by Kelvin Hodges
At Christmas, my nephew, a highly paid solar engineer, asked me why I paid extra for organic bananas. The skin of the banana should be enough to protect the flesh from pesticides. I said, “I buy organic bananas to protect the farmer and his family.” Never before has this truth been more evident.
Recent events in the US have exposed glyphosate as a danger to farming families. Three trials have successfully linked RoundUp and cancer; resulting in massive fines levelled against its maker. (Court cases have been launched here in Canada. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or a farming wife with aggressive breast cancer, you may wish to look into these actions further).
The company responsible for the initial safety research has now had three of its executives convicted of fraud for doctoring research on this product. Three! Fraud! Put in jail!
The most respected cancer research organization in the world, the International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC], classified glyphosate as “a probable carcinogen” in 2015. Almost five years ago.
So, when I say I eat organic: yes. For me, its about saving our natural heritage. Protecting the environment. Second, its about protecting our farming families. Third, organic tastes better. Finally, fourth, yes, its about protecting my family’s health.
Remember, as a mother in Sweden proved, you can dramatically reduce the content of pesticides and herbicides in your family’s bloodstream by eating organic. Still, for me, one of the main reasons to eat organic remains: it helps protect farming families. Organic produce is also easy to find in the summer at your local farmer’s market. Many small farming families will benefit if you go support them. Win-win. Imagine that.
Of course glyphosate is not the only problem. We also have neonics: just a horrible poison for bees and many other insects, now also shown to change the behaviour of birds. As environmental problems go up the food chain and concentrate there, and we’re at the top of the food chain, one wonders about how big this problem gets. Neonics not only coat the seed used, but the dust from the coatings has been shown to be a real cause of concern.
Studies done in Quebec showed only 3.7% of crops planted benefited with higher yields with the inclusion of this highly toxic and untested chemical. All the better reason to ban it outright.
Once again, I call for the scientists to be listened to. We have excellent health and agriculture scientists in Canada. One can only wonder that they are not being listened to. Personally, I would like to see an investigation into why Health Canada allows glyphosate to continue as “safe.” It is not. It has been proven to be a health risk. How did it pass the 15 year review? How did Neonics get permission for sale? 10 years on and still no research submitted? A terrible poison has been unleashed for no good reason. It boggles.
This is why I talk about a “regenerative society.” We are past the point where sustainable is sufficient. We really need to start looking at how we rebuild our natural world. What processes can we use to create a healthy, biologically rich place for us and our children to grow up in. Luckily, everywhere you turn now, someone is doing something. Support them!
Not to mention: it will be fun. Projects, research, building. Whoo hoo! I have a new saying. My generation is the regeneration.
Kelvin Hodges is a regenerator of bird and bee habitat, EV driver, solar builder, science advocate and grandson of Mennonite farmers Pete and Tina.