Revelstoke ponders the future: just how green will it be? Part 2 PESTICIDE BAN

Revelstoke ponders the future: just how green will it be? Part 2
Posted by editor on June 21, 2010 · 14 Comments

By David F. Rooney

There are 168 municipalities in Canada, including 31 here in British Columbia, that have passed bylaws banning the use of cosmetic pesticides. Will Revelstoke join their ranks?

So far, the City has since May 2009 voluntarily stopped using granular and liquid cosmetic pesticides on all public lands (except the golf course) while Public Works Department staff investigate the possibility of such a ban. They are expected to report back to Council in August.

The community meanwhile has been quietly going green. Drive around town and you’ll see “Pesticide Free” lawn signs popping up here and there. Drop by Home Hardware and ask for a week killer and staff will first tell you all about the green products that do not rely on synthetic poisons to kill noxious plants. The stuff that contains 2, 4-d and other toxins are the last things they’ll recommend. They will sell it if you insist, but they admittedly prefer to sell the green stuff. As for Rona, they don’t carry any artificial pesticides.

“If you want to kill weeds you can do it without these (synthetic chemical pesticides),” said Maryann Krestinsky, one of Home Hardware’s staff trained to handle pesticides. In fact, you can kill most of the weeds in your lawn with ordinary vinegar.

Sounds easy enough. So why is this not a simple thing to do?

Well, as is to be expected, the landscaping industry and the manufacturers of synthetic chemical pesticides want to water down if not outright prevent the enactment of strong anti-pesticide bylaws.

At least one of them have made direct contact with City Councillors, the news media and environmental organizations and at least one lobbyist has gone so far as to threaten legal action against Revelstoke groups opposed to pesticides. (You can read that for yourself here.)

Fortunately, even Mayor David Raven, who admits to being “skeptical about the science” that shows a link between cosmetic pesticides and cancer, says it’s ultimately “up to the community.”

That depends entirely on local citizens’ willingness to lobby for a ban on the use of chemical poisons on public and private lands.

So where do Revelstokians stand?

As far as North Columbia Environmental Society President Sarah Newton is concerned, “we really don’t need more poison in the environment.”

She points to Revelstoke’s location hard by the Columbia River and wonders: “What happens to all the 2,4-d — all the toxins that leach into the river? They don’t just go away. What are they doing to our fish populations?”

Dr. Warren Bell, past president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, wonders if people who say they have “doubts about the science” that links pesticides to cancer also have doubts about the link between tobacco and cancer.

“Asking the pesticide industry for its views on the research is like asking Big Tobacco for its views on smoking and cancer,” he said in an interview. “What do you think they are going to say?”

The website maintained by the Integrated Environmental Plant Management Association of Western Canada, which bills itself as “mainly educational,” contains the agenda for its annual conference. One of the speakers is a chap called Jeffrey Lowes who is described as director for government and industrial relations for a Kingston, Ont., based outfit called M-Rep. According to the agenda Lowes speech to the conference focused on municipal bylaws:

“Although we do not question the ability of a municipality to create a bylaw, there is still an onus of fiduciary responsibility on behalf of a municipality to verify information presented when is the basis of that bylaw. The question is: should the debate take place in a courtroom and be subject to rules of evidence? In the courtroom, facts always outweigh hearsay when the debate is subjected to the rules of evidence. To date, municipal and provincial pesticide bans have ignored the scientific facts in favour of the pseudo-science and misrepresentations of the activists.”

Well, that was a mouthful, wasn’t it?

What you may not know is that Jeffrey Lowes is a former insurance agent whose M-Rep Communications is — essentially — a lobby group. Its so-called Mission Statement reads: “Our mission is to ensure that proper science and not the court of public opinion governs good environmental stewardship and policy development that may affect many types of industry. MREP Communications supports the development of sound environmental policy and assists with ensuring that the majority has a clear, unified voice.”

