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The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture by Jules Pretty

Posted By: Alexpal
The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture   by Jules Pretty
The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture by Jules Pretty
Publisher: Earthscan (February 2005) | ISBN: 1844071413 | PDF | 2,2 Mb | 240 pages

Jules Pretty is Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex, and has served on government advisory committees for DEFRA, DFID, the Cabinet Office and DTI.

Over the past 40 years, world population, the use of modernized farming methods, and farming production have gone up. Modernized farming uses hazardous pesticides. But does it have to? Where are pesticides used? Are there alternatives? And what can be done to replace pesticides with alternative controls?

More than 800 different pesticides are regularly used throughout the world. They're used to protect crop yields from diseases and pests. Just under 4/5 of all pesticides are used outside the United States. The developing countries are the part of the world where companies plan to hugely increase pesticide sales and use.

But pesticides are damaging to the environment. They're not just hazardous to people who make and use them. Scientists keep on studying the effects of pesticides on animals, birds, bugs, other green things, people, places and water. But the chain of cause and effect isn't always easy to prove, show and tell. That's particularly the case when the audience is people making money from pesticide sales and use!

Editor Jules Pretty says alternatives can replace pesticides. Alternatives can be based on bacteria, certain nematodes, fungi or viruses. They can include parasitoids and predators. When tested with 80 crop combinations, alternatives came up with workable results. Crop yields went up acceptably, with cut-back pesticide use and with alternatives.

Pretty says that what's needed are political will, consumer awareness, and market response. But what can change national policies, international conventions, and programs? Pretty says to start on the level of appropriate taxing, education and environmental action. Specifically, for example, taking away subsidies and putting in effect high taxes would make pesticides less affordable. The list of registered pesticides could be reviewed. The most toxic pesticides could be taken off. Less hazardous alternatives could be added. Also, cooperative extension schools could be set up in the field. Agricultural colleges could have their courseload updated to cover alternatives as well as they're already covering pesticides! All three steps would make alternatives better known. Maximum residue limits could be set, checked and enforced. That would cut down the use of pesticides and increase the use of alternatives.


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