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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Parks' Category


12
Apr

Natural Grocers Supports Organic Communities and Beyond Pesticides’ Parks for a Sustainable Future—Ladybug Love Pledge

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2024) In honor of Earth Month, Natural Grocers® is partnering with Beyond Pesticides for its seventh annual Ladybug LoveSM campaign. Natural Grocers, a longtime leader of the organic movement through national advocacy efforts and rigorous product standards, encourages its communities to pledge to protect beneficial insects and further Beyond Pesticides’ critical mission of converting local parks and playing fields to organic landscape management practices.   Natural Grocers’ annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit the nonprofit organization, Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Cleaner air, water, and land make for a healthier food supply – a principle Natural Grocers has championed since 1955. Click here to see the campaign from last year. April shoppers at Natural Grocers’ 168 stores are also invited to donate to Beyond Pesticides at checkout. Ladybug Love also features in-store promotions! LADYBUG LOVE & BEYOND PESTICIDES Natural Grocers’ Ladybug Love campaign aims to bring awareness to the precious insects that play a crucial role in the stability of our food supply and regenerative farming. The annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program, designed to assist communities in transitioning away from pesticide use at local parks […]

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27
Mar

Synthetic Turf Fields, Forever Chemicals and the Safer Alternative: Organic Grass

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2024) A preliminary experiment conducted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reveals concerning levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the skin of soccer players and coaches after playing on artificial turf fields. The Washington Post reported on March 12 on the PEER test results, which found PFAS levels increased on the skin in three out of four participants following soccer matches on artificial turf. In contrast, no similar increase was observed after games on natural grass fields. The presence of PFAS is alarming due to their association with several serious health issues, including cancer, birth defects, and developmental and immune deficiencies, among others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) writes that PFAS exposure risks are particularly concerning for young children, who are more susceptible due to their developing bodies and at risk for higher levels of exposure than adults. Known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment, PFAS continue to accumulate in the human body, posing long-term health risks. Kyla Bennett, PhD, science policy director at PEER and a former scientist and lawyer with EPA, emphasized the need for further research. “Although this study is preliminary, it highlights the potential […]

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22
Dec

Holiday Season and New Year Greetings as We Move Ahead Together for a Sustainable Future

On behalf of the Beyond Pesticides team, we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season! We deeply appreciate the vital community-based work taking place across the country as we join together to confront the existential health and environmental challenges of our time. Meeting the challenges ahead with a transformative strategy  Beyond Pesticides shares the vision of people and communities that are striving to ensure a future that protects health and sustains life. We are facing existential crises—the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and severe public health threats—from cancer to neurological, reproductive, and endocrine system effects, including brain and behavioral impacts. To reverse these threats —which we can do— we advance model organic solutions that eliminate billions of pounds of fossil fuel-based pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and nurture biological systems that take dangerous pollutants out of our environment, protecting health and the ecosystems that sustain life.     Our audacious goal: to phase out petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers by 2032. Our solution: to provide hands-on assistance, funded by our supporters, to assist in the transition to organic land management in community parks, playing fields, and schoolyards.  The path moving forward: Advancing sustainable, organic practices and policies to […]

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22
Nov

Grassroots Power: Discover How Organic Local Action Can Transform Public Spaces on Nov 29—National Forum Series

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2023) As a leading organization in advocating for organic and sustainable land management, Beyond Pesticides is honored to host the third and final webinar of the National Forum Series: Transformative Community-Based Change from the Ground Up on November 29, 2023, at 2 PM EST! This event, focusing on managing parks and playing fields with organic practices and policies, invites concerned citizens, elected officials, and land managers to learn about effective strategies for implementing organic land management in their communities. The panel discussion will highlight activists like Avery Kamila, who was instrumental in establishing Portland, Maine’s pioneering ordinance—the strongest local ordinance in the United States—that restricts the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on both public and private properties, with few exceptions. This landmark ordinance establishes organic land care practices as the primary means to maintain properties within Portland’s city limits, including lawns, gardens, sports fields, parks, and playgrounds. Kamila’s efforts, alongside other concerned citizens, led to significant policy changes in Portland, demonstrating the powerful impact of grassroots advocacy. While Maine is one of a handful of states that allow citizens and local governments the right to control their exposure to pesticides through local government pesticide regulation […]

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17
Nov

Hear From the Grassroots at the Third Session of National Forum on Transformative Community-Based Change—November 29!

