Very successful “Wisdom To Survive” evening

On December 7, about 70 people representing environmentally-oriented groups, West Chester University, and the broader public gathered at WCU’s new business building to view and discuss the film “The Wisdom To Survive.”

This fall Don’t Spray Me! has been moving out from our basic mosquito and pesticide mission to form alliances to counteract nefarious influences coming from our national and state capitals; we can all expect more local progress (and hope for wider progress) in 2018.

Do humans still have “The Wisdom To Survive”? The film brings out several of our most challenging imperatives: to reduce the use of fossil fuels, preserve sources of fresh water, protect food production from corporate aggrandizement, and attain a new (also old) harmony with our surroundings.

As featured speaker Elizabeth Moro aptly quoted, “Who owns the water when it reaches the land is the frog.”

Photos by Taka Nagai:

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FRANCE PLEDGES TO BAN TOXIC WEEDKILLER GLYPHOSATE

email from Environmental Working Group, 12/2/17

EWG wants to expand its work on pesticides in 2018 and we need your feedback.

Take EWG’s quick survey and tell us YOUR thoughts on pesticide use in the United States.

France just committed to banning the pesticide glyphosate, the main ingredient used in Monsanto’s Roundup, despite the opposition from multiple European countries that want to keep using this toxic pesticide. France plans to ban it in the next three years.

France took this step after glyphosate was declared a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

In the U.S., Scott Pruitt and the Environmental Protection Agency are doing the opposite. They are kowtowing to Monsanto and the pesticide lobby – but EWG is not backing down. We are ramping up our advocacy work on toxic pesticides like glyphosate, chlorpyrifos and dicamba, and expanding our work on pesticides so that you can protect yourself and your family.

We are finalizing our program plans for 2018 and urgently need you to weigh in.

Should the U.S. follow France’s lead and pledge to ban glyphosate?
YES / NO

Thanks for your input,

Neonicotinoids: don’t use them!

Why should we not use neonicotinoid insecticides? Because they kill or weaken many beneficial species of insects, including bees. And without bees, we’ll have to do without a lot of fruits and vegetables. Bayer and other manufacturers may not care, but we do.

Friends of the Earth has provided a list of neonicotinoid insecticide brands so that you can to avoid them:

(From the download “A Guide to Saving Bees” at Friends of the Earth.)

It’s almost as if the manufacturers were trying to mask their lethal products under fancy names, isn’t it? Rather than reading microscopic labels or carrying the list around with you, just avoid using pesticides and herbicides. There are many natural ways to protect your flowers and vegetables.

But if you are willing to print and carry the list around, next time you’re in a hardware or garden store, check to see if these objectionable products are on the shelf, and if so, complain to the management!

“Laid to Waste,” environmental justice film, Jan. 21, 2-4 p.m.

“Laid to Waste,” film about environmental justice sponsored by the West Chester Food Co-op, Don’t Spray Me!, and the Sustainability Committee of SEPA Sierra Club, in the Parish Hall of the Church of the Holy Trinity, 212 S. High St., West Chester PA. The film concerns pollution and environmental poisoning in nearby Chester, PA.

Food served by the West Chester Food Co-op before the film, and discussion follows the film. Mark your calendar now!

More info: mhudgings@gmail.com.

Environmental film series: “The Wisdom to Survive,” Dec. 7

West Chester University Environmental Sustainability Film Series #4: “The Wisdom to Survive” Thu Dec 7, 7 p.m.

Business and Public Management Center 101, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester University. Parking across Sharpless St. in the parking garage.

Sponsored by Sierra Club of Chester County, Don’t Spray Me!, WCU Sustainability Program and Geography & Planning Club, and Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), in memory of Graham Hudgings.

Doors open at 6:00. Bring kids to visit with Santa Claus in the display area! Refreshments from the West Chester Food Co-op and community displays will be available in the lobby.

Tours of the new LEED Certified Business Center will start at 6:30 p.m.

Formal program begins at 7:00 with featured speaker Elizabeth Moro, a broker of real estate who is active in land preservation in Chester County as well as in protecting our waterways through various fundraising events. As founding members of Neighbors for Crebilly, she and her husband Vince are working with local grassroots organizations to preserve this important part of the Brandywine Battlefield from development. Currently running for the PA 7th U.S. Congressional seat, Elizabeth is a graduate of Western Michigan University in Political Science, Public Policy, and Women’s Studies and has been politically involved for many years.

Film at about 7:20. Lasts 56 minutes.