Lowes sounds serious and he actually tried to stop the province of Ontario from banning cosmetic pesticides. His suit was slapped down by an Ontario court, which obviously must have been biased against the lawn-care industry’s true scientific evidence in favour of the environmentalists’ biased pseudo science and bogus medical research. You can read more about Ontario’s ban — doubtless based on the same bad science Lowe and his ilk despise — here.

14 Responses to “Revelstoke ponders the future: just how green will it be? Part 2”

Sarah Newton says:
June 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm
Some other questions to ask yourself when considering cosmetic pesticides:

-Landscaping businesses are not hurt by cosmetic (ecstatic) pesticide bans, they thrive! Such bans mean more work for landscaping companies, not less. Pesticides made landscaping easy, without them, you need PEOPLE to do more work like top dressing and aerating the soil to keep it weed free.

-We are not talking about a decision to stop chlorinating the water! We are talking about chemicals on our community fields so that weeds don’t grow. The health of our citizens, pets, and the ecosystem must trump the vision of a perfect green field.

-Who benefits from spraying cosmetic pesticides? The companies that make them.

-What do environmental groups, the Canadian Cancer Society, and The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment have to GAIN from informing the public about cosmetic pesticides? Will we win a car, make more money, gain fame?

Virginia Thompson says:
June 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm
The Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment have done their homework and there is sufficient evidence to warrant stopping the use of cosmetic pesticides on our lawns and on public fields. Why would we want to risk putting our children in danger of developing cancer or our pets in danger of dying? There is a shocking amount of evidence to support these concerns and so it is time to do the right thing and move to a greener, safer environment for our community.

We should not listen to industry sponsored people who have an economic axe to grind.

Lisa Moore says:
June 22, 2010 at 7:05 am
Of all the things to waste resources on – energy to make the pesticides, the pesticides themselves, the damaged environment – cosmetic use is surely at the bottome of the list. There may be an argument for careful use in food production etc, but it baffles my mind that there is even a discussion about using them for cosmetic purposes! Bees LIKE dandelions!

Sandra Davis says:
June 22, 2010 at 8:00 am
Why do we human beings think that we can manage nature better than nature itself? If we leave nature to balance itself, there is no need for herbicides and pesticides. I choose to allow my own gardens to be pesticide and herbicide free, and I defy anyone to tell me that what I am doing doesn’t work. I feel good about allowing my children to wander in the garden, and eat things straight from the plants, as we could as children. Our kids deserve real, organic and well grown foods. There is enough cosmetics in our society that we really don’t need them in the garden. Those want to use these chemicals ultimately are supporting them because there is some financial gain for them. In the words of Joni Mitchell… give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees.

Robin Brooks-Hill says:
June 22, 2010 at 8:44 am
I believe that the science is sound and that the onus should be on the chemical manufacturers to PROVE that their products are safe and evironmentally non toxic before we consider allowing their use.
We should ban the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides until the industry provides this proof.

Jackie Morris says:
June 22, 2010 at 10:35 am
I think a perfectly weed-free lawn looks like something from the 1960’s, back when people didn’t know better. These days most of us know to look beyond ourselves and consider what wider effects our actions have.

Just because herbicides are legal doesn’t mean they are harmless. Cigarettes are legal, too, and we know they are not harmless.

I would not say never to use weed killers. There are situations where they should be allowed, by permit. But “cosmetic use” should be banned in Revelstoke.

Victoria Long says:
June 22, 2010 at 10:50 am
I support the ban on pesticides. Prefer herbicides not be used either.

The problems I see with requiring companies out to make money by manufacturing compounds to kill either insects, microbes or plants is that the testing of long-term effects on mammals, birds or creatures that live in water takes so much time that money-making is impractical. People need to realize that chemical companies will not conduct those tests and government budgets do not permit funding such lengthy research.

Also, more importantly, testing one compound’s effects will not give us any information on how this chemical interacts in a living body with other chemicals introduced by other human activities. Let us err on the side of caution and leave the chemical solutions for genuine emergencies only.

