Live blog: Scientists reluctant to speak up on neonics
By Robert Arnason
Canadian scientists who believe insecticidal seed treatments are safe aren’t contributing to the raging controversy over neonicotinoids because if they stick their neck out, fellow academics and environmental groups will chop off their head.
Last week Ontario’s environment minister and the province’s commissioner of the environment both made the same statement regarding neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. Glen Murray and Gord Miller said neonics are a greater threat to Canada’s ecosystem than DDT.
Their quotes prompted a slew of instantaneous media reports with predictable comments from environmental groups, agreeing that neonics are killing bees, poisoning wetlands and killing millions of birds across the country.
Letters to the Editor (The Guardian) Published on September 06, 2014Editor:
There really is no denying it. Pesticides have been the hot button issue this year. In line at the grocery store, at the coffee shops, even at barbecues, everyone seems to be talking about pesticide bans. People I’ve never heard talking about these issues now are. People I never thought would be in favor of a ban now are. What an amazing shift in public perception in just one year.
One concern that I have heard raised on the topic of pesticide bans is the economy. What will happen to the economy if we do end up banning pesticides? Let’s look at this for a moment. So far, we haven’t banned pesticides and it’s Islander’s tax dollars that are propping up the potato industry, not the potato industry propping up Islanders. McCain’s is closing, Cavendish is threatening to leave and a lot of Islanders are now without jobs or are wondering how secure their jobs are.Even with the pesticides, we don’t have security, that’s for sure.However, another point that is worth mentioning is that potato farming isn’t our only industry. What about tourism and fishing? These industries are big here, and unfortunately are both being severely damaged in order to maintain this one failing industry. What will we do if we allow the potato industry to destroy our image as a desirable tourist destination, and poison the waterways, and then the potato industry collapses anyway? It seems like we may collectively have been putting all our eggs in the wrong basket.Amanda Simmons,Summersidehttp://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2014-09-06/article-3859649/Potato-farming-not-only-industry/1