Being a gardener, I have followed with interest the debate about pesticides, herbicides and fungicides for many years. Although all these chemicals are now lumped together under the heading of pesticides, to me they are still all very different substances used for different purposes.
It seems most people have strong feelings one way or another about these medicines for plants and that is what they are in many ways. Like antibiotics and human potions, there is no doubt in my mind that many have been way overused in a domestic setting for far too long and that we have no full understanding of the effects of long-term use. I personally choose to avoid their use because I simply do not trust that they are completely safe. I expect a doctor to prescribe serious medications. I would prefer to have any serious pesticides only prescribed by someone who is equally qualified. The fact that our life-sustaining bee populations are in trouble is proof enough for me that pesticides should not be used to the extent they are. The depletion of our bee populations is very disturbing and is very noticeable to any gardener. Although the cause for the die-out is still under investigation, there are many linkages to the overuse of pesticides.
The agricultural practise of monoculture has unfortunately enabled many pests and weeds to proliferate, leading to the mass use of these chemicals in an agricultural setting. Our gardens however are not monocultures (a mass of the same plants) and by their very nature, contain many natural controls and balances. The use of strong chemicals on a few greenfly serves only to upset the balance by destroying the good with the bad.
Surely, in our own back yards we can learn to love a few dandelions, tolerate a few unsightly pests and educate ourselves about more natural and less toxic ways of doing things.
from the Tyee:
Legislative committee's language treats science-based critics like children.
I'm 66 years old. I've been a family physician, working in hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms and offices for 36 years. I've headed and actually founded health and environmental organizations. I've presided over the medical staff at my hospital, and in clinical work, I've guided my actions with hard, unemotional data.
It's not often that I get treated like an argumentative, hyperanxious, irrational adolescent, so when I do, it certainly gets my attention.
And that's exactly what's happened to me -- and to most British Columbians -- at the hands of Bill Bennett and his Liberal Party colleagues on the Special Committee on Pesticides.............
And whose "scientific evidence" did Bill Bennett rely on?
Here's the government's advisory group: "the Committee heard another perspective on the environmental impacts of pesticides. Submissions from pesticide manufacturers and industrial users stressed the important environmental benefits that result from maintaining healthy lawns and gardens." And the same group reassured them on the safety side too.
Yes folks, when it comes to science, the corporations that make billions from selling pesticides, and the companies that apply them, have it in the bag. Ordinary mortals, like biologists, ecologists, nurses, doctors, environmental lawyers, and citizens who all have absolutely no personal vested interest in pesticide production and sales -- we don't know nothin'. We're all heat, and no light.