My column Biotechnology in Action will go live soon. I’ll promote each article – on the first day of each calendar month, starting September 2015 – here on WordPress.
If you care about Britain’s food supply, please sign this and pass it on to everybody you know.
Hello after a year’s silence. I don’t expect to write Science on the Land for a while, perhaps nevcr, but soon I’ll be writing on Science 2.0. My new column there will be about applied biotech, working title Biotechnology in Action, under my real name Sam Mason.
If you’re still reading Science on the Land, thank you. Any messages you’ve sent to me here since mid-2014 will have gone to my old Hotmail address but I no longer use that and I’ve lost its password. Oops. Instead I now have another email address, where I’ll see any comment you make to Science on the Land from now on.
See you on Biotechnology in Action if that interests you.
Here in Europe, three insect-killing neonicotinoids are under a temporary ban. During the ban our UK Government is welcoming new research. It’s now become known that pesticide manufacturers might fund some of this research. Vested interests!
Last year my fellow blogger manuelinor at Ecology is Not a Dirty Word told us about scientists calling for the land to be rid of neonics. But soon after that science came out, our UK Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Owen Paterson, at that time) said there wasn’t enough evidence that neonics harm bees. So he assertively refused to vote for or against the ban. One of Mr Paterson’s senior staff, Minister of State David Heath, agreed. Neonics aren’t known to harm bees in the field, said Mr Heath.
I don’t know which of the chemical giants are now offering to pay for science about neonics in the field. But I’m guessing Syngenta and Bayer, who challenged the European ban. Syngenta requested an exemption for autumn-sown oilseed rape (Brassica napus) this year, but soon withdrew that request. Perhaps they think they’ll gain more by paying for evidence.
Perhaps I’m being unfair on Syngenta. They’re proud to support British farmers and they’re behind the international Operation Pollinator.
This is one of the first big issues for Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State who took over from Mr Paterson. Will she use her new power to act for transparent research about neonics?
Posted in agriculture, ecology, horticulture, knowledge transfer
Tagged arthropod, Bayer, brassica, bumblebee, Europe, finance, Heath_David, honeybee, hymenopteran, insect, insecticide, law, neonicotinoid, oilseed, Paterson_Owen, pesticide, plant_dicot, pollination, rapeseed, research, seed dressing, Syngenta, Truss_Elizabeth, wild bee, wild pollinator
Our new UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is Elizabeth Truss. Er… who? She’s been working for improvements to education, very important, yes, but I haven’t seen much to suggest that she knows anything about the land. Where will you lead us, Ms Truss? We’re watching you.
Here in Britain, our Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has been Owen Paterson. Not any more! Today, in a Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Paterson’s been sacked.
I wonder who’ll take his place. Whoever that person is, I hope they’ll bring wellies as Mr Paterson didn’t when he visited the flooded areas of Somerset.