Posts tagged “pesticides”

  • The Custom House Discusses “Silent Spring”

    August 13, 2013

    On July 13,  Douglas Storm at The Custom House sat down with Christoph Irmscher and Rachel Sideris, both professors at the Indiana University, to discuss Rachel Carson’s epic book, Silent Spring.Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 11.02.04 AM
    “Carson’s legacy is still embattled,” Irmscher explained, “from pseudo-scientific attacks in the conservative press to entire websites directly blaming her for the death of African children.  One of the special features of the show is that we go back to the book itself, reminding readers of what Carson, one of the greatest American thinkers and writers, actually wrote.”
    The hour-long show, titled “On the Banality of Pest Control,” explores both the lyrical and ethical heart of Carson’s book by asking what the ecological and moral effects of chemical pesticide use are.
    Lisa Sideris, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University and Christoph Irmscher, Provost Professor of English at Indiana University, speak about the ways Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring examines issues of authority and expertise and the drive to control nature through applied science as an abdication of our moral responsibility to life.

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  • Sonia Shah: Low-level pesticide exposure leads to evolutionary die-offs

    Sonia Shah: Low-level pesticide exposure leads to evolutionary die-offs

    January 8, 2010

    From Sonia Shah's article at Yale Environment 360 on low-level pesticide exposure: Neonicotinoids came into wide use in the early 2000s. Unlike older pesticides that evaporate or disperse shortly after application, neonicotinoids are systemic poisons. Applied to the soil or doused on seeds, neonicotinoid insecticides incorporate themselves into the plant’s tissues, turning the plant itself into a tiny poison factory emitting toxin from its roots, leaves, stems, pollen, and nectar. In Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia, beekeepers’ concerns about neonicotinoids’ effect on bee colonies have resulted in a series of bans on the chemicals. In the United States, regulators have approved their use, despite the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard method of protecting bees from insecticides — by requiring farmers to refrain from applying them during blooming times when bees are most exposed — does little to protect bees from systemic pesticides. “The companies believe this stuff is safe,” says U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist Jeff Pettis.

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