What we’ll be missing without our pollinators

Daily Local News writer Pam Baxter has reminded us what we’ll be missing out on if pollinators die off. In her article Planting for Pollinators, she warns:

Pollinators are in a serious decline and this has the potential for a serious effect on certain crops. We’re talking virtually all of the fruits we enjoy: apples, peaches, plums, oranges, lemons, limes, cherries, bananas, melons, papayas and mangos, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and elderberries. And say goodbye to wine; grapes also need insects for pollination. We’d also lose some of our main sweetener sources – sugarcane and agave – and honey too, of course.

Also on the farewell list would be tomatoes, avocados, almonds, cashews, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, and sesame seeds. Goodbye to chocolate and coffee too; they also rely on insect pollinators. 

Pam Baxter, Daily Local News, 6/6/19
Pollinator at work.

Read the full article here.

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Upcoming Organic Vegetable Garden Tour in West Chester Borough

West Chester borough is full of beautiful and vivacious gardens you may not even know about! Come along June 29th for a tour of the organic gardens of West Chester, sponsored by the West Chester Green Team and West Chester University’s Office of Sustainability. A food garden from every ward of the borough will be featured, including West Chester University’s vegetable gardens, plus a rain garden installed by the Borough.

A sample of one of the gardens you will get to visit on the tour, growing here (all organically!): Asparagus, lettuce, kale, beans, and much more.

You will have the opportunity to meet greeters with information about each garden, and ask any questions you may have. If you’re looking for inspiration or help with your own gardens, this is the tour to go on!

The event is taking place June 29th, 11am-3pm. The tour route is posted below so that you can walk, bike, or drive to the gardens at your own pace. Or, hop in one of our vans! The event is 100% FREE. Courtney Bodle, an organizer of the event, says “this is a casual event… a day full of fun and light gardening education. A day to meet like-minded people, talk about green ideas, and work towards a sustainable future…. “!

See you there! For more info, email westchestergoesgreen@gmail.com

Monsanto slammed with a $2 billion lawsuit: Another hit in a string of cancer cases

For the third time in a year, Monsanto has been found culpable by a jury for contributing to or causing cancer in long-term users of the product Roundup. Alva and Alberta Pilliod both were diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using the product Roundup at their home over the span of 40 years. After a 5-week trial, the jury awarded the couple $1 billion each for damages, to be paid by Bayer, the owner of Monsanto and producer of Roundup.

Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the world, used widely by gardeners, groundskeepers, and homeowners across America. The key ingredient of Roundup, glyphosphate, is the chemical under question. While Bayer and the EPA continue to insist that glyphosate is not harmful to humans, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found the chemical is “probably” carcinogenic to humans.

Both sides point to respective scientific studies to back their claims. So how did they reach such different conclusions? A possible explanation for this difference in findings is explained by Hilary Brueck in Business Insider. Brueck examines a paper published in Environmental Sciences Europe which found that the EPA relied mainly on industry-funded “unpublished regulatory studies”, while the IARC looked to “mostly peer-reviewed studies”. Monsanto-led studies found that farmers spraying from large spray rigs in fields have not been negatively affected by chemicals in Roundup. However, others insist that the people really in danger are those that are out spraying with a handheld device repeatedly and over a long period of time, like Alva and Alberta. Bayer continues to maintain that anyone who follows instructions on the label will be completely safe.

This is the third time in the past year that Bayer has lost to carcinogenic allegations. In August 2018, Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper, was awarded $78.5 million. In March of this year, Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, who used Roundup on his property for 30 years and also developed cancer.

As this latest cancer case breaks, up to 13,000 more lawsuits accumulate nationwide against Bayer-Monsanto.

Don’t Spray Me! and other local environmental groups continue to warn against the use of toxic pesticide and herbicide spraying. Instead, we promote non-toxic methods such as this safe vinegar mixture shared by DSM’s Jim Hudgings. While not everyone has agreed yet that Roundup and other sprays like it are carcinogenic, it is best to stick with a more natural approach, just to be safe. In fact, a study done in 2016 by an independent group found glyphosate in drinking water and groundwater, that the chemical damaged livers and kidneys in rats, and that pigs exposed to glyphosate exhibited congenital malformations. And although the EPA still won’t support the claim that Roundup is harmful to humans, they have admitted that there are “potential ecological risks for terrestrial and aquatic plants, birds, and mammals.” Never mind that humans are, in fact, terrestrial mammals.

Successful Green Team Strawberry Festival in West Chester

About 130 people joined in the The West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival on Sunday afternoon, May 19, in West Chester’s Everhart Park.

The various activities structured around the principles of the Green Team: environment, sustainability, green living.

Strawberry shortcake with ice cream by the West Chester Co-operative was a highlight.

Co-sponsors were West Chester Green Team and its member groups: Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), Don’t Spray Me!, Green Team Youth Corps, Plastic-Free Please, Ready for 100, plus Sierra Club and West Chester Co-operative. See also the article by reporter Bill Rettew, “Organizations band together in West Chester to protect environment, in the Daily Local News

More info about the Green Team here.

Photos below by Plastic-Free Please co-coordinator Rachel Davis: