Some may be familiar with the Green-Blue alliances that are popping up all over the country to fight for real solutions to climate change while also providing good union jobs. These are coalitions of environmental organizations and labor unions, two groups that have been historically pitted against each other in the past. You can check out the national Green-Blue alliance here that is doing lots of great work throughout the country: http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/
However, we’re also seeing a different style of Blue-Green alliances emerging where the common ground isn’t renewable energy – but rather pesticides in the agricultural fields of the United States. Farmworkers and environmentalists are teaming up to get rid of pesticides that harm both consumers and farmworkers. Reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s battle against DDT this fight is happening all over the country where more and more toxic chemicals are being used to produce our food and it’s harming all of us.
Jerry Brown – the supposedly environmentally and labor friendly governor-to-be of California is being pressured by many to “cancel the imminent approval of a controversial agricultural pesticide after he takes office, citing evidence that it is linked to cancer.” This article in the LA times outlines many aspects of the campaign to not allow methyl iodide to be used in the fields of California.
Strawberries – known for both their ability to retain the majority of chemicals they are sprayed with and also their difficulty to harvest – are what the pesticide is used on. Through just this one fruit, this campaign shows the importance of environmentalists and farmworker organizations working in partnership around shared concerns that stem from the big-ag labor system that have become standard in the United States.