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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogThere is consistently growing evidence that organic foods are most definitely healthier for humans than crops grown commercially, but the benefits of organic foods actually extend even further than just how they affect our bodies. Organic foods also have a significantly better impact on the environment as well. The term “organic” doesn’t just refer to what is or isn’t put in the food when it is processed, but also how the food is grown in the first place. Here are 3 ways organic crops are better for the environment. The Types of Pesticides Used Are Tightly Controlled One of the biggest problems with commercially grown foods is the types and amounts of pesticides allowed to be used. Some foods even have pesticides genetically embedded in the food itself, which means every time you eat a product made from that original material, you are ingesting pesticide. Even when commercial farmers spray pesticides, however, those chemicals end up in water sources, which contaminates and pollutes the water. Organic farmers are required to use natural pesticides which are better for your body and better for the environment. Creates a Better Food Chain Animals raised on organic grains are not only better for you but better for the environment. Remember that animals create a great deal of waste. When animals are fed an organic diet, that waste can be used to fertilize organic crops, which preserves the purity of the food chain. When animals are fed commercial grains, which contain commercial pesticides and are often genetically modified, then those ingredients end up in the animal waste, which once again ends up in the dirt, soil and water supplies. Animals that are fed organic grains made by companies like Grainpro Australia Pty Ltd are not only better for them, but for the environment as well. Better for Wildlife One thing that is important to remember is that animals share the same food and water sources that we do. While our bodies may be able to handle the trace amounts of pesticides found in commercially grown food, that doesn’t mean that animals can. Keep in mind that wildlife is a vital part of the food chain. From bees that pollinate crops like cucumbers, pumpkins, cherries and apples to microbial organisms that tend soil and create a more hospitable atmosphere for crops to grow, organic farming is friendlier to wildlife, which in turn is more environmentally friendly on the whole. While there are certainly modern farming practices that commercial farmers can employ which can lessen the environmental impact of commercial farming, they are not required to the way organic farmers are. The rules and regulations guiding organic farming are far more stringent, which means—for the moment at least—organic farming is by far the most beneficial to the environment.
People's World posted a article in BiodiversityFor some time, the bee population has been steadily declining worldwide, and this is most directly attributed to the negative impact of pesticides. Now, there's a lot of buzz around a recent study by Dutch researchers, which has found that the toxic chemicals we use are having a ripple effect farther up the food chain, causing insectivorous birds to rapidly decline in number. The study was the collaborative effort of researchers with the Radboud University Institute of Water and Wetland Research, the Dutch Center for Field Ornithology, and Birdlife Netherlands. In a joint statement, the researchers declared, "Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensible for raising offspring. In the Netherlands," for example, "local bird population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid," a type of pesticide. "At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per liter, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 percent on average, annually," they continued. The overall results of the study, they said, shows "that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent pesticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects [of insecticides] on ecosystems." Neonicotinoids are interesting in that their origins lie with two corporations already strongly linked with outright for-profit environmental destruction: Royal Dutch Shell and Bayer. These insecticides, which are chemically similar to nicotine, were first developed and used in the 1980s by the Shell, and in the 1990s by the German chemical and pharmaceutical company. In 2009, on the specific neonicotinoid called imidacloprid that the Dutch researchers referenced, Bayer made a profit of over one billion alone, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. There is, however, a loss occurring, albeit an ecological one, not a financial one. Such was the conclusion of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which conducted another recent report on the matter. They explained, "Neonicotinoids persist for months and in some cases years, and environmental concentrations can build up. This effectively increases their toxicity by increasing the duration of exposure of non-target species. The effects of exposure [in wildlife] range from instant and lethal to chronic." Effects could include "altered feeding behavior and reduced food intake [in birds], reduced foraging in bees, and altered tunneling behavior in earthworms." Dr. David Gibbons, head of the Center for Conservation Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, remarked, "This elegant and important study provides worrying evidence of negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds. Usage of these pesticides has been particularly high in some parts of the Netherlands. Monitoring of pollution in soils and waterways is urgently required, as is further research into the effects of these insecticides on wildlife."