In the printed edition of “Fight Against Moth Spray Gains Boots on the Ground” by Judith Scherr on April 8, the event our collective organized for Thursday, April 10, from 7-9 p.m. at the Berkeley Ecology Center was mistakenly credited to Pesticide Action Network (PAN). We are not affiliated with them, nor do we wish to be confused with them, because our organizations have very different approaches to anti-pesticide action. We advocate no compromise about chemical substances that harm human and environmental health, while they refuse to take a complete no toxics stand.
Their position on the light brown apple moth(LBAM) is that they are opposed to aerial spraying, but are encouraging the use of other toxic pesticides, such as synthetic “pheromone” twist ties and ground applications of bacillus thuringiensis, the latter of which has made hundreds of people in New Zealand ill.
Their usual work is largely focused on crafting and lobbying for legislation such as the Healthy Schools Act, which specifically leaves the door wide open for the continued pesticide use which we see with most school districts in the state. They say kids are safer. We say kids are further endangered because their parents have been led to believe that significant change has occurred, when in most cases it has not, and therefore they are pacified into taking neither precautions, nor actions to make real change.
While well-established nonprofits like PAN get donations from people assuming their money contributes to anti-pesticide action, in fact, PAN, like most funded pesticide-related nonprofits, specifically sticks to a “reduce use” line, which has absolutely no clear legal consequence, and is probably why they are welcomed by many politicians. The same is true for the Sierra Club and National Resource Defense Council, both of which oppose only the aerial component of the LBAM pesticide program, but even that they are ready to support under certain conditions.
In fact, after the passage of the Healthy Schools Act, at a meeting at the Alameda County Agricultural offices in Hayward, one of our members witnessed the facilitating Ag. representative chuckling that this bill had next to no demands and that no one was being held responsible at all. “Certainly not us,” he laughed. “No one seems to be responsible.” Not one of the pesticide applicators or school representatives present at the meeting expressed any interest in getting off their toxic treadmills, and a representative of one of the local schools admonished others there to avoid allowing parents onto any safety committees, referring to concerned parents as a hassle. All they wanted to know was how to continue using pesticides as usual without getting sued.
Is this the sort of legislation you want passed in response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Light brown apple moth pesticide program?
In order to distinguish between Pesticide Action Network and us, East Bay Pesticide Alert, known as Don’t Spray California on statewide issues, please do some research on our website at EastBayPesticideAlert.org, where you’ll find information about rampant pesticide use throughout the Bay Area where you least expect it, truly non-toxic alternatives, and how to protect yourself and your community.
Maxina Ventura writes on behalf of East Bay Pesticide Alert / Don’t Spray California.