In my last post, I mentioned not waiting on our government to do what we need to do to fix our pale blue dot of a planet.
I’d like to elaborate a bit more today on this not waiting part.
Warning…this is a going to be a bit of a rant…apologies in advance if your RQ (Rant Quota) has already been reached this week.
Please feel free to exit gracefully HERE.
Ok, RQs-not-met-people, here we go…
The best way I can think to elaborate on this not waiting on our government concept is by sharing a news story I saw back in March.
Here it is…
EPA Says It Will Allow Continued Sale Of Controversial Pesticide
by Dan Charles
NPR – March 30, 2017
[Copyright 2017 NPR]…
Story link below:
If you can, please take a moment and listen to, or read, Mr. Dan Charles’s excellent piece, and please come back.
Ok, thanks for coming back…
Now if you’re anything like me, when you hear a story like this (pretty much a 2 or 3 times a day occurrence with our current government), your immediate reaction is probably something akin to the following:
‘Holy [Insert Choice Expletive]! Look at what they’ve done now!’
So I had that reaction.
And then I thought…
‘Wait a minute…I don’t tend to buy food that’s grown using this chemical. I should have nothing to worry about, right?!!’
And if you’re then wondering, well…how did I KNOW the food that I buy isn’t grown using this chemical?!
Didn’t the news story report that this chemical is used by millions of growers in this country, and around the world?
Well, it’s simple, and you’ve probably already guessed it…
I try to buy food from growers that I know and can trust. and when I can’t buy food from those growers, I rely on a simple label added to food that looks like this (see below):
Never seen this label?
Want to learn more?
And before you roll your eyes at this last sentence, and write me off as just another detached ‘coastal elite’, a ‘hippy-dippy-long-haired-surfer-freak’, I would ask that you read just a few more paragraphs…thank you so much…
The reason I try to buy food from growers I know and can trust at best, and certified organic if I can’t buy from growers I know and trust, is pretty much because of stories like the one above where people in positions of extreme power now like Mr. Pruitt, and his immediate supervisor, our President, appear to not be very concerned about the health of our planet and the organisms inhabitating our planet (i.e. You, me, your children, your children’s children, Fifi, Cuddles, insert any DNA life form) compared to making wealthy people wealthier and removing regulations that help businesses that make and use products that harm people stay in business.
So…back to buying food from growers you trust…
The reason I buy this way is not only for my own health and the health of my family, but also to support growers who take a bold stand, and don’t rely on these chemicals featured in the story, specifically chlorpyrifos.
It’s important to me to support these growers who find a different way to grow food for people than to spray these harmful chemicals on our food.
And before I go any further, I want to clarify just a few things…
One, I do understand that growers feel the need to spray their crops to stay in business.
I don’t fault them in particular.
Just like the politicians above, they can get swept up in the greater ‘good’ conundrums, and rationalize that this is something that HAS to be done to feed their families.
I get it.
I don’t fault people for this.
I do understand the need, and the reason behind that need.
But, and this is a big BUT, just like we made it a priority in the early 70’s to take out lead from our gasoline, we can in 2017 make it a priority to rid our food supply of pesticides.
And just like there was a great backlash from the other side that didn’t want to have to change things up with leaded gasoline, there will be much consternation in stopping the use and creation of these pesticides.
The arguements will be the same…
It’s too expensive.
Will take too much time.
There are no better alternatives than using X pesticide to kill Y bug.
But look at us now almost 40 years after we did decide as a country that this practice of quieting our engines with leaded gasoline was not so quieting to human health.
We now have much lower levels of lead in our bodies, and in our environment.
If you want to watch a great rendition of how lead was taken out of our gasoline, and who was chiefly responsible for leading that effort (spoiler…it was Clair Cameron Patterson), watch the new Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Episode 7, The Clean Room.
And if your kids ever ask who are the real heroes out there…you would definitely do them a favor by telling them the story of Clair Cameron Patterson.
Maybe even try and make an action figure of this guy.
Truly remarkable what he did in the face of much opposition from the scientific and political community in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Ok, getting back again to our food, and how to find local, organic food, that is free of this chemical, chlorpyrifos.
The easiest way is to find a Community Supported Agriculture or CSA farm near you that is practicing organic agriculture, certified or uncertified.
Here you will be able to purchase incredibly fresh produce (oftentimes less than 24 hours from being harvested from the soil) directly from the grower(s).
Here’s a link to help:
If your State doesn’t contain a lot of CSAs, don’t give up hope.
Try this link to locate a variety of local food options in your area:
If you are still having trouble, please send me an email at:
I’ll troubleshoot with you individually on ways to get more control over what you are putting into your body as food three times (maybe less, maybe more) a day.
One caveat I will address…
Being ‘Certified Organic’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the grower is perfect, and their system of farming is perfect.
There is no perfect system.
Are there cheaters out there? You bet there are.
But you know what?
If nothing else, being Certified Organic opens your farm up to scrutiny by the certifying agency, as well as your customers.
If you are cheating, eventually the certifying agency or your customers will find out.
It’s in the growers’ best interest to produce food safely and without the use of herbicides and pesticides that are not approved for organic agriculture.
Getting back to the resistance…
The best way you can resist…you guessed it…buy food and eat food 3 times a day that only comes from growers that you know don’t use this chemical, chlorpyrifos.
And guess what?
Guess what happens if enough people decide to do this very simple thing?
Again, you guessed it…
Chlorpyrifos ends up not being used in our nations food supply.