Join Us on November 29, 2023 for our final session centered on grassroots action: Transformative Community-Based Change from the Ground Up: Managing Parks and Playing Fields with Organic Practices and Policies  (Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2023) Since the beginning of this fall and our first webinar in September, the aim of the National Forum Series has been and continues to be enabling a collective strategy to address the existential health, biodiversity, and climate threats and chart a path for a livable and sustainable future. We come together to empower effective action. You are part of the solution!  Click here to register!  Change is driven by grassroots action of local people, elected officials, and land managers. In this context, the third session of the National Forum will share model approaches to grassroots advocacy, public policy, and land management that teach and implement respect for nature and ecosystem services, such as the natural cycling of nitrogen and disease resistance—resulting in resilient plants, landscapes, parks and playing fields, and control the existential threats to health, biodiversity, and climate. The panelists in this session will focus on organic land management systems that do not utilize petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers but focus on building organic matter […]

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01
Nov

NFL Players Association Calls for Stadiums to End Synthetic Turf Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) As communities consider maintenance and renovation of their playing fields, it is not uncommon for synthetic (or artificial) turf to come up as an alternative to natural grass. Promoters of synthetic turf argue that it provides a solution to climate change, reduces water use and maintenance costs, and allows for year-round play. But is this true? Is synthetic turf an environmentally responsible alternative to its organic grass counterpart? An established and growing body of scientific evidence is demonstrating environmental and health risks with synthetic turf. In addition, there is growing concern for the safety of those playing on artificial grass, which has led to a call from the National Football League’s (NFL) Players Association to utilize natural grass on all 30 NFL stadiums after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in September and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s mid-game ankle injury. Synthetic turf playing fields are reliant on polluting plastic (can contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances-PFAS) and toxic pesticides for managing bacteria, mold and fungus, create contaminated water runoff, and cover over the natural environment, which is critical to preserving health and biodiversity, and averting climate disasters. Artificial […]

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11
Oct

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Faces Controversy Over Toxic Herbicide Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2023) Rachel Carson Conservation Park, a 650-acre conservation area in Montgomery County, Maryland, named in honor of the renowned scientist and author Rachel Carson, is now at the center of a controversy surrounding the use of toxic herbicides. Ms. Carson played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the harmful ecosystem and human health effects of pesticides that led to the banning of DDT. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have raised alarm over the recent spraying of “invasive weeds” with Garlon 3A, a powerful herbicide, within the park’s boundaries. Concern about pesticide use in Montgomery County is complicated by competing jurisdictions and restrictions within the county, and highlights the stark difference between nontoxic organic practices and pesticide-dependent Integrated Pest Management. (See more below on Montgomery County land management policy for local parks.) According to the Montgomery County website: “Montgomery County Parks [Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission or M-NCPPC] are a State agency. M-NCPPC operates under an integrated pest management plan (IPM). Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides. In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In September 2019, the program expanded to 45 […]

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14
Sep

(Reflection) This Organic Month, Transition Your Park to Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2023) As we celebrate National Organic Month this September, it is the perfect time to reflect on why you should consider going organic. Do you try to buy organic food when you can? Are you looking for a way to reduce your and your family’s exposure to toxic pesticides? The benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle extend far beyond your diet or your own health. Beyond Pesticides is helping communities transition parks and public lands to organic land management. Here are some reasons why Beyond Pesticides believes in building organic communities: Why Go Organic? Health and Safety: Organic foods and parks are free from harmful pesticides, fossil-fuel-based substances, and toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for all ages. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s 40 Common Lawn and Landscape Chemicals page to learn more about the health impacts of pesticides in communities. Environmental Stewardship: Opting for organic parks and products supports practices that protect pollinators, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and reduce toxic runoff into water bodies. Learn more about how to protect pollinators in your community by reading BEE Protective. Trust and Transparency: The USDA Certified Organic label ensures strict standards and regulations for organic products, providing […]

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08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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09
Aug

Feds To Evaluate Endangered Species Impacts under Clean Water Act’s General Pesticide Permits

