughty, energy, and goofiness, Mischa is also really a sweetheart. She usually wants to cuddle every evening. She knows when I’m upset or down. And she’s affectionate.
So when she’s in my arms, being cradled like a (rather big) baby, it makes all the other stuff worth it.
My family stocked and ran a farm stand for 26 years. So I appreciate all the hard work and dedication that goes into making this type of operation work. And I also try to patronize local farm stands. They sell food that is in season, in peak freshness, and supports our local community.
This is how I want the conversation about agriculture to start. Agriculture isn’t a “problem” that we need to “fix.” We grow more food with fewer resources than ever before. It isn’t perfect, but we’re a leader in sustainability, not a failure.
The Environmental Protection Agency released a strong statement today reaffirming there’s no link between glyphosate and cancer.
“EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” saidEPAAdministrator Andrew Wheeler.
The statement stands in stark contrast to the multi-million-dollar jury verdicts from California. In those cases, juries found in favor of plaintiffs’ claiming the active ingredient in Round-Up caused their cancer. So EPA’s statement tends to support my earlier comments about those jury verdicts: courtrooms don’t decide science.
The EPA is currently reviewing its preliminary assessment on glyphosate from 2017. The federal agency recieved lots and lots of comments from people concerned about glyphosate and a possible cancer link. And people were also concerned about Round-Up’s potential effects on Monarch butterflies and pollinator health. So the EPA is reviewing these issues. (Side note: these are both false claims trumped up by the activist-environmental organizations.)
What about pollinator health and Monarch butterflies? EPA acknowledges that there might be some impact. But any impact is limited to the point of application. And that “the benefits that glyphosate confers to growers outweigh the geographically limited risks to non-target organisms.”
So common sense prevails….again.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also applauded EPA’s conclusion. “If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate,” Perdue said. “USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”
Honestly, I’m a little frustrated that we’ve spent so much time, money, and resources reaffirming what we’ve known the whole time. And it annoys me that some ridiculous organization can make a false claim, spread it around the internet, and cause this constant reassessment.
But I’m also happy that EPA released the statement and made such a bold and clear conclusion. It won’t quiet all the grumbles, but it’s just another notch in the belt confirming what so many have been saying for so long.
Round-Up has taken quite a beating in the press lately. It’s an incredibly safe and effective herbicide. But its close association with genetically-modified crops (not to mention Monsanto) made it a target for activist groups and organizations. So while farmers find the herbicide an important and useful crop-protection tool, the general public hears a different story.
So it comes as no surprise that consumers worry about Round-Up. And we live in a time when companies are more than happy to capitalize on fear, anxiety, and concern.
Hello, The Detox Project! It’s now selling a glyphosate-free certification for interested companies! A company simply pays an annual fee, provides produce samples to a laboratory, and slaps the friendly label on its packaging. Happy customers, happy bottom line!
TDP entices companies to participate by referencing all the negative coverage about glyphosate. And it acknowledges consumer worries. TDP even suggests the glyphosate-free label will be more popular than The Non-GMO Project.
I find the comparison quite ironic. NGP label has been roundly criticized because it doesn’t necessarily mean a product is “gmo-free.” And shoppers will often see the label on products that don’t have genetically-modified counterparts, like strawberries or olives. Worse, companies pay NGP to put the label on items that don’t even contain DNA, like salt and kitty litter.
TDP’s glyphosate-free certifications is similarly dishonest.
Here’s why: eaters don’t need to worry about pesticide-residue, glyphosate or otherwise, on their produce. The USDA, EPA, and FDA heavily regulate pesticide use in the United States. So farmers are trained to apply these chemicals in a way that promotes food safety and environmental protection.
And the USDA annually tests produce to make sure consumers aren’t exposed to risks from pesticide residue. The results always show the same thing: the risk from pesticide residue is negligible. If you’re still worried, simply washing your produce for a few seconds with running water will eliminate any remote risks.
