(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2012) With Members of Congress attempting to gut pesticide protections from the Clean Water Act and state legislators threatening to repeal Connecticut’s historic pesticide ban on school grounds, environmentalists from the Northeast and beyond are joining with researchers, authors, beekeepers, organic business leaders, elected officials, and others to discuss strategies for protecting health and the environment. Healthy Communities: the 30th National Pesticide Forum will take place March 30-31 at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Register online. Fees start at $35 ($15 for students) and include all sessions, conference materials, and organic food and drink. A limited number of partial scholarships are available, contact Beyond Pesticides for details.
Pesticide-Free Lawns and Landscapes
With the Connecticut General Assembly’s considering legislation that would repeal the state’s ban on toxic pesticide use on school grounds by replacing it with a weak “integrated pest management” (IPM) system, this issue will be a central theme at the conference. Speakers on this topic include: Warren Porter, PhD, professor of Zoology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison with expertise in lawn chemicals, especially low doses and mixtures; Chip Osborne, national organic turf expert and president of Osborne Organics; Patti Wood, executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education, a key player in the state pesticide bans; Paul Tukey, founder and spokesman for the Safe Lawns Foundation and author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual; Sarah Little, PhD, author of Introduction to Organic Lawns and Yards and editor of the NOFA Standards For Organic Land Care.
Pesticides and Health
Research continues to link pesticide exposure to health effects like ADHD, cancer, hormone disruption and more. Nationally renowned scientists will present their work and perspectives on the pesticide problem. Speakers include: Sandra Steingraber, PhD, ecologist and author of several books including Living Downstream and Raising Elijah; John Wargo, PhD, Yale professor and author of Our Children’s Toxic Legacy and Green Intelligence; Routt Reigart, MD, Medical University of South Carolina professor and the nation’s top pediatric expert on pesticides; Julia Brody, PhD, breast cancer researcher and director of the Silent Spring Institute; Allison Aiello, PhD, University of Michigan School of Public Health epidemiologist with expertise in antibacterial and infectious disease.
Honey Bee Protection
Considering that honey bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat, the decline in honey bee populations, which has been linked in part to pesticides, must be a national priority. The Forum will feature beekeepers and a groundbreaking university researcher. David Hackenberg, beekeeper to first discover Colony Collapse Disorder; Christian Krupke, PhD, Purdue entomologist who discovered EPA was severely underestimating honey bee exposure to pesticides; Robert Deschak, core member of the New York City Beekeepers Association who keeps hives on NYC rooftops; Ted and Becky Jones, owners of Jones’ Apiaries, and president and treasurer of the Connecticut Beekeepers’ Association, who will be bringing a demonstration hive to the conference.
Healthy Food: Fair, Local and Organic
Pesticides not only affect the people who consume food, but also those who grow it and live near agricultural areas. The conference will begin with a tour of local urban farms (and pesticide-free playing fields), and feature organics as a theme throughout. Gary Hirshberg, chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farms and anti-GMO advocate; Nelson Carrasquillo, general coordinator CATA (Farmworkers Support Committee); Bill Duesing, executive director of the Northeast Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA); Martha Page, executive director of Hartford Food System, a nonprofit organization in Hartford devoted to issues of food security.