Guest Post by Sam = Organic Lesson
In the past decade, the plight of the honey bees has become a very important issue, and rightly so, as they play an essential part in the growth of crops and produce. Many do not realize that bees aren't just there to produce honey. They also play an important part in pollinating surrounding crops. One way in which we are detrimentally affecting the bee population is through the use of chemical pesticide. As tempting as it is to use such a method to eradicate pests in your backyard, it should be noted that not only is pesticide harmful to the bees, they are also harmful to you as well. If you are a gardener who wants to use a natural control method instead then consider the use of beneficial insects.
As the name implies, beneficial insects are bugs that can help eradicate common garden pests without doing any damage to your garden produce. Not all insects are bad. There are many such as the examples listed in the infographic that can be very effective at getting rid of common pests like aphids, caterpillars, and spider mites. Who knew the beautiful ladybug could be so effective at getting rid of aphid infestations in the garden? Other than the benefit of keeping things organic, using these insects can also be a great way to save money. Chemical pesticide is only going to get more expensive moving forward so why not use a method that takes advantage of the natural resource around you? If you are lucky then some of the beneficial insects could be native to the area you live in so all you have to do is to make your garden an attractive area for them to roam. One last thing to keep in mind is that there really isn't a way for pests to resist these bugs. According to the Pesticide Action Network, more and more insects and weed species are developing resistance against pesticide. With beneficial insects, however, the pests are being eaten so they really have nowhere to go.
If you are a gardener with a backyard then start taking action now. Help sustain the local population of bees in your area by sticking to a natural pest control method.
Sam Choan is a gardening enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experience on gardening and sustainability at his personal blog Organic Lesson. During his spare time, Sam grows a number of herbs in his indoor garden and finds ways to promote green living.
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall England
It is definitely SPRING, which means I am outside playing in my garden (rather than sitting in front of my computer). There is a lot of action in the news regarding the use of GMOs and glyphosate/Round-up, calling Monsanto on their shenanigans, scuttling the DARK act, and a call to (get ready for this) ban the use of toxic fracking wastewater in organic food production... what, are you serious? ONLY on organic foods (wait-currently, someone is growing organic food with fracking wastewater? Holy S**T batman)
Links to peruse when you are ready to help fight the good fight:
CIVIL EATS Scientists speak out against glyphosate
Organic Bytes #505 Koch, Monsanto, DARK Act
Cornucopia Institute=Ban the use of Fracking Wastewater on organic food production
Re-posted from the Center for Food Safety
Popcorn's Dirty Secret" won the 2015 Digital Edge award!
It’s no secret we love popcorn. We Americans consume more than 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year. But we’re getting more than we bargained for in all those bowls of popcorn: bee-toxic pesticides.
Bees are dying at alarming rates, and scientists have identified a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”) as a prime culprit in these drastic population losses. The largest single use of neonicotinoids is as a seed coating for field crops (like corn, soy, canola, and wheat). In fact, researchers estimate that 95-99% of all field corn grown in the U.S. comes from seed coated with bee-toxic neonic chemicals.
Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world. What makes them different from most pesticides is that they are systemic chemicals, meaning they are dispersed throughout the treated plant, rendering the whole plant toxic. Just as alarming, neonics are shown to last in the environment for years, harming species that the chemical was not designed to kill – like bees, butterflies, birds, and other helpful insects.
Unfortunately, the popcorn industry uses bee-killing chemicals on their seeds, too. That’s why we’re calling on Pop Secret, one of the biggest brands in the industry, to urge them to source their popcorn from seeds that are NOT coated in these harmful chemicals.
Pop Secret would not be alone in taking action against neonics:
The American Bird Conservancy reports that "a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoud can kill a songbird", and the Center for Food Safety reports that they are polluting our water systems too.
It is ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
What's on my mind these days, in regards to mindful eating?
The DARK act, victories against Monsanto's deadly Roundup and Enlist Duo, the fact that 64 nations now require labeling of food, and that 80% of processed foods contain GMOs-in addition to excessive amounts of sugar and salt...
Here are a few of my favorite blogs, that keep me up-to-date on the current battles over pesticide use, labeling, and the importance of growing and eating organic foods.