Kayle Robson says:
June 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm
I also support a ban on pesticides.
What do pesticides do other than make our lawn weed free and give childern a higher risk of brain development issues? I am sorry pesticide companies but the future of tomorrow is more important to me than a buck today.

Jody Simm says:
June 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm
I will never ever ever vote for any politician who does not vote for a ban on cosmetic chemicals. We live in a major drainage for heaven’s sake. And anyway, during a drought, it’s the lawns with the native plants that remain green without watering. Better yet, till up your lawn and plant food crops. You won’t believe how much better (organically) home grown food tastes.

Sandra Flood says:
June 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm
I am against spraying of pesticides or herbicides on public or private property, they are a proven hazard to our health and the health of our children let alone all the other denizens of our gardens, playing fields and parks. Pesticides and herbicides are largely responsible for the catastrophic decline in honeybees as commercial polinators and the drop in butterfly and insect-eating bird populations. I can’t believe that a City Council member would suggest that cosmetic poisons should be used again in this city, why would they suggest such a thing?

Rob Lamont says:
June 23, 2010 at 7:56 am
I do not want my granddaughter’s little bare feet touching any public or private property that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides — period! We have enough things to worry about in this environment that we can not change or control, this we can. Speak up good citizens let your politicians know how you feel.

K. Jean Cottam, PhD says:
June 23, 2010 at 9:18 am
Re: Revelstoke ponders the future: just how green will it be? Part 2, Posted by editor on June 21, 2010, By David F. Rooney, on The Revelstoke Current.

In fact, the group that wants to overturn the Ontario ban has very little credibility even within the lawn industry in Ontario. Their unacceptable behaviour and name calling doesn’t help their cause either.

I am a retired middle-level federal public servant (intelligence analyst), whom they call “the wicked witch of junk science”. Distinguished scientists and Ontario Minister of Environment are referred to as “environmental basterds” by these people. Every so-called newsletter produced by this group is accompanied by a sexist illustration of a girl, sometimes half-naked. This sort of behaviour cannot be taken seriously!

I am supposedly a half-witted octogenerian manipulated by others like a puppet on a string, i.e. incapable of any independent writing, which is completely untrue. I write what I feel like writing and when I feel like writing, and this writing is based on credible and carefully researched data.

Dinah Collette says:
June 23, 2010 at 3:18 pm
A multitude of happy bumblebees, butterflies, birds and earthworms enjoy my pesticide/herbicide free back yard.
Organic gardening is the way to go. My son dug up the rest of my back lawn for more garden space. Next year, the front lawn can go too. Grass may be green, but it doesn’t make a very good salad. And what a waste of time; mowing and watering, etc.

Rachel Kelly says:
June 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm
I was so excited to hear that Revelstoke wasn’t using pesticides. I am very disappointed to hear now that this subject is possibly going to be revisited.

uncleadoolph says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

July 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Please understand what is being said here.
Please read and educate yourselves about how pesticides are registered and deemed safe.

Grocery Store Vinegar is not safer and is not effective in combatting weeds. You don’t put vinegar on your lawn. Did you put Round up on your lawn??? Do you know what a selective herbicide is? But you know it causes cancer right.

There are no Alternatives that actually work and are effective. If you live on something bigger than a postage stamp size lot you would know this already.

Sarah Newton is making claims that she may be held accountable for in the very near future.

Ms J Cottam continues to ignore the truths even with responses from Health Canada themselves.

Goto for Pesticide Truths about Ms Cottam and The Canadian Cancer Society Misconceptions.

Your kids are as safe as you as parents have turned out over the past 60 years with the use of 2-4,d.
This includes eating and rolling around in the product.

The science is not behind the cherry picked version of the activists precautionary princple.

These false claims will be proven in court.


Thanks for your comments UNCLEADOLPH, however…

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David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Current

Revelstoke Current