Pollution and toxic contamination know no boundaries, nor do the birds we care about at ABC. That’s why we’re so concerned about the bill introduced in the House of Representatives to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency and leave protection of “environmental assets” to the states.
In the words of Cynthia Palmer, our Director for Pesticides Science and Regulation, “We need national standards to keep the air and water safe for all of us. The states can play an important role in fine-tuning their environmental protections to address local needs. But we cannot expect each state to carry out the in-depth assessments needed on thousands of toxic chemicals, many of which are lethal to birds as well as to people. The proposal to axe the EPA is part of the unprecedented sellout of basic environmental protections to special interests.”
Please call your reps and ask that they not support H.R. 861 or any bill that undermines #EPA’s ability to protect the environment!
Since the ban on the powerful, but dangerous pesticide DDT in 1972, chemists have been searching for alternatives. With each new wave of inventions, they’ve encountered the same obstacle - rapid species evolution. As pesticides destroy pest populations, they leave behind only the most resistant individuals. Those remaining bugs then pass on their pesticide-resisting genes to the next generation. That’s lead to the rise of super bugs, such as the Colorado potato beetle, which is resistant to over 50 different insecticides.
A draft report released by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month found that three of the most common pesticides in the United States have the ability to harm nearly every endangered species. Pesticides, which are widely used to protect crops from bug populations but invariably end up in the food chain, are terrible for wildlife. Although they aren’t linked to death directly, pesticides end up damaging animal populations in these subtle ways.
So, it turns out that people need food to live. It’s a bummer, but until anarchotranshumanism is more practical and we can all become self-contained biorecyclers living off sunlight, it’s something to deal with. Agricultural communes have been a thing for some time now, but they tend to have a very back to nature, everything organic approach that honestly doesn’t mesh well with anarchomechanism.
In anarchomechanism we like GMOs. Organic, well, it isn’t a thing. What little regulation there is for the label allows for the use of some highly carcinogenic pesticides, just because they’re more traditional. Now, I’m not terribly keen on pesticides, but as long as we’re doing our farming outside it’s what we do, and we should do it well. As for proprietary GMOs, yeah no. A good GMO is one that contributes to human thriving.
Now, here’s a personal aesthetic problem I have, springing from my experience with gardening as a child. I don’t enjoy agriculture. Working with the grit and dirt makes my skin crawl, so I have a personal interest in improving the food production process. I like automation, so why shouldn’t food production be automated? Here’s what I propose: local, modular, fully automated greenhouses that rely on aeroponics technology.
Aeroponics is this just neato-nifty thing that’s been around since the 1940s. It is the method of growing plants with their roots exposed and regularly misted with a nutrient mixture. No dirt, and fairly easy to automate. It also requires a clean growing environment, so pesticides and fungicides are unnecessary because insects and fungi aren’t present in the growing environment to begin with. Of course, such a modular system would require a larger initial investment, but it could easily reduce the long term costs, if we’re even counting cost at all.
No system is entirely maintenance free, of course, but in a leisure environment there’s no reason everyone couldn’t know how to perform necessary maintenance. It is food production after all, and people should be involved in the process even when automation is complete, if for no other reason than it’s interesting.
So there we have it, the anarchomechanist perspective on food production. Phase out the grit wherever possible, localize production, automate everything possible, and involve the people. It wouldn’t be anarchy without distributed ownership of the means of production, and that applies to food just as much as everything else. Remember friends, burn your flags and kill your heroes.
bee is licking sugar from a q-tip as part of a “proboscis extension
reflex” assay. This experiment, at a lab in Penn State University, is
used to test the memory and learning ability of bees. Researchers
expose the restrained bee to a smell and then offer it a sugar reward.
Then after a pause, they expose the bee to the same smell and see if it
sticks out its tongue (also called proboscis) in anticipation of the
reward. If it does, then you know is has learned to associate the smell
have used this test to show that very small amounts of pesticides and
even “inactive" agricultural spray additives are harming bees’ ability
to remember where their food is.
This bee was photographed for a story
on honeybees in the May issue of National Geographic.
- Anand Varma (@anandavarma), National Geographic photographer