According to the Environmental Working Group, research has shown that neonicotinoid pesticides are highly toxic to bees and are at least partially responsible for the pollinators dying in record numbers.
While researching this article about the importance of protecting the bee population and keeping toxic pesticides out of our food supply, I learned a great deal about the way neonicotinoid pesticides are designed to work. If you are into healthy eating and paying attention to what you put into your body, AND/OR concerned about the health and sustainability of our planet, it is absolutely horrifying to think about.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are used to coat the seeds of plants grown for food (mostly corn and soybeans). As the plant grows, every single cell of the plant contains a toxic poison that will kill any insect that eats the plant. That’s right! Plants, grown to be our food, have been poisoned on purpose to kill insects. How can that be anything but dangerous/toxic for humans? Is the EPA trying to protect us, or just make it cheaper for farmers to raise their crops?
Anyway, bees and butterflies are not actually pests that destroy the plants. They are pollinators, and we rely on them to perpetuate our food supply, flowers, trees, etc., etc. This was my original idea for the blog post—We need the bees, so let’s stop using these chemical pesticides that are destroying their colonies and killing them off in droves. But then I got sidetracked by the fact that we are systemically poisoning our own food to protect it from insects. This is the opposite of the idea of organic, sustainable farming. It is the opposite of the design of our natural world. It is just so wrong! This article, about a new study that found widespread contamination of honey around the world, shows just how far things have gone.
Organic farming practices such as crop rotation, retaining natural habitats around fields, and NOT using toxic pesticides, are known to help the bee population to flourish. More organic farming and less conventional farming (read: less use of harmful toxic pesticides; less mono-cropping; less clearing of land for industrial farming) will be better for the bees, better for the food supply, and better for human health and our environment.
Plants are living organisms, just like people and animals! The food we eat is alive. The raw food movement is predicated on the health benefits of eating “live food.” These pesticides are toxins that function by poisoning plants so that eating them will kill insects. How can we produce food that is healthy for humans by using substances that poison the plants we eat in order to kill the insects that eat them, and, as a side effect, kill many other insects that are pollinators that we rely on to grow our food, and flowering plants?
The Environmental Working Group has circulated a petition calling upon the Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect human health and the environment, and whose own research confirms the harm of neonicotinoid pesticides to the bee population, to require that farmers prove that they need these pesticides before they are allowed to use them.
You can also download your own copy of the “Dirty 12” and the “Clean 15” from Environmental Working Group website. These are lists the EWG compiles annually after testing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues. If you can’t always find or can’t always afford organic produce, prioritize the “Dirty 12,” the fruits and vegetables found to contain the most residue of pesticides.
Buying and eating organic foods will help to save the bees and the beautiful butterflies we rely upon for pollination, and it is a great way to safeguard your own health, your family’s health, and the sustainability of our beautiful planet!
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Joanne Malino, a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, co-founded Profeta Farms with her husband, Paul Profeta, and John Place. Joanne helps people to optimize their health and energy by choosing the best, cleanest, most wholesome foods available. She is passionate about providing a wide variety of local, organic, great-tasting foods to the surrounding area, and educating people about the importance of knowing where their food comes from. Read Joanne’s blog posts here »