As my dad always said, "Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep!" (Dr. Byrne)
It is getting more difficult to know what we are eating, due to labeling issues and weak regulations, but the safest option is to buy local and organic.
Humans are not Roundup ready
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in one of the most heavily used pesticide in the world: Monsanto's Roundup. Recent studies are proving Monsanto's claim of safety for humans to be not only wrong, but insidious in the ways that it has contaminated our food, our soil, and our bodies. In fact, 19 EU countries have banned the use of GMOs, and all 28 EU countries require GMO labeling.
What's up with that USA? ....You do not have to scratch very deep to see who owns the USDA:
Monsanto is one of the "Big 6" Biotech Corporations, along with BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical Company, Dupont, and Syngenta (so called because they dominate the agricultural input market -- that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries).
Seed Industry Structure by Dr. Phil Howard - larger view here
In the news last month:
How Monsanto Took Control of Our Food System
Gut-wrenching: New Studies Reveal the Insidious Effects of Glyphosate
Ditch the Tampons-They are riddled with glyphosate and other carcinogens
Suspended USDA Researcher Alleges Agency tried to Block his Research....
Monsanto Faces Lawsuits of Cancer linked to Roundup
Roundup damages Earthworms and Soil Biota
Are We Roundup Ready?
What can you do? Support organic farmers, vote for labeling-or outlawing-GE foods, advocate for non-toxic farming and pest control methods, and please, spread the word: Poison is not the answer.
Support GMO testing, liability, and labeling; more info from Friends of the Earth.
Click here for larger size poster and more info
Did you notice that there are some names on the Big Biz side that used to be independent?
That is one of the sneaky tactics of the industry, to buy up popular organic brands and then to pretend that they support non-organic legislation. Let's see....there is Naked juice/Pepsi, LaraBar/General Mills, Kashi/Kellogg, Santa Cruz Organic/Smucker, Celestial Seasonings/Hain, and Odwalla/Coca-Cola. Creepy, isn't it?
See more of who owns what here (Thank you Dr. Phil Howard).
Beyond Pesticides News Release (Sept. 10, 2015):
California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to list glyphosate (Roundup) and three other chemicals as cancer-causing chemicals under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate is far from being "safe" and it has been linked to multiple chronic diseases that have become prevalent in Western societies, including obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Joining glyphosate on the Proposition 65 list is malathion, parathion, and tetrachlorvinphos. A California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP) report, titled Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools in California, finds that 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school, including malathion and parathion. Malathion, which is also classified as a Group 2A material by the IARC, is a nonsystemic, widespectrum organophosphate nerve poison that causes numbness, tremors, nausea, incoordination, blurred vision, difficulty breathing or respiratory depression, and slow heartbeat, among others. Parathion and tetrachlorvinphos are also organophosphates that attack the nerve system, particularly in young children, causing neurological damage.
Last year, the Center for Biological Study and Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch butterfly. Their press release explains the dramatic 90 percent decline over the last 20 years:
The butterfly’s dramatic decline is being driven by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born. The vast majority of genetically engineered crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in midwestern corn and soybean fields.
Full report here
Monsanto is reporting that it is "baffled" and "stunned" by this news; no doubt California is in for a fight. Please support legislation that will protect our food, our children, and our water! In the meantime, the safest choice is to eat organic foods and to use non-toxic methods of pest control.
Thank you California EPA for taking the lead on this issue.
Because it tastes so much better! Not only that...
I spent the bulk of this summer researching the effects of pesticides on children, and the health benefits of eating organic and non-processed foods. Things are much more dire than you would like to believe. Want to know more? Check out my new webpages: Go Organic and Pesticides, which I hope that you will find enlightening; included are hot links, resources, and my lastest infographic: "Pesticides are Not Healthy for Children or Other Living Things".
What can you do? Vote with your dollars! Download a copy of Environmental Working Group's 2015 EWG Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce here. Please advocate for non-toxic pesticide alternatives, sustainable farming, and food labeling, and shop at your local Farmers Market or co-op regularly.
Another excellent resource is "What's On My Food" by Pesticide Action Network. This is also available as an app–how handy is that?
See you at the Farmers Market!
I'm reposting this exciting news as published from Change.org: