This article is in response to the article by Amy Waxman titled, GMOs May Feed the World Using Fewer Pesticides, she along with many others subscribe to the theory that GMO's are good because they allow for fewer pesticides to be used than when those same crops are grown conventionally, and that can be proven in the short term. However over the long term chemical agriculture has proven to be ineffective and outright danergous to us humans, to our drinking water, and to our most important pollinators. If your in the camp that thinks using less poison is the solution, well here are five solid factual reasons to change your mind.
Over the long term we need to support organic agriculture so we can reverse the harm these chemicals are doing and change the health of the environment for the betterment of future generations. It's starts with each of us making the simple choice to buy organic. Nothing else is required but us consumers making millions of individual decisions, and here are five reasons for making that decision.
#1 Farm Workers - California uses more pesticides than any other state, more than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported statewide in 2010, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds – or 9.5 percent – from 2009. These pesticides wreak havoc on the health of farm workers, their spouses and particularly the children in these agricultural communities. The crop that uses the most pesticides is cotton. By supporting organic agriculture you're helping create a supply chain that greatly reduces the chemical exposure to these workers, their spouses and most importantly their children.
#2 Bees - Bees pollinate 30% of our food and in the US alone honey bees pollinate $30 billion worth of crops. However just over the past six years, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion.
And now they know what's causing it, a cocktail of Pesticides. Supporting organic agriculture helps bring back bio-diversity to our soil and enables the complex web of life to return to the land, this means more flowering plants that can help bring back our precious bees.
#3 Water Quality - We simply can not live without water and most of the water is contaminated with pesticides. We now know that pesticides, herbicides, and excess nitrates move off of agricultural lands and into our rivers, lakes, streams and oceans, and down through the soil and into our aquifers.
The pesticide atrazine, is found in almost every American’s drinking water, it causes hormone disruptions in humans. By supporting organic agriculture you're helping to reduce the chemicals getting into our water.
#4 - GMO's - GMO's have been in use for roughly 20 years, a meaningless point of time in the scope of the history of the natural world. We know there are several companies raking in massive profits, but just like every other bubble, there will be a time when we look back and wonder how we humans could have allowed such a practice.
The science is clear, GMO's are not a viable long term farming practice. Insects and weeds have short lifespans, they have mutations that occur quickly, and when a mutation of a weed or insect occurs that then makes it immune to whatever chemical had killed it in the past, it is much more pervasive and harder to eradicate.
#5 All of the other creatures are effected too: A recent U.S. Geological Survey study estimated that seven species of amphibians will drop by 50 percent if the current rate of decline continues, this decline is fueled by pesticide use and loss of habitat.
The good news is we know nature is resilient and if we our reverse course by moving back to organic farming methods we can bring back the bio-diveristy of the soil. We are optimistic about the future. We remain hopeful that as more people become aware of these issues the more people will move toward supporting organic agriculture.