Monday, February 11, 2008

Advancing the Second Decade of Biotechnology Discussion

Biotechnology has become an emotional topic. Rarely can you have a discussion without being accused of supporting one extreme or the other. If you voice concerns regarding environmental impact of biotechnology you are labeled as being against biotechnology, while at the same time, if you acknowledge anything positive to come from biotechnology you are aligned with industry. I think biotechnology is more complex than either extreme; therefore how can we create a forum where we can discuss the gray area? Has the topic gotten so emotional that we can’t have a scientific discussion? How do you propose we move forward with the biotechnology debate so individuals can discuss their views openly without getting placed on a “side”?

-Science Policy Intern

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Please Help Support Senate Resolution 440

Recognizing soil as an essential natural resource and soils professionals as playing a critical role managing our nation’s soil resources.

Whereas soil, plant, animal, and human health are intricately linked and the sustainable use of soil affects climate, water and air quality, human health, biodiversity, food safety, and agricultural production;

Whereas soil is a dynamic system which performs many functions and services vital to human activities and ecosystems;

Whereas, despite soil’s importance to human health, the environment, nutrition, and food, feed, fiber and fuel production, there is little public awareness of the importance of soil protection;

Whereas the degradation of soil can be rapid, while the formation and regeneration processes can be very slow;

Whereas protection of United States soil based on the principles of preservation and enhancement of soil functions, prevention of soil degradation, mitigation of detrimental use, and restoration of degraded soils is essential to the long-term prosperity of the United States;

Whereas United States legislation in the areas of organic, industrial, chemical, biological, and medical waste pollution prevention and control should consider soil protection provisions;

Whereas United States legislation on climate change, water quality, agriculture, and rural development should offer a coherent and effective legislative framework for common principles and objectives that are aimed at protection and sustainable use of soils in the United States;

Whereas soil contamination coupled with poor or inappropriate soil management practices continues to leave contaminated sites in the United States;

Whereas soil can be managed in a sustainable manner, which preserves its capacity to deliver ecological, economic, and social benefits, while maintaining its value for future generations: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) recognizes it as necessary to improve knowledge, exchange information, and develop and implement best practices for soil management, soil restoration, carbon sequestration, and long-term use of the nation’s soil resources;

(2) recognizes the important role of soil scientists and soils professionals, who are well-equipped with the information and experience needed to address the issues of today and those of tomorrow in managing the nation’s soil resources;

(3) commends soil scientists and professionals for their efforts to promote education, outreach, and awareness necessary for generating more public interest in and appreciation for soils;

(4) acknowledges the promise of soil scientists and professionals to continue to enrich the lives of all Americans by improving stewardship of the soil, combating soil degradation and ensuring the future protection and sustainable use of our air, soil, and water resources.