Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pesticides Can Be Good For You!

O.K. I know, this is a bit of a shocker; almost sacrilegious coming hot on the heels of Earth Day. However, I read an interesting article in the National Post a few days ago ("How pesticides are saving the Earth"- April 20) by Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore who says that the use of pesticides allows us to increase food production without destroying more forest and wilderness. Pesticides also enhance the quality of food, with less spoilage and loss to pests and disease.

"But activist groups with an anti-pesticide agenda continue to disseminate misinformation designed to scare and confuse the public. From the Environmental Working Group's 1989 campaign against the growth regulator Alar (a campaign which nearly destroyed the U.S. apple-growing industry), and continuing today with the likes of the Sierra Club and David Suzuki, the misguided bid to demonize pesticide use continues."

*Shudder* I know. David Suzuki is like this earth-god that everyone worships. I feel like a bolt of lightening is going to strike me any minute now.

However, there is a lot of junk science involved with these activists' claims. Our kids have been spoon-fed this stuff by unionized daycare workers and fear-mongering school teachers. Pesticides bad. You can get sick. Eat this rotten organic apple instead!

Dr. Moore says, "But activist groups with an anti-pesticide agenda continue to disseminate misinformation designed to scare and confuse the public. From the Environmental Working Group's 1989 campaign against the growth regulator Alar (a campaign which nearly destroyed the U.S. apple-growing industry), and continuing today with the likes of the Sierra Club and David Suzuki, the misguided bid to demonize pesticide use continues.

An international panel of cancer experts organized by the National Cancer Institute of Canada has reached much the same conclusion. Evaluating over 70 published studies, it concluded that contrary to allegations by some activists, it was "not aware of any definitive evidence to suggest that synthetic pesticides contribute significantly to overall cancer mortality."

So, if pesticides used in food do not pose a significant threat to human health, why are we getting our shorts in a knot about their very controlled use on lawns? Is anyone eating the grass? Even if they did, would it be harmful?

I know this is like environmental heresy, but I'm just saying don't buy into all the David Suzukis of the world.

Speaking of whom, I also just found out via our local rag, that the Environmental Guru himself is going to be speaking at University of Waterloo on Tuesday ("David Suzuki at 70: Keeping the Faith").

The Record says, "Suzuki and others in the movement have been successful in winning the ear of decision-makers, but with the election of the Stephen Harper Conservatives, they could be facing tough times ahead. Harper refused a request to meet with Suzuki after the election."

Wow, the gall of that guy - Stephen Harper that is. Imagine refusing to meet with David Suzuki! I mean, what was he thinking? What could be more important? Pamela Anderson? Paul McCartney? Brigit Bardot? Robin Williams? Dalton McGuinty?

The man clearly has his priorities all messed up.


vicki said...

well joanne we are a kindered spirit! He is cool,in a respectable kind of way, but he has fostered a type of religious following. I stopped listening when research showed me that the age of the earth is quite young and he keeps referring to the billions of years stuff.( That might start another little discussion, eh?)
Hope you have great looking lawn, and the peace of mind to go with it!

Mac said...

The part that twists my shorts is that we (as in the taxpayers) paid the CBC to "create" Suzuki and now we must worship him? I don't think so, Tim!!

Suzuki would like us all to be happy little zen vegetarian Buddhists and while I admire that goal (since I'm all of those things... NOT) I don't like his use of junk science to justify his beliefs.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yes, it is almost like a religion or cult, isn't it? Let's all bow down and worship Mother Earth. Let's listen to the High Priest of the Environment, David Suzuki.

And Mac, that just adds insult to injury about us paying for his diatribes via the CBC, doesn't it? Man, I forgot about that one. Thanks for reminding me, I think.

Chuckercanuck said...

I heard him (Suzuki) liken the Kyoto Accord tobinational water treaties on the CBC.

He talked about how the Americans would be upset if we damned the Red River and kept all the water.

So, Stockwell Day isn't the only guy to get which way a river flows wrong.

Mary said...

Just as Rush Limbaugh calls the MSM "the drive by media", so too do the environmentalists, employ the same methods and do exactly the same thing. Never confuse them with the facts, just throw fear out there and the environmental lobbyists gather and pay homage to their god, David Susuki.

Mary said...

A further thought from Mary:

It seems to me that the Nero’s of the environmentalist society are fiddling about lawn spray while Rome (the earth) burns!
This is a lawless earth, out of control! When I look back on my on my sojourn on earth, I become more aware of the lawlessness that pervades the earth. When I was young there seemed to be a hope that each succeeding generation would have greater and greater peace & hope & the standard of living would increase and increase. Now I see that Terrorists have put an end to this ideal juvenile philosophy of mine. Someone once said that there is a thin veneer on civilization & I believe it. That thin cover has been blown off for good. We are safe so long as civilization respects life & limb but as it turns out now that cover has been ripped off. What remains is civilization scrambling to protect itself from an ideology that thinks that God is pleased with suicide & destroying other people as a way to earn their salvation not to mention the reward of scores of pure virgins awaiting them in the after life.
Yes we are in the throws of an upheaval in civilization indeed!

