The Pesticide Industry's Playbook for Poisoning the Earth - The InterceptSunday, January 26, 2020
The study produced results that echoed what the Americans had found.
Drifting clouds of neonicotinoid dust from planting operations caused a series of massive bee die-offs in northern Italy and the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. Studies have shown neonicotinoids impaired bees’ ability to navigate and forage for food, weakened bee colonies, and made them prone to infestation by parasitic mites.
In 2013, the European Union called for a temporary suspension of the most commonly used neonicotinoid-based products on flowering plants, citing the danger posed to bees — an effort that resulted in a permanent ban in 2018.
In the U.S., however, industry dug in, seeking not only to discredit the research but to cast pesticide companies as a solution to the problem. Lobbying documents and emails, many of which were obtained through open records requests, show a sophisticated effort over the last decade by the pesticide industry to obstruct any effort to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Bayer and Syngenta, the largest manufacturers of neonics, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of seeds pretreated with neonics, cultivated ties with prominent academics, including vanEngelsdorp, and other scientists who had once called for a greater focus on the threat posed by pesticides.
Syngenta AG’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, on Feb. 4, 2015.
Photo: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe companies also sought influence with beekeepers and regulators, and went to great lengths to shape public opinion. Pesticide firms launched new coalitions and seeded foundations with cash to focus on nonpesticide factors in pollinator decline.
“Position the industry as an active promoter of bee health, and advance best management practices which emphasize bee safety,” noted an internal planning memo from CropLife America, the lobby group for the largest pesticide companies in America, including Bayer and Syngenta. The ultimate goal of the bee health project, the document noted, was to ensure that member companies maintained market access for neonic products and other systemic pesticides.The planning memo, helmed in part by Syngenta regulatory official John Abbott, charts a variety of strategies for advancing the pesticide industry’s interests, such as, “Challenge EPA on the size and breadth of the pollinator testing program.” CropLife America officials were also tapped to “proactively shape the conversation in the new media realm with respect to pollinators” and “minimize negative association of crop protection products with effects on pollinators.” The document, dated June 2014, calls for “outreach to university researchers who could be independent validators.”
The pesticide companies have used a variety of strategies to shift the public discourse.
“America’s Heartland,” a PBS series shown on affiliates throughout the country and underwritten by CropLife America, portrayed the pollinator declines as a mystery. Onea href="https:/...https://theintercept.com/2020/01/18/bees-insecticides-pesticides-neonicotinoids-bayer-monsanto-syngenta/
Germany's second-highest traffic bridge opens - DW (English)Sunday, January 26, 2020
Mosel River in western Germany. Within Germany, the new bridge in the Rhineland-Palatinate is second only to the 185-meter-high Kochertal bridge in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Read more: World's longest pedestrian suspension bridge opens in Germany's Harz region Authorities expect about 25,000 vehicles a day to cross the bridge that now provides a direct link between the regions of Eifel and Hunsrück. Several hundred people gathered for the bridge's opening on Thursday. Over the weekend, thousands of pedestrians crossed the bridge by foot as part of the opening festivities. "Today is a good day for the Rhineland-Palatinate," said State Premier Malu Dreyer. She added that she was convinced "that the bridge will help advance our economically strong state even further and will strengthen ties between the people in Eifel and Hunsrück." Europe's largest construction project The controversial building project kicked off eight years ago. Some critics argued that the massive bridge would destroy the area's idyllic vineyard landscape, while environmentalists argued it would pollute the ground water. Others spoke out against the cost. The building of the bridge was part of a greater road project that included the construction of an additional 25 kilometers (16 miles) of federal highway. The total project is estimated to havecost €483 million ($535 million), with €175 million dedicated to the bridge alone. Read more: Everything you need to know about the German ...https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-second-highest-traffic-bridge-opens/a-51355455
The perfect destination foHere is why Germany is the perfect destination for your next holidayr your holiday! Discover nature in Germany - Emirates WomanSunday, January 26, 2020
Black Forest National Park, Baden-Württemberg, South GermanyPerfect for cleansing your lungs. The remarkable feature of this national park is that some areas have been able to develop for more than 100 years without human intervention. This means that all the animals and plants that are found here live in authentic, natural surroundings.You can use Deutsche Bahn trains all over Germany, where it uses 100% green energy. In addition, you can take the InterCity Express for a unique experience, as it is a high-speed train that connects all major cities in Germany with speeds of up to 300 km / hour, and this is one of the fastest ways to reach between Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne!Check out their Instagram: GermanyTourismAr, and Facebook: Germany Tourism Arabia– For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook Media: Supplied...https://emirateswoman.com/germany/
'Flower Power': Photovoltaic cells replicate rose petals: Scientists increase the efficiency of solar cells by replicating the structure of petals - Science DailyTuesday, August 20, 2019
Scientists at the KIT and the ZSW (Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg) now suggest in their article published in the Advanced Optical Materials journal to replicate the outermost tissue of the petals of higher plants, the so-called epidermis, in a transparent layer and integrate that layer into the front of solar cells in order to increase their efficiency.
First, the researchers at the Light Technology Institute (LTI), the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT), the Institute of Applied Physics (APH), and the Zoological Institute (ZOO) of KIT as well as their colleagues from the ZSW investigated the optical properties, and above all, the antireflection effect of the epidermal cells of different plant species. These properties are particularly pronounced in rose petals where they provide stronger color contrasts and thus increase the chance of pollination. As the scientists found out under the electron microscope, the epidermis of rose petals consists of a disorganized arrangement of densely packed microstructures, with additional ribs formed by randomly positioned nanostructures.
In order to exactly replicate the structure of these epidermal cells over a larger area, the scientists transferred it to a mold made of polydimethylsiloxane, a silicon-based polymer, pressed the resulting negative structure into optical glue which was finally left to cure under UV light. "This easy and cost-effective method creates microstructures of a depth and density that are hardly achievable with artificial techniques," says Dr. Guillaume Gomard, Group Leader "Nanopothonics" at KIT's LTI.
The scientists then integrated the transparent replica of the rose petal epidermis into an organic solar cell. This resulted in power conversion efficiency gains of twelve percent for vertically incident light. At very shallow incidence angles, the efficiency gain was even higher. The scientists attribute this gain primarily to the excellent omnidirectional antireflection properties of the re...https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160624110028.htm