A pestilence of poisons

Published in Poisons Beware

Pesticides safe? Pull the other one, it's got bells on!

Those who believe that pesticides in the environment can be safe are naive or gullible. Lots of seemingly plausible reasons are put forward to support the pesticide industry. None stands up to proper scrutiny. Pesticide use on normal crops and the production of pesticide-orientated genetically modified crops are unsustainable. Glyphosate-based herbicides are used in ever-increasing quantities worldwide, and are demonstrably causing ever-increasing harm to human health and the environment.

While pesticide users may be naive and/or gullible, some who support the production, sale and use of pesticides are cynical and corrupt, driven by the profit motive despite being at least half aware of the downside of pesticide use.

The earth which produces our food cannot do its job if it is blackened and depleted by poisons.

The eerie poem 'On a White Horse' by Mike Galsworthy is a warning: pillaging the earth of its natural resources can only lead to disaster.

 

 

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    Leading scientists have warned that global conservation is being undermined by celebrity power after they suffered death threats and abuse in a hostile dispute over trophy hunting.

    Groups such as the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and Born Free are pressuring the UK and US governments to ban trophy hunting, with support from many famous names, much of the public and more than 150 MPs across the political spectrum.

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  • Call for world leaders to act in wake of French extradition case that turned on environmental concerns

    Air pollution does not respect national boundaries and environmental degradation will lead to mass migration in the future, said a leading barrister in the wake of a landmark migration ruling, as experts warned that government action must be taken as a matter of urgency.

    Sailesh Mehta, a barrister specialising in environmental cases, said: “The link between migration and environmental degradation is clear. As global warming makes parts of our planet uninhabitable, mass migration will become the norm. Air and water pollution do not respect national boundaries. We can stop a humanitarian and political crisis from becoming an existential one. But our leaders must act now.”

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  • Efforts to map the Earth’s trees are growing – and could change our understanding of the planet’s health

    When a team of international scientists set out to count every tree in a large swathe of west Africa using AI, satellite images and one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, their expectations were modest. Previously, the area had registered as having little or no tree cover.

    The biggest surprise, says Martin Brandt, assistant professor of geography at the University of Copenhagen, is that the part of the Sahara that the study covered, roughly 10%, “where no one would expect to find many trees”, actually had “quite a few hundred million”.

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  • The roles of agriculture and home heating in causing particle pollution are often neglected

    When I talk to people about air pollution sources they normally blame the nearest busy road.

    In new research, 16,000 people were asked where they thought air pollution came from, revealing some important misunderstandings. Respondents from seven European countries were asked to pick the two main sources of air pollution. Top choices everywhere were industry and traffic. However, the reality is very different.

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  • Stamford, Lincolnshire: The trademark fingerprint of the wood-boring beetles is often hidden from sight

    “Contracted” is the word that springs to mind as I look closely at the log I’ve pulled from the pile in my garden. It’s cold with frost-shimmer, and as I study its micro-landscape of moss-forest and bark-gully, I find where the rind has flaked away … something on the bare wood beneath.

    I pick at the bark, like a scab. Beneath is a strange tattoo. At macro scale it resembles a labyrinth; all corners and spurs, tight-wound and interlocking, tortuous and confined. Zoom out and in form it’s like a weird fossil, outstretched wings or limbs or leaves, radiating out from a central spine or arm or trunk.

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  • There are only two remaining rhinos of this species, a mother and daughter, but scientists see new hope in stem cell breakthroughs

    “I watch these beautiful animals walk the path toward extinction every day,” keeper James Mwenda tells me. He’s out in the Kenyan bush, swatting flies. The anti-poaching K-9 dogs bark in the background. “I’ve watched their numbers fall from seven to two... Working with them and watching what’s happening – it’s an emotional freefall.” He smiles, clearly resigned to the pain of bearing witness. “But I’ve dedicated my life to it.”

    The window to keep the northern white rhino from going functionally extinct to fully extinct is closing fast. Were things left only to nature, the two remaining rhinos – elderly, calm Najin and her feisty 20-year-old daughter Fatu – would be the last of their kind to graze the African grasslands. After civil war, habitat loss, and aggressive poaching, scientists declared the species extinct in the wild in 2008.

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  • Report says not enough funding is being made available to deal with effects of extreme weather

    Millions of people around the world are facing disaster from flood, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather, as governments fail to take the measures needed to adapt to the impacts of climate breakdown, the UN has warned.

    Nearly three-quarters of countries around the world have recognised the need to plan for the effects of global heating, but few of those plans are adequate to the rising threat, and little funding has been made available to put them into force, according to the UN environment programme’s Adaptation report 2020, published on Thursday.

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  • Historic court case accuses country of being responsible for ecological damage and its impacts

    A Paris court has been asked to convict the French state for its alleged failure to act to halt the climate crisis.

    The legal case, which is being brought by four environmental groups after a petition was signed by more than 2 million citizens, seeks to hold the country responsible for ecological damage and its detrimental health and social effects.

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  • Wood pellets are sold as a clean alternative to coal. But is the subsidised bioenergy boom accelerating the climate crisis?

    Kalev Järvik stands on a bald patch of land in the heart of Estonia’s Haanja nature reserve and remembers when he could walk straight from one side of the reserve to the other under a canopy of trees.

    Järvik has lived in the Haanja uplands in the southern county of Võru for more than 10 years. His closeness to the forest has shaped his life as a carpenter and the fortunes of the surrounding villages, with their handicraft traditions – a substitute for farming on the poor arable land. Upcountry, travel literature promotes the region to city dwellers, promising its ancient woodlands as a place to rest and reinvigorate the mind.

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  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: This was the perfect day to return him to the place that gave hope, strength and inspiration

    “Whoop!” The brassy fart of a horn announces hunting somewhere behind the wood. Thread through the blackthorn into a hollow between scrubby spoil heaps, to gain the confidentiality of snow. At the gate, look west to the white wall of the Berwyn mountains; the sky streaks blue and salmon. The hunters vanish, but a chainsaw labours in the threat they leave behind; its voice fills the air with angry frustration, then shatters into calls of rooks across snowy fields.

    A bolt of light from low in the south-west fires across the land, illuminating half the Wrekin to the north. This hill, hog’s back still hidden in cloud, sends a lightless flicker between the present and the most ancient of days. Some kind of realignment of time and place happens there in the mist – a shift that can be felt for miles around, as if it has something to do with the great communications mast nailed into the oldest rock in the world.

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