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Pesticides Lobby Throwing Money At Civil Society To Dodge Criticism

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Monsanto's Lobbying Practices Scrutinised In New Report

After winning the Democracy for Sale Award as the worst corporate lobby actor on TTIP, the pesticide industry’s EU lobby group European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) announced they would transfer money to co-organiser Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

CEO has so far not been able to register this transaction, but will of course return the money to ECPA if it ever arrives, as we never accept corporate funding.

Together with Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and WeMove.eu, Corporate Europe Observatory organised this year’s Democracy for Sales Award, an initiative which saw 44,381 citizens from across Europe cast their vote for the lobby association which most successfully captured the EU’s position for the TTIP negotiations. The objectives of the nominated lobbies stand in stark contrast to public interest legislation, making their lobbying on TTIP yet another way in which they erode the democratic process for corporate gains.

With 15027 votes, the pesticides lobby – namely the European Crop Protection Association and CropLife Europe – came in first place, due to the highly privileged access to EU decision-makers and TTIP negotiators they have enjoyed. Tuesday, 1 November, one of our co-organisers on behalf of all organisations notified ECPA of its win, after they had previously been made aware of their nomination on 1 September.

Late Wednesday afternoon, 2 November, we received an email from ECPA that was also published on their website, stating that they would “deline [sic] to accept the award”. Failing to realise that the awards scheme was a collaboration between four different organisations that only counted individual citizens’ votes to determine a winner, ECPA mistakenly singled out CEO as the lone organiser and claimed we had “selected” them as laureates.

ECPA went on to argue they could not accept the Democracy for Sale Award, as any corporate lobby group would merit the same access to decision-makers as any other interest group. This is particularly rich coming from a lobby association that had early, highly privileged access to EU decision-makers on the EU TTIP position and which pushed its agenda on them behind closed European Commission doors. The democratic decision-making process should indeed be transparent and participatory, neither of which was the case in the context of TTIP, as the European Commission worked hand in hand with lobbies such as ECPA, while civil society and citizens were blanked.

In a sorry attempt to discredit our work in particular and the Democracy for Sale Awards scheme in general, ECPA then highlighted a financial transfer they claimed to have made to CEO’s bank accounts. We have so far not been able to register this transaction, but will immediately return the money to ECPA once it comes through. Had they ever engaged with CEO’s mission and values, they would have known that we never accept corporate funding in order to maintain our independence and integrity.

ECPA’s move to send money to an organisation they perceive as an opponent illustrates very well their corrupt philosophy and the bizarre approach to public debate.

Corporate Europe Observatory’s campaigner and researcher Lora Verheecke said:

“ECPA’s move to send money to an organisation they perceive as an opponent illustrates very well their corrupt philosophy and the bizarre approach to public debate.

“In the context of their winning the Democracy for Sale Award this is particularly ironic and reveals their justified fear of criticism founded on thorough, independent research”.

As for ECPA’s insistence that pesticides have unjustly gained a bad reputation and that the association represents a “fundamentally good” industry, a reference to their client Syngenta suing the EU for banning wildlife-devastating neonicotinoids should suffice to expose the misleading sham that is ECPA’s public relations strategy.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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