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The pesticide-free park movement is growing!

I found out about this program when I interned for Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) This program has been very successful and has been endorsed
throughout the Pacific Northwest and throughout the country. It is based on the idea that Everyone has the right to a safe place to play! According to NCAP, pesticides are inherently dangerous compounds.Even with careful application they leave unwanted toxic residues in our food, water and even in our bodies. Where we are exposed to pesticides is not always our choice. Across the Northwest, children, families and pets are exposed to pesticides at their neighborhood parks.  Neighborhood parks serve as gathering places for community celebrations, events, and informal get-togethers among friends.  Parks are reflections of a community, places to celebrate diversity, and places for families and kids to play.

Programs like this are an excellent tool for Grassroots eco-friendly and sustainable efforts.

NCAP is building tools for success

As more Northwest community members demand pesticide-free public spaces, parks departments are responding. Already, 19 cities have adopted a Pesticide-free Parks Program, creating public spaces where people can play without being exposed to pesticides.  And the pesticide-free parks movement is growing!

NCAP has been hard at work to ensure that neighborhood parks are free of pesticides for communities to enjoy. We have created the necessary resources and tools to empower community members to reduce pesticide use in their neighborhood, starting with their park.

We also know that these programs won’t be successful unless the parks managers have the right tools.  NCAP provided new resources to parks managers on effective pesticide-free techniques as well as created an online network for parks managers and professional landscapers to share and learn even more.

Arbor Lodge Park SignGet your City on the Map!

NCAP needs your help in continuing to grow this important program and your community is the first place to start!  We have all the resources and tools you need to establish a strong pesticide-free park program in your community, as well as resources and tools for the city park professionals.

Ten Steps to establish Pesticide free-parks:

1. CONNECT WITH OTHERS WHO SHARE YOUR INTEREST IN PESTICIDE-FREE PARKS

2. SET GOALS AND CLARIFY WHAT THE GROUP WANTS

3. IDENTIFY AND MEET WITH PARKS STAFF TO MEASURE SUPPORT FOR YOUR GOALS

4. GATHER MORE SUPPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY TO GAIN VISIBILITY AND ADD TO YOUR NUMBERS

5. LAUNCH A CAMPAIGN TO INFLUENCE THE DECISIONMAKERS WHO CAN ESTABLISH THE DESIRED PROGRAM

6. ONCE THE PROGRAM CONCEPT IS APPROVED, WORK WITH PARKS STAFF TO DESIGN A PROGRAM THAT HAS COMMUNITYAND AGENCY SUPPORT

7. PUT THE PROGRAM IN WRITING

8. TRAIN AND SUPPORT YOUR PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS

9. PLAN A COMMUNITY EVENT WITH PARKS STAFF TO KICK OFF THE PROGRAM AND CELEBRATE!

10. MOVING FORWARD WITH YOUR PROGRAM

 

For more information : http://www.pesticide.org

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I have been thinking quite a bit about the in class discussions we’ve had about public health and the need for citizens to be well informed about the potential toxins that they might be exposed to  in their daily life. While most would agree that there  certainly needs to be more federal monitoring and oversight and regulation (EPA)  over issues ranging from pesticide usage and drift, the Clean Water Act,  toxic chemical residue and NIMBY statues in relation to urban growing boundaries and zone  planning–  in my humble opinion it is ultimately  up to the citizens themselves to buy into the cause in order to effectively monitor and provide oversight.  Community input participation and collaboration is a part of  the National Environmental Policy Act and many other federal and state regulations on toxic assessments and monitoring for any proposed actions, mitigation, or alternatives that might contribute to toxin exposure in the environment.
I think that a novel ways of developing public buy-in to more eco-friendly non-toxic sustainable alternatives and practices and accountability are all around us . One idea is to appeal to peoples inherent tenancies of consumerism and purchase power for home & garden products (i.e., lawn fertilizers, insecticides, etc) to choose more environmentally sound organic and eco-friendly products that are endorsed by media advertisers, organizations, and companies which have good visibility and credibility with the consumer public. An example of this would be to utilize a dynamic sports marketing channel such as Major League Baseball and its commercial affiliates the Home Depot and Scotts Ortho Home and Lawn/ Garden Co.

                                                 

These types of advertising campaigns could both educate citizens/homeowners about safer more responsible lawn care techniques  for home and garden while serving as a powerful mechanism change buying habits  from traditional toxic insecticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals homeowners use to safer more sustainable products alternatives.  Obviously the major preventitive or hindering factor of such a social consumerist paradigm shift would be an analysis of the cost  benefit ratio from the business minds. These campaigns  could be leveraged , however, with the production and marketing companies  by utilizing the power and influence of social media, the public, and most importantly organizations like Major League Baseball and the NFL in conjunction with retailers like Lowe’s,  Home Depot and Target who have the financial wherewithal $$ to  orchestrate such eco-friendly campaigns.