So that’s why I say a glyphosate-free label is an even bigger scam than the Non-GMO Project. Because all produce is essentially glyphosate-free. At the very least, there are genetically-modified crops. So NGP’s label is meaningful in a limited number of circumstances. Glyphosate-free is always meaningless.
The Detox Project’s glyphosate-free certification only has about 30 products currently. I hope it stays that way for the sake of truth and honesty.
The steady drumbeat from activists and anti-GMO forces has grown louder and louder over the years. Their target was always genetically-modified crops. But when they couldn’t get the anti-GMO narratives to stick, they decided to attack Round-Up. The benign herbicide is extremely effective and safe. But it’s so closely linked to the genetically-modified Round-Up Ready crops that it was an easier target.
So they started the claim that glyphosate causes cancer. It isn’t true. But falsified “studies” and bought-and-paid-for scientists were happy to say otherwise. And then came IARC. The international agency declared glyphosate, Round-Up’s active ingredient, as a probable carcinogen.
It didn’t take long after IARC’s flawed conclusion for lawsuits to fly. Over 5,000 plaintiffs sued Monsanto claiming Round-Up caused their cancer. The first ended with a plaintiff’s jury verdict in August of 2018 to the tune of millions of dollars. The second ended recently the same way: a plaintiff’s verdict in the millions. And now a French court ruled found Monsanto knowingly poisoned a farmer.
So what happens if Bayer, who purchased Monsanto, decides to stop making and distributing Round-Up?
The idea isn’t totally implausible. At some point Bayer could make the calculation that all the lawsuits are too expensive. And the best way to end it is to just stop producing Round-Up. Then all the activists can hoot and holler and revel in victory.
Well it would be an inconvenience, that’s for sure. Round-Up is safe, effective, and relatively affordable. We’ve found success growing crops bioengeenered to resist Round-Up. So we’ve increased our yields and decreased our carbon footprint. Losing this important crop-protection tool would be a blow.
But I think we’d be just fine. Other crops are bioengineered with herbicide-resistance, which could easily replace Round-Up Ready varieties. In fact, this season we’ll be planting corn and soybeans that are resistant to Round-Up and another herbicide. The seeds were more expensive, but our calculations justified it. (Note: We chose them with no regard to Bayer giving up on Round-Up.)
Also, Bayer/Monsanto is no longer the only company producing Round-Up. Round-Up is off patent. So other companies are free to produce and sell it. And, perhaps, without the stain of Monsanto, the risks of Round-Up litigation would be much lower. These other companies might not have the same problems as Bayer.
And even if somehow all bioengineered crops were banned, we would use other herbicides like we did before. We would go back to culivating. Our yields would suffer. We would produce more greenhouse gases. And it would cost more. But we would have to do it. Not because we have some joy in using chemicals. Rather, we have to protect our crops and care for them.
So, in conclusion, if Bayer made the calculation that it must stop producing Round-Up, it would be a short-lived victory for those activists. It would be quite meaningless, honestly. It would hurt farmers, the environment, and consumers. But we would adapt and move forward.
And the only thing they would’ve accomplished is limiting production of a safe, effective, and relatively affordable herbicide. Go ahead and party, friends.
Fundamentally, this is why EWG’s Dirty Dozen list upsets me so much. Because it’s an absolute lie. EWG tells people which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residue. And it suggests that people choose organic produce for the “dirtiest” food. It makes it seem like the information is helping people.
In reality, it does no such thing. Because the risk associated with pesticide residue on conventionally-grown produce is so minute, to the extent there even is a risk. Swapping out “dirty” produce for (usually more expensive) organic produce doesn’t actually achieve anything. Other than making EWG look like the good guys while promoting its agenda, of course.
So here’s the truth: you don’t need to worry about pesticide residue on produce. It isn’t a risk. Stop worrying about the label. The much more important thing for your health and well-being is focusing on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.