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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  • ‘The two things I love most are novels and birds, and they’re both in trouble,’ says The Corrections author, one of the world’s most famous birdwatchers

    Birdwatching was once an activity that elicited a sense of mild shame in Jonathan Franzen. The author stalked New York parks with binoculars in hand, rather than on a strap, carefully hiding from view the word “birds” on his field guide. Debonair friends in London recoiled in horror when told of his pastime. Franzen was furtive, almost embarrassed. Now, he is one of the most famous birdwatchers in the world.

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  • In the latest from our series on biodiversity, the Blue Hill chef says we’ve got sustainable agriculture wrong. It’s not a question of sacrifice, but deliciousness

    “How does it taste?” says Dan Barber, regarding me expectantly in the garden of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, his restaurant in the Hudson Valley just north of New York. I am gnawing the crust of a large piece of bread that has been grown from Barber Wheat, a hybrid seed developed by Barber and his partners to be nutrient dense, high in yield and – a radical thought in seed breeding, apparently – full of flavour. (Whereas clapped out old seeds might yield 30 bushels an acre, Barber Wheat will stretch to 95). The bread is simultaneously light, and dense, and intricate in flavour in such a way that I can’t think of a single word to do it justice. Barber, who at 49 has the manic energy of someone for whom no plate of food will ever live up to the ideal in his head, looks at me gloomily. “That’s the whole problem with food writing,” he says.

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