Friday, March 8, 2013

Courtesy of PAN, More on GE Crops, Triclosan and Dying Birds

Three stories currently on Pesticide Action Network's blog (GroundTruth) expand on issues discussed recently in The Delicious Truth and are all quick, worthwhile reads that concern us all.

Here are the three, with opening paragraphs and links to the full stories.

Bumper Crops in India, No GE Required
"Small farmers in the rural Indian state of Bihar are setting yield records for rice, potatoes and wheat — without the use of genetically engineered (GE) seed or pesticides.
"Using an agroecology technique known as SRI, the farmers have more than quadrupled their previous yields. An official from the state's Ministry of Agriculture calls SRI 'revolutionary.'
"The acronym stands for System of Rice (or root) Intensification, and was developed by researchers from Cornell University working with Madagascar farmers in the 1980s. As described in a recent article in The Guardian, it is basically a 'less is more' approach in which farmers plant fewer seedlings with more space between each plant, keep the soil much drier and carefully weed between each plant to aerate the soil." (Read more.)
Minnesota Says 'No Thanks' to Triclosan
"Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota this week. By June of this year, state agencies and institutions will no longer be buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.

"Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order signed Monday. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical's prevalence and harms.

"Earlier this year, researchers reported widespread triclosan contamination of Minnesota lakes, adding urgency to ongoing efforts of local groups such as Friends of the Mississippi River to curb use of this anti-microbial pesticide.

"Signaling concerns about exposure to the chemical, a statement from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) describes triclosan as an 'endocrine disrupting compound' believed to contribute to antibiotic resistance with links to other health and environmental problems." (Read more.)
First Bees, Now Birds
"Prairie bird populations are falling in many Midwestern states, from ring-necked pheasants to horned larks to sparrows. Scientists now say insecticides are a primary culprit.
"Minnesota birds are hardest hit with 12 species in decline, followed by Wisconsin with 11, and Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and New York with nine affected species each." (Read more.)


Anonymous said...

Thought you might be interested in this new agricultural technology that is being tested to enable farmers to use less pesticides by monitoring insect crop pests in their fields in real time. I know the ideal is no pesticides, but less is also good, just less good, right?

I'm sure more info is available somewhere out there if desired.

Chef Rob said...

Thanks for this link, I'll take a look. Yes, half a boatload is better than a whole boatload.