Kunoichi said...

I grew up on a mixed farm - basically subsistance farming. We grew our own fruits and veggies, raised animals for food with a few extra for income, and for the most part were able to grow our own animal feed. We had just enough cows to sell at auction once or twice a year, supplemented by the selling of surplus fruits, berries, cheese my mother made, and the odd job off the farm my parents picked up.

For the most part, we were totally organic. The main reason wasn't anything moral. It was because we couldn't afford to be otherwise, unless circumstances dictated. If potatoe bugs threatened the garden (and we grew LOTS of potatoes) and we could no longer keep up by picking them by hand, my parents bought a powdered poison we sprinkled on the plants. Those potatoes were a signifacant part of our food for the winter, and we couldn't afford to loose it. When the flies that laid eggs in the skin of our cows, leading to large lumps where the larvae formed under their fur, and burning a smudge could no longer keep them at bay, yet another poisonous powder was purchased and sprinkled on our cows' backs. The health of our animals was paramount, so we did what we had to do.

The road to my parents' retirement began when the neighbours, who were commercial farmers, complained that weeds from our fields blew seeds into theirs, rendering their use of herbicides rather useless. My father was told he had to start using herbicides. We couldn't afford it, so he stopped planting and rented out the field, instead. That meant buying feed for the cattle, and eventually the herd was sold off and my parents retired as farmers.

As much as I prefer my food to be grown as organically as possible, I also recognise that sometimes, the best thing to do for the health of the food (plant or animal)is to use herbicides, pesticides, anti-biotics, etc. What concerns me is how sometimes, growers aren't given a choice (or like my father, have to choose to stop growing) about it. Food production is a business, and the use of chemicals is a business decision. You do what you have to do.

I happen to like and respect Suzuki as someone who stands up for his beliefs. He's elloquent and passionate in his beliefs. I don't always agree with him, though. That one tonne challenge thing he was promoting, for example, was totally meaningless to pretty much anyone who lived outside of a city. I think in many ways, he's quite out of touch with the reality of most people's lives.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mary - Interesting comments. Yes, envionmentalists do tend to use fear as a weapon. I'm not sure if pesticides will be allowed in the afterlife. BTW, if Muslim male suicide bombers get all those virgins, what do the female ones get?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi - That is a sad story about your parents' farm. So they were effectively forced to use pesticides, and couldn't afford to do so?

I sure don't agree with that, but as you say, agriculture is a business like anything else I guess.

Kunoichi said...

to Joanne (true blue: Yeah, that's pretty much it. My dad was told that either he started using herbicides or he'd be fined. It was just too expensive - especially for one field. In all honesty, I don't remember the weeds being *that* much of a problem (and I knew the end product rather intimately, having spent many a summer throwing bales) and the cows didn't seem to mind the ones that were there, but then the neighbour's field was just on the other side of the fence. I guess if I were paying through the nose to keep my crops weed free for commercial purposes, I'd be pretty upset, too.

Farming is a very bizarre industry. When we had a local creamery (I still miss their butter!), they bought cream from local farmers. Everyone had to have a government quota (farming is just filled with government intervention). If your cows weren't producing much cream and went too much under quota, it might get cut back. If your cows were doing really well and producing lots of cream and you went over quota, you'd actually be charged a "fine" for the excess!!

I won't even start on the hoops my sister had to jump through when she and her husband ran a dairy farm.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, I had no idea farming was so difficult! Thanks for sharing, Kunoichi. Now I understand why those farmers are demonstrating in Ottawa, and why they are so frustrated!

vicki said...

We had neighbours(dairy farmers) who went thru that quota was sad...they were times they were forced to pour milk down the drain.
mary...very profound made me think that if we focus on pesticides we are essentially 'escaping' from the more important issues in life.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, yeah here's me worrying about my stupid lawn, and those soldiers in Afghanistan are fighting against the Taliban. Kinda puts things in perspective. Mary's a wise lady. She's my Mom too. :D

vicki said...

Wow!! Hi joanne's mom!!!

Mary said...

You blew my cover Jo!
Thanks for the kind thoughts Jo!
Hi to Vicki from Joanne's Mom!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hi Joanne's Mom!

You are my U.S. political 'expert' - a valuable resource. You can change to an alias if you need to. ;)