Monday, 15 October 2007

Environmental letters

The boys and I spent this morning (yes, we did leave it 'til the last minute) working on letters to send to our city council. They were asking for residents to write in by today, with their comments regarding a possible pesticide reduction bylaw. Since we are computered out from our letter typing I will use these letters as my contribution to the environmental blog posts.

Dear Mayor and Council members,

I am writing to you regarding the pesticide reduction strategy. I would hope that city council would prioritize having a healthy city over a weed free city. Lots of people use spray on weeds just because it is easier than picking weeds by hand, our family does not use spray on our lawn and plants, and our yard looks just as nice as our neighbours who do spray. There are lots of other natural alternatives to pesticides and there are organic ways to grow healthy plants and lawns, such as compost tea, mulch, ogogrow, etc.

Pesticide use has a HUGE impact on the food chain, for example: bug eats leaf that has been sprayed, bug gets sick, then bird eats sick bug, bird get sick, bigger animal eats bird and so on. Consider that humans are at the top of the food chain.

I think that when discussing cosmetic pesticide use we should consider DDT. At the time everyone thought that DDT was great until they found out that entire species of birds almost became extinct because of DDT. I think that in the future we will find out that the pesticides we are using today are just as bad as DDT was, we just don't yet know all the effects of today's pesticides. I hope that you will take this opportunity to pass a pesticide reduction bylaw so that we will not have to find out the effects the hard way. If you want to read about pesticides and the effect they had on birds and the environment I suggest the book
One Good Apple. I would hope that a city that worked hard to help re-establish Peregrine Falcons (one of the species nearly eliminated by use of pesticides that were considered "safe" at the time) would make a pesticide-free community a priority.

I hope you consider what I said and I look forward to a pesticide free city.

A concerned 11 year old.

Dear Mayor X and Council members,

This is E, I want to save our city from pesticides. In our yard, our grass is green, our trees grow nicely, our flowers get complimented all the time and we don't use pesticides. Our veggie garden grows and it gives us a lot of yummy food and we don't use pesticides on it. We use compost, ogogrow and compost tea to help things grow. This summer when we had lots of aphids, we bought some ladybugs to get rid of the aphids, we did not use pesticides. I think that pesticides kill bad bugs, but they also kill good things, like birds, worms, ladybugs, butterflies and bees. I'm concerned about pesticides because I am only 7 and if we don't stop using them, then by the time I am an adult the world will be seriously damaged by all these chemicals. I think that you should pass a bylaw that reduces pesticide use.

From E

Dear Mayor X and Council Members

I am writing in regard to the pesticide reduction strategy that you are considering. I must say that I find it surprising that there is really that much to consider. It seems clear to me that the use of pesticides is endangering the health of our planet as well as the health of all its inhabitants, including us. As a parent, and hopefully a future grand-parent, I want what is best for our next generation. I find it disappointing that we are still at a place where we would put more importance on being weed-free and "looking good" than on health. I think that this is an area where our city's residents could greatly benefit from some forward-thinking leadership. Similar bylaws have been passed in many cities and once the fussing of the opponents dies down, I believe most cities find it a win-win situation. I think that this is an issue that you must take the initiative with, an issue where you need to put aside any financial concerns and doubts and do what is the best for the long-term health of your community - pass the bylaw.

I would like to share with you a quote from Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. (a book, published in 1962, about the detrimental effects of pesticides)

"Can anyone believe," she wrote, "it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life? They should not be called 'insecticides' [insect killers] but 'biocides' [life killers]."

I think Rachel Carson asks the question, really the only question, that we need to ask ourselves. I urge you to use common sense and simple logic in considering this issue. I believe that time and time again we are shown that chemicals and practices which we once thought safe, prove to be a danger to our health and the health of our environment.

I understand that there are people who believe that this bylaw will have a detrimental effect to the bottom line of their businesses, but I think that the long-term health benefits of all, including the health of pesticide applicators, will far outweigh any negative financial effects. I think that once a bylaw like this is in place that people will easily adapt to it and find healthier ways to maintain their lawn and plants. I urge you to move ahead with this excellent initiative in order to help protect the health of our planet for our future generations.



Katherine said...

Well said, Heather, W & E. Your morning was well spent, and as a resident of Kelowna I appreciate you answering the call to action on this topic.

Nicola said...

Excellent letters - I hope they help to convince City Council that there is only one good decision here!

Anonymous said...

Great letters. It is great to hear a kid's perspective on such issues. They have such a fresh view and such common sense on environmental issues.

RJDK said...

If only every decision was made without a concern for economic impact on businesses, then we would be further ahead as a society.

Well done on the letters.