After watching the film [SAFE] in class I began thinking about how incredibly horrible it must be to be a person with environmental illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) (or anyone for that matter) to live in Los Angeles!

In terms of overall environmental quality and daily life interaction/exposure of chemicals and toxins, Los Angeles County ranks as one of the worst in the world. Several Environmental scorecard monitoring


agencies have L.A. County ranked higher than the 90th percentile in all : Total environmental releases, Cancer risk score (air and water releases), Noncancer risk score (air and water releases),Air releases of recognized carcinogens:Air releases of recognized developmental toxicants:Air releases of recognized reproductive toxicants. From 2006- 2008, Los Angeles County was deemed by the American Lung Association as in the top 2 of the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution.

Dr. Lisa Wade, a prominent sociologist from Occidental College in Orange County along with other  Environmental sociologists in the L.A. County Area have noted that environmental toxicity is most concentrated in communities that include a disproportionate proportion of poor, working class, and non-white people.  Dr. Wade compares the locations of toxic release facilities (green) with the percentage of people of color in neighborhoods in and near Los Angeles (yellow = 0-40 percent people of color; red = 80-100 percent of color).  The apparent overlap is striking.

In consideration of all the toxic chemical exposure that one can interact with during their daily life in Los Angeles it is truly hard to believe that anyone would want to live there.  Maybe the city of Los Angeles will one day awake to the fact that they issues of major toxic proportions  aside from the mental state of Kobe Bryant.

Sources:

wikipedia

http://www.oxy.edu

I recently watched this video on ESPN’s E60 report with Jeremy Schapp. This is a very interesting and well-articulated documentary on the continuous aftermath nearly  27 years after the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India became the site of one of the world’s most virulent and devastating industrial chemical spills .

Here is the E60 special:

What is really sad is that those held responsible including seven ex-employees, the former UCIL chairman, in June 2010 were convicted in Bhopal of “causing death by negligence” and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 each, which was the maximum punishment allowed by law. An eighth former employee was also convicted, but died before judgment was passed. Seems like a very unjust settlement for an broad-spectrum severe toxicological impact which killed an estimated 8,000 with 558,125 injuries related to long-term chemical reactions.

Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) was since bought out by DOW Chemical Company in 2001.

Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) Pesticide Plant Today:

Chemical Structure of Methyl isocyanate (MIC):

While in the process of  reading the  articles by Heise on the World Risk Society I couldn’t help but reflect on the writings from Ulrich  Beck on Theories of Risk Perception/ Cosmopolitan manifesto how these ideas  go hand-in-hand.  All three articles  paint the picture of  a difficult and challenging new world of risk perception in today’s ever-changing ever fear consumed society. They also discuss how demographics,  cognitive psychology, and social  mediums can all change, warp, and even distort perceptions of risk assessment and accurate interpretations.

As Beck points out, the irony of risk in society is that it is ambivalent. The complexities of risk assessment (such as the interdisciplinary matrix or other tools of risk assessment) have made subjective risk assessment less tangible and more difficult to define. In a lot of ways  the media has been used effectively by world governments, corporations, and institutions to perpetuate the fear in society while publicly privatizing risk assessment analysis as big business.  The economics of ‘dread’ as Beck puts it or fear being implanted into the heart of society can be very profitable.  Public perception can be easily distorted.

Michael Crichton’s book “State of Fear” is  an interesting novel on how the global warming scam allows environmentalists slash “Eco-terrorists” to cash in on ransom.  This is science fiction, but hey it could happen.

Heise talks about  ‘hyper-reality’ and ‘deconstructionism’ which are heavily utilized  by Hollywood and are mostly fictional. These thoughts  have  inundated most of our minds with the idea that World we live in is undoubtedly at a major risk for catastrophic pandemics,  severe  ecological disasters and toxic environmental threats  are predominately caused by  fear of  pandemic plagues,  global climate disasters, or even asteroids. I remember seeing this silly movie:

And this one…

The reality is that most people have developed radically different notions of perceived risks and their assessments of these risks have changed dramatically (especially since 9/11).  In some ways the lines of subjective risk assessment and rational cognitive perception have been “muddied.”  People, in today society are much more susceptible to  be targeted for manipulation and their perceptions can be altered by social mediums and other tools with fear as the mechanism . Just as cigarette marketeers preach “get em when they’re young” this is easiest to accomplish when people are young.  An example is how Heise described the HazMaPo Toys , or HazardMaterials police toys which kids play with and become less fearful of Hazmat teams and inclined to react differently in the event of a real disaster.