Discussion moderated by WCU Prof. Joan Welch will follow the film.

Contact Information: Margaret Hudgings mhudgings@gmail.com

RSVP if you can at https://www.sierraclub.org/pennsylvania/southeastern#container/ (click on the event in the activities list most of the way down the screen). Or just come. All welcome.

More on the film at www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/wts.html, including trailer.

“THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived, and asks, what is keeping us from action? The film explores how unlimited growth and greed are destroying the life support system of the planet, the social fabric of the society, and the lives of billions of people.

A Pesticide and the E.P.A.

Letter, New York Times, 11/1/17

Re “Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, Oct. 29):

Pediatricians are alarmed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to allow the continued use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide. Mr. Kristof explains in compelling detail the special interests that influenced the E.P.A.’s decision and why it should concern us all.

Extensive epidemiologic studies associate pesticide exposure with adverse birth and developmental outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, pediatric cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, and asthma. The evidence is especially strong linking certain pesticide exposure with pediatric cancers and permanent neurological damage.

The agency’s own calculations suggest that babies, children and pregnant women all eat much more chlorpyrifos than is safe. In fact, the E.P.A. has estimated that “typical” exposures for babies are probably five times greater than its proposed “safe” intake, and 11 to 15 times higher for toddlers and older children.

This chemical is unambiguously dangerous and should be banned from use. We urge the E.P.A. to reverse its decision and protect child health.

FERNANDO STEIN, HOUSTON

The writer is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

ANIMUS in Philly… in East Bradford

DSM supporter Jim Redeker of East Bradford has let us know about a presentation and discussion of his novel, ANIMUS in Philly, to be held at the Radley Run Country Club on November 8.

You may wish to come promptly at 6p to be prepared for the presentation that will begin at 6:30. The book can be purchased on Amazon, Kindle and at the event. You do not have to have read the book to enjoy the presentation.Location:

Date: Wed., Nov 8th Registration: 6pm
Discussion: 6:30-7:30
Buffet: 7:30
Price: $16++
Call for Reservations by Nov. 6th
610-793-1660
The Public is Welcome
Radley Run CC 1100 Country Club Rd. West Chester, Pa 19382

Download pdf here: Animus in Philly nov 8

ANIMUS in Philly
By James R. Redeker

WHAT READERS HAVE SAID:
Continue reading

Dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos not to be banned after all

From all we can tell, the pesticide chlorpyrifos is very dangerous. Search for info online and see also “Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!” on our site.

Nicholas Kristof in “Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains,” New York Times, 10/29/17, brings out its unsavory history:

“The pesticide, which belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany, is now found in food, air and drinking water. Human and animal studies show that it damages the brain and reduces I.Q.s while causing tremors among children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults.”

The EPA’s decision to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos has just been reversed, even though:

“Kids are told to eat fruits and vegetables, but E.P.A. scientists found levels of this pesticide on such foods at up to 140 times the limits deemed safe.”

We are surrounded by damaging chemicals, because the US government has been so slow to regulate them and so susceptible to the influences of manufacturers. Kristof compares to another recent scandal:

“Remember the brain-damaging lead that was ignored in drinking water in Flint, Mich.? What’s happening under the Trump administration is a nationwide echo of what was permitted in Flint: Officials are turning a blind eye to the spread of a number of toxic substances, including those linked to cancer and brain damage.”

We all have the duty now to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Don’t Spray Me! is part of a movement on many levels to assure a healthy future for human and environmental health. Others, for example, are promoting uncontaminated foods, fighting back gas pipelines, and cutting greenhouse gas consumption.

It’s a priority for our time, a necessity for the future.

Read Kristof’s full article (including alarming drops in sperm counts) at New York Times.

History of Don’t Spray Me

Don’t Spray Me was founded in September 2015 by residents of West Chester PA and surrounding communities to raise awareness about the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment.

Our logo is a baby in a gas mask (on the right below). Then we introduced our “Happy Baby” signs in 2017 for those who wish to emphasize that in many locations we have in fact not been sprayed (on the left below). Our signs symbolize our desire to protect everyone, particularly the young, who are most vulnerable from the dangers of chemical poisons.

With the support of our mayor at the time, Carolyn Comitta, and our Borough Council, the threatened spraying of Permanone in the northeast section of West Chester borough was avoided in 2015. Our first victory. Borough officials agreed with us that the small risk of West Nile Virus was not worth risking the health of thousands of borough residents and the associated environmental damage, including the killing of bees and other beneficial insects, the poisoning of run off water, and the danger to pets. Our current mayor, Jordan Norley, also supports Don’t Spray Me and has authored a letter that was distributed this summer in the borough.

