Insecticides (which kill insects) and herbicides (which kill weeds), often grouped together collectively as “pesticides,” are used worldwide to the tune of 5 billion pounds per year. These poisons infiltrate our water, soil, air, and food, thereby affecting both flora and fauna, not only in large-scale agriculture but also in homes, schools, businesses, and elsewhere. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring exposed DDT for its negative impact on the environment, especially on birds, which led to its ban, but pesticide use has actually increased.

Maintaining an organic garden doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating bugs along with your veggies. Find out how at the “Clean & Green: Easy Non-Toxic Gardening” workshop at Pittsburg Library on Saturday, March 11. Register through this website under Events. If you want to keep garden pests at bay naturally, certified permaculturalist Kelley Burnham will provide actions you can take to cultivate plants in soil that is healthy and toxic free and create habitats that are conducive to bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects.

Although the EPA tests pesticide chemicals individually for “acceptable” tolerance levels, in reality, humans are exposed to countless chemicals over long periods of time. If you grow or buy produce that isn’t organic, you may ingest residues of pesticides, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Pesticides impact the environment by causing loss of biodiversity, water and soil contamination in agriculture, disruption in ecosystems and food chains, and more.

Most garages have housed Round Up at some time or another, and this pesticide contains the active ingredient glyphosate, which has been strongly linked to various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, miscarriages, birth defects, ADHD, and more. A relatively new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids decimates pests, but unfortunately, it also harms the nervous system of non-target pests, particularly pollinators such as bees and butterflies. It affects the bees’ ability to learn and remember and causes paralysis and death. Needless to say, this has greatly reduced the bee population.

There are alternatives to pesticide use that are natural and non-toxic. Ditch the pesticides, and learn how to keep your garden truly natural!

 

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