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Neonicotinoids: A Must Read
May 26, 2015
How nice it is to be back writing once again.
Prayerfully, Yolanda will come home sometime next weekend.
She continues to grow stronger.
Mom and dad get a breather so to speak, as we attempt to get backlogged tasks done, and tackle the present ones.
Once again, I must say how you are the best bunch of readers.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers (they have been heard).
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding as well.
Down to business at hand.
I was planning on a series of letters on pesticides that followed the last letter I sent out on pollinators.
I am going to attempt a truncated version of three weeks wrapped into this one letter.
Yes, a bit long, and not as in depth, but hopefully you will get the idea and be encouraged to do more research and share with the uninformed.
This is an urgent read.
Take your time and read slowly.
Neonicotinoids: Pronounced, neo- + nicotin(e) + -oid. A class of neuro active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine.
In the 1980s Shell and in the 1990s Bayer started work on their development.
(Yes the same companies that gas up your cars, and manufacture Aspirin.)
(Ground Bee on Flower)
It's the new DDT:
That's what some scientists and researchers are saying.
Some even say it is worse than DDT.
A class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping our world (nature) apart.
It is only now, when neonicotinoids are already the world's most widely deployed insecticides, that we are beginning to understand how extensive their impacts are.
Just as the manufacturers did for DDT, the corporations which make these toxins claimed that they were harmless to species other than the pests they targeted.
They have threatened people who have raised concerns, published misleading claims and done all they can to bamboozle the public.
And, as if to ensure that the story sticks to the old script, some governments have collaborated in this effort.
Among the most culpable seem to be America and Great Britain.
We still know almost nothing about how most lifeforms are affected.
As the evidence has begun to accumulate, scientists have started discovering impacts across a vast range of wildlife.
Neonicotinoids are already known as a major cause of the decline of bees and other pollinators.
These pesticides can be applied to the seeds of crops, and they remain in the plant as it grows, killing the insects which eat it.
The quantities required to destroy insect life are astonishingly small.
By volume these poisons are 10,000 times as powerful as DDT.
Read that again my friends, and read on.........
When honeybees are exposed to just 5 nanogrammes of neonicotinoids, half of them will die.
As bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, beetles and other pollinators feed from the flowers of treated crops, they are able to absorb enough of the pesticide to compromise their survival.
But only a tiny proportion of the neonicotinoids that farmers use enter the pollen or nectar of the flower (still enough to kill).
Studies conducted so far suggest that only between 1.6% and 20% of the pesticide used for dressing seeds is actually absorbed by the crop (a far lower rate even than when toxins are sprayed onto leaves).
Some of the residue blows off as dust, which is likely to wreak havoc among the populations of many species of insects in surrounding habitats.
It is estimated that more than 90%" of the pesticide applied to the seeds enters the soil.
Neonicotinoids are highly persistent chemicals, lasting (according to the few studies published so far) for up to 19 years in the soil.
Because they are persistent, they are likely to accumulate.
With every year of application the soil will become more toxic.
What these pesticides do once they are in the soil, no one truly knows, as sufficient research has not been conducted.
But, deadly to all insects and possibly other species at tiny concentrations, they are likely to wipe out a high proportion of the soil life forms.
Does this include earthworms?
Or the birds and mammals that eat worms?
Or for that matter, the birds and mammals that eat insects or treated seeds?
There isn't enough information to say.
Our governments have approved their use without the faintest idea of what the consequences are likely to be.
We don't have the slightest clue of what may happen when all of these toxins eventually come together.
Or the so called inert ingredients (chemicals) used, that very well could be more toxic to people and nature than the poisons used.
Listening to the legislators, you could be forgiven for believing that the only species which might be affected is honeybees.
The only way in which they can be killed is through the flowers of plants whose seeds were dressed.
But neonicotinoids are also sprayed onto the leaves of a wide variety of crop plants.
They are also spread over pastures and parks in granules, in order to kill insects that live in the soil and eat the roots of the grass.
(Remember, you and I ingest this stuff too, unless you are 100% organic.)
These applications, and many others, remain legal over much of this planet, even though we don't know how severe the wider impacts are.
We do, however, know enough to conclude that they are likely to be bad.
Of course, not all the neonicotinoids entering the soil stay there indefinitely.
You'll be relieved to hear that some of them are washed out, whereupon 98you had to know), they end up in groundwater or in the rivers.
What happens there?
Neonicotinoids are not even listed among the substances that must be monitored under the water framework directive.
Again, we have no clear picture of what their concentrations are in the water that we and many other species use (including people).
But a study conducted in the Netherlands shows that some of the water leaving horticultural areas is so heavily contaminated with these pesticides that it could be used to treat lice.
The same study shows that even at much lower concentrations, neonicotinoids entering river systems wipe out half the invertebrate species you would expect to find in the water.
That's another way of erasing much of the foodchain.
(How many of you have seen the documentaries over the years, that show lifeless waterways in California where so much of these chemicals are used life can't exist?)
Without insects and invertebrates to feed on, the fish, birds and amphibians that use the river are likely to fade away and die.
It is hard to emphasise sufficiently the importance of this moment or the dangers it contains.
The total failure of world governments primary source of scientific advice, right at the beginning of his tenure.
So here we have a loaded machine gun, assuring us that Neonicotinoids and chemical companies are safe.
Looking out for you and me.
Not lining pockets.
The people who should be defending the natural world (our leaders), have conspired with the manufacturers of wide-spectrum biocides to permit levels of destruction which we can only guess.
In other words, the reality is a world apart from the impression created by the manufacturers, which keep describing the dressing of seeds with pesticides as "precise" and "targeted".
Those that don't learn from history are destined to repeat it.
And we are seeing it once again.
Well,, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
By setting your own standards you develop these expectations of yourself, and you start to say, "I do things because that's me." They can be as basic as "I don't lie, cheat, or steal", but it can also be "How good is the work that I do?"
General Stanley McChrystal
How easy is it?
What kind of a copout?
We we say this.......
"It's who I am."
"That's how i do things."
Instead of willing to make an effort to change.
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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