We are now a group of almost 300 concerned citizens with chapters in West Chester borough, East Bradford, West Goshen and Westtown working in our neighborhoods on these important environmental issues. We have allied ourselves with the regional chapter of Sierra Club and branched out successfully into ending Roundup use by the Borough government. We are also educating citizens through the Sierra Club Youth Corps on killing weeds in sidewalks without toxic chemicals. As part of our focus is on community education, we are cosponsoring an environmental film festival at West Chester University beginning in the fall of 2017.

We are in agreement with the large and growing body of research showing that spraying airborne pesticides for mosquito control poses serious threats to the environment and human health and is the least effective form of mosquito control. We favor non-toxic measures, such as larviciding and reducing mosquito breeding sites by education of residents. We are following the lead of many communities across the nation that have banned spraying for mosquitoes, some more than 15 years ago, with no adverse human health consequences. The resolution in Lyndhurst OH and the plan in Shaker Heights have inspired our work here in Chester County. We are also following the lead of the state of California in warning people about the dangers of RoundUp/glysophate. Young people are interested and involved in all these efforts.

Our signs have been very successful in getting out our message, with about 350 in place across the County during the mosquito season.

We urge all municipalities to examine these issues, to create detailed plans to control mosquitoes without spray, and thus to protect residents and the environment.

Non-toxic weed-killers save taxpayer money, protect health

Letter from Ted Jankowski, seacoastonline (Portsmouth NH), Aug 20, 2017

The city of Portsmouth claims it’s too expensive to kill sidewalk weeds in a way that doesn’t endanger our health. I disagree.

Simple math shows that the city is shelling out 13 times more of our tax dollars to spread expensive, potentially carcinogenic toxins to kill weeds on our sidewalks and public places than it cost us for a simple homegrown vinegar-based natural alternative! And using an off the shelf organic product would cost about the same as the city is spending now – not 10 times more as the city has claimed.

Here’s the detail: In an April 2017 report to the City Council, our city public works department claimed that it tried the organic herbicide Avenger, but that a “major drawback” was that it cost “up to 10 times” the price of conventional herbicides like Roundup or Rodeo.

This got my financial brain working – 10 times more expensive? After four outrageously time-consuming Right-to-Know law requests – that made me wonder why I couldn’t easily get this information online on the city website – I finally found out in April the city used Roundup Pro Max to kill weeds in our public places. An online check of Walmart retail prices showed that this costs $45.53 a gallon. Meanwhile, a gallon of the organic weed-killer Avenger costs $51.30 – about $6 or just 13 percent more – but its application doesn’t require expensive licensed chemical folks, so using it would save money or break even – not cost 10 times more. So what gives?

Then I decided to compare the cost of the weed-killer the city is using on our sidewalks and public places with the homegrown “weed-killer” we (and many others) use to kill weeds on our brick patio and gravel driveway. We use a mix of one gallon of white vinegar, two cups of Epsom salts, and quarter-cup of dish detergent, which I used just last Sunday. Three days later, even with a little rain in-between, all the weeds were dead down to the roots! The Walmart online cost for this very effective weed-killer? Only $3.29 per gallon versus $45.53 per gallon for Roundup Pro. The city has also stated that Roundup only needs to be used twice a year, so it’s a better deal. Guess what? We only need to use our vinegar-based remedy twice a year too!

So the basic math? The city is spending at least 13 times more ($45.53 per gallon for Roundup, roughly the same as the organic product if you factor in application savings for that versus $3.39 per gallon for a simple vinegar-based method) – to spread dangerous toxins to kill weeds in our public places – when a simple natural alternative costs 13 times less. (And none of this even considers the potential health costs of any adverse effects of human or canine exposure to toxic weed-killers).

Now the real question is why haven’t eight of our nine city councilors done this basic math? I encourage the City Council to look at the overwhelming scientific data on the dangers of toxic weed-killers and the real costs of using them.

Please follow the lead of many U.S. cities and other countries and vote for the city to immediately stop using toxic synthetic chemicals on public property, encourage toxin-free property maintenance, and educate property-owners in safe, organic ways to care for our property. Let’s switch immediately to proven, safe, organic, sustainable ways to kill weeds.

Please help us protect our kids, our pets, and our taxpayers’ wallets by making Portsmouth a non-toxic community!

Ted Jankowski is a former Portsmouth deputy city manager and Portsmouth resident.