You, the consumer, you the holder of the almighty dollar bill, you, you reading this, YOU have the ULTIMATE power in the universe every time you go to the supermarket.
You cast a vote with every purchase you make.
Your payment of $0.99 per pound for tomatoes grown in Florida or California using Chlorpyrifos to get rid of the growers’ mites, aphids, flea beetles, you name it, and literally any other living organism that comes within a 0.3″ radius of that tomato plant, beneficial insect or not, says that you are OK with them using Chlorpyrifos.
Think of all pesticides, Chlorpyrifos particularly, as agricultural Defender video game smart bombs.
Click HERE for a refresher if you weren’t around or were checked out in the 1980’s. You’re welcome 🙂
No bug left behind, or alive for that matter.
Again, you hold the power.
You don’t have to wait for a November primary or June referendum, no, you can tell Scott Pruitt TODAY, and the rest of your days here on the planet with your dollar bill that his decision to allow Chlorpyrifos in our nation’s food supply is frankly unacceptable to you, given all the science that exists around this chemical.
Last but not least, please let me rant a bit on the science…
The Natural Resources Defense Council has a great article about the science used to determine safe levels of exposure to this chemical.
You’ll need to be sitting down when you click on this one.
Here it is:
It’s a disgrace to the scientific method that Mr. Pruitt said what he did on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 about keeping this chemical on the market…
Here is an exact quote from his statements:
“By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.”
Honestly, for me it wasn’t a scientific study that brought me over to the side of not using these chemicals. It was a human being I met in Aromas, CA. He will remain nameless. But he was a grower giving a tour of his farm to government agency folks, myself included. He shared how he made the choice to grow strawberries and other fruits and vegetables organically because he wanted his kids to come out and be with their Dad while he worked. Growing with pesticides didn’t afford that perk on the job.
That man’s story changed me that day I heard it.
Finally, everything became clear.
I didn’t need another scientific study to show me the benefits of growing food organically.
This man’s story was reason enough to rethink my position on pesticide use.
I now realize that these sprays of these incredibly toxic chemicals is a bad idea.
If your kids can’t come out to the fields with you for fear of being exposed to harmful chemicals, well, maybe it’s time to rethink how you’re farming.
It simply takes pausing for a moment to think about what it requires to get food on your table, and what are you willing to ask someone else to do to get it there.
Do we really want to ask someone to first expose themselves through the application of the pesticide onto the field?
Next, do we really want to ask someone to go out into that field within the allotted time frame deemed safe for human exposure, and go tend to that crop that is growing with this pesticide on it?
I don’t want to be that person.
The conventional agricultural industry would have you believe that it just isn’t possible to grow food without using these chemicals.
And I have found that this is simply not true.
Using the current methods of food production on large scale farms with their slim profit margins, I can see that it would be difficult to ‘turn the ship around’ so to speak toward a zero tolerance policy on these chemicals.
I will grant that.
But it is not impossible.
How do I know this?
There is an incredible parallel industry of farmers who have chosen a different path.
You already know who these folks are, don’t you?
These are the organic farmers again.
They don’t believe in using these chemicals.
They find a different way.
They work WITH nature to bring in beneficial insects to biologically control pests on their farms.
They use crop rotations, cover crops, and other organic methods to boost soil health and, as a result, plant health.
Is it perfect?
No, again, no system is.
Are there losses? You bet there are.
It’s raw nature.
But the losses are not as detrimental as the losses that are occurring with the use of these extremely detrimental pesticides.
Loss of beneficial insects, including the mass die off of bees, sterilization of our soils and plants, and exposures to chemicals in human populations living in close proximity to where our food is produced.
It is a sad legacy we are leaving to our children and grandchildren who will be charged with cleaning up the huge environmental messes we are creating every day we consume resources on this planet.
We should all be ashamed that we’ve let this go on for so long on our own watch.
I know I am.
And I am the first to blame.
I have contributed greatly in my lifetime to the problem, to this mess.
I supported farms in my past that use these chemicals in the name of expediency, convenience, and necessity, not being able to afford organic food.
I resigned that I had no choice.
But I am resigned no longer.
I now make it a priority in my life to know where my food comes from, and who is producing it.
I want to be a part of the solution.
I want to be someone who stops the madness today, stops it right now, and stops it by making a conscious choice to not support growers with my dollars that don’t align with my personal values for the planet and my family.
We don’t need to wait until April 20th, Earth Day, every year (Happy Belated by the way) to proclaim how ‘green’ we are.
We can walk into a grocery store this week, today even, and talk to the workers in the produce department, face to face, about whether or not they know if chlorpyrifos was used on that tomato, that ear of corn, that apple you are about to put into your cart.
Chances are they won’t know.
But you know what they WILL know.
That YOU CARE to know.
And they, like any other business on the planet, are in the business of providing a product that YOU want, and that YOU CARE about.
Once you stop caring about that product…guess what? They do too.
It’s simple supply and demand economics.
Let’s all wake up to the reality that WE, yes, YOU AND ME, hold in our wallets right now ultimate power. ULTIMATE POWER. Let’s not pretend that we don’t. And, let’s not pretend that we can’t change the world one purchase at a time with these almighty dollars we earn each week.
We most certainly can.
And I challenge you to find out more about organic agriculture and its benefits to you, your children, your children’s children, and our pale blue dot of a planet.
I think you’ll be glad you did.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Sorry, I know this one was a doozy! 🙂
Thanks for hanging in there to the very end 🙂