At the grocery store today, the woman in front of me rejected one of two apples she had selected when she discovered it was not organic.
“It's a gift,” she explained to the cashier. “So I wouldn't want to give them something with pesticides on it.”
“Well, they [the Environmental Working Group] do say apples are one of the fruits that has more pesticide residue,” the clerk chirped. “Organic shows you care.”
I bit my tongue to keep from saying, “No, it shows you're a sucker for marketing.”
The EWG regularly publishes its “dirty dozen” produce list as a fundraising ploy, and the media — and ignorant store clerks — dutifully regurgitate it without question. But in reality:
Some pesticides are drastically more toxic than others, but the EWG's scoring system considers all pesticides to be equal, and they don't relate the pesticide amounts to known safety standards. Two food scientists did a reality check on the EWG's numbers from their 2010 list (which uses the same methodology as this year's). Their analysis was published in the Journal of Toxicology.
It turns out the "Dirty" foods are fairly clean, and organic foods aren't free of pesticides anyway. You'll notice that the EWG only mentions the pesticides found on conventional produce: that's because the USDA doesn't test for organic pesticides.
So why aren't the foodies screaming for pesticide testing and disclosure on organics? Is nothing sacred?
And why are some of the most vocal critics of ag pesticides now defending their use against the little fire ant [LFA]? Seems it's OK to use pesticides when their own comfort and economic interests are at risk. But they're not willing to allow farmers the same choices.
An example is the ill-informed, but very vocal, anti-ag activist Karen Chun. She used Facebook to aggressively advocate for pesticide use to control the LFA:
You folks know I oppose pesticides on our food, in our parks and along our roads. But there IS a use for pesticides and Little Fire Ants are DEFINITELY it. We really DO have to choose the lesser evil sometimes. And in this case pesticides are WAY lesser than LFAs!
Just like pesticides are WAY lesser than losing an entire crop to insect damage.
Everything has its upsides and downsides. Because of the corruption of the ChemCOs, there is a knee jerk reaction against any use of pesticides.
In this case, that reaction will lead to you abandoning your home lest your baby be blinded by ant bites — or at the very least your livestock or pets being blinded.
Gee. Still resorting to fear-mongering, I see.
Yes. Pesticides are not good and have negative effects. But a reasonable person weighs those negative effects against not using them and makes a judgement [sic] based on which course of action leads to the least negative effects.
Indeed. Which is why farmers prefer pesticides to crop loss and bankruptcy.
They are not using DDT nor PCBs. And they are applying only what is needed. This is SO different from the wholesale, careless pesticide application (that any homeowner could buy and use) of the 50s and 60s.
Uh, hello! That's what we've been trying to tell you about the sugar cane and seed companies, ya dumb ass.
The Maui News did a good job of covering the conflict between the Maui Invasive Species Council, which is trying to eradicate the destructive insect, and people who are opposed to the use of pesticides. Seems some folks are wedded to the idea of using “a more natural product,” like boric acid, even if, according to MISC, it's “more toxic than other chemicals and can kill people and domestic pets.”
The “natural” bit came up in Chun's Facebook thread, prompting Daren Ash to reply:
And your natural part? What bollocks. How do you think LFA got here? They hitched a ride with humans on unnatural forms of transportation, they didn't swim here on their own. Even if they had swum here on their own (they didn't) and were considered "natural," the devastation they cause to other natural things (native species) is massive, so it's more "natural" to use pesticides to eradicate them and save other natural things. Also remember that things like arsenic, Polio, Ebola, cobra venom, fire, death, pain, and misery are natural too, it doesn't mean they're good.
Which leads us to Civil Beat's promo piece today on Gary Hooser's HAPA Kuleana Academy. The article quoted Tim Vandeveer, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, as saying it's a good thing when people run for office.
Which is true. Except when they are running on a very narrow platform — anti-ag, anti-GMO, anti-TMT — that appeals to only a small segment of the population. Then it's not so good.
But then, that's the sort of social engineering that Civil Beat funder-founder Pierre Omidyar endorses — he gives money to Center for Food Safety, which in turn funds HAPA — so his vanity pub promotes it, too.
Which is why the article inanely asked whether Hawaii's “progessive movement” — since when have intolerance, bullying, fear-mongering and lying been defined as progressive? — has “staying power.”
It seems that question was already answered in the Primary, when voters rejected purt near everybody associated with HAPA and its Kuleana Academy. And that includes its pappy, Hooser, who ranked ninth in a race for seven council seats.
I did have to laugh when Hooser claimed his movement was about “food justice.” So then why are they focused on promoting high-priced organics? Why aren't they out there supporting the food banks and SNAP — programs that actually put food in the mouths of hungry Islanders?
I also giggled at this line about the "progressive" candidates:
They are often critical of business and development interests that pump money into local campaigns.
Except their own campaigns and nonprofit groups, of course. Then it's perfectly OK.
I was also interested to learn that Councilman Mason Chock is one of the trainers for the Kuleana Academy. Just something to keep in mind when you're voting come November.