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2023) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to assess the harms of applying pesticides in waterways to threatened and endangered wildlife under a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Under the Clean Water Act, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is needed when pollutants are discharged from a point source (an identifiable source) into the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), but federal authorities, in their general permitting process, have long failed to assess effects to threatened and endangered species. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, FWS must complete consultations required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prevent harm to protected species such as bull trout, pallid sturgeon, Oregon spotted frogs, and other threatened aquatic organisms.  The agreement is a step in implementing the 1973 ESA, a law that is saving numerous species from extinction, facilitating the recovery of hundreds more, and enabling the preservation of habitats. The humpback whale, bald eagle, and snail darter are among the species that have been saved thanks to the ESA. For years, Beyond Pesticides has reported on decades of neglecting to fully implement and fund […]

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03
Aug

Reflections: “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world. Life in plastic is [NOT] fantastic”

It’s hard to escape the impacts of the Barbie movie’s estimated $150 million marketing campaign. You may have noticed advertisements with Burger King’s pink burgers to Airbnb’s Barbie Dreamhouse. Perhaps you have seen viral memes or news stories about the movie’s takedown of the patriarchy or critiques that the movie is overly woke. The pink symbol of Barbie is often followed by a second symbol — plastic. The total mass of plastics on Earth now doubles the total mass of all living mammals, so would Barbie say life is fantastic? Or, might she urge the National Organic Standards Board to ban plastic mulch, an issue on the agenda at the Board’s upcoming October meeting? Plastic products, including those used in chemical-intensive and organic agriculture, and pesticides, play a seemingly necessary role in modern life, encompassing many items beyond straws and grocery bags. However, the convenience of plastic comes at a considerable cost to the planet and human health. The majority of plastics are manufactured using oil and gas, exacerbating climate change. Scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed by the repercussions of microplastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm in size. In 2022, Philip Landrigan, M.D., et al., announced the […]

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18
Jul

Funds Support Compliance with International Treaty To Save the Oceans and Biodiversity, Combat Climate Threats

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2023) The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, the governing body for the world’s largest source of multilateral funding for biodiversity loss and climate change, has authorized $34 million USD to support the new high seas treaty agreement announced on March 4. The move marks a significant step toward safeguarding the delicate ecosystems of the world’s oceans and promoting sustainable practices on a global scale. The oceans suffer from severe pollution caused by various substances, including pesticides, agricultural runoff, industrial and petrochemical waste, and synthetic chemicals found in plastics. These pollutants pose a significant threat to human health. The ecological consequences of ocean pollution have long been highlighted by Beyond Pesticides. The March draft agreement was approved by 193 countries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). Then in June, the BBNJ agreement was adopted by consensus at the United Nations meeting in New York. The agreement will be open for countries to sign on September 20, 2023, after the Sustainable Development Goal Summit. In order for the treaty to be entered into force, sixty countries must […]

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16
Jun

This Juneteenth, We Highlight the Ongoing Fight for Environmental Justice

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2023) Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for the last 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, but it is also a reminder that justice has not historically been “swift” or complete for Black Americans. The holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 40 percent of Americans know “a little bit” or “nothing at all” about Juneteenth. While this is a significant improvement in comparison to the 60 percent for the aforementioned metric in the previous year (when the holiday was federally recognized), greater public awareness is needed. This holiday is a time for individuals and organizations to acknowledge and reflect on their past and current actions or inactions that perpetuate systemic racism. As known from the history books, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, and the civil war ended on April 9, 1865. Juneteenth is a lesser-known anniversary commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people who received news of their freedom two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s freedom proclamation. While the technologies in the 19th century had a much slower travel time, […]

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01
Jun

New York City Parks Dept. and Advocates Announce Organic Demonstration Sites Following Passage of Law

Eco-Friendly Parks for All (EFPA)*, a coalition of environmental, public health and political action organizations, has teamed up with Beyond Pesticides, New York City Parks and Recreation Department, and Stonyfield Organic Yogurt to celebrate the success of pilot organic land management programs at eight sites across the five boroughs. 

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23
Jan

University of California Makes Changes to Reduce Use of Toxic Pesticides, Fails to Embrace Organic

Photo: Beyond Pesticides’ board member Chip Osborne and student advocate Bridget Gustafson meet on a University of California organic land management pilot site, supported by Beyond Pesticides. (Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2020) University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano recently has approved recommendations made by the UC Herbicide Task Force, a proposal that falls short of systems change that student activists are advocating. New changes will, however, restrict the use of some toxic pesticides and increase transparency across the university’s ten campuses. While the decision represents an important step forward, advocates remain critical of integrated pest management (IPM) policy and support an overall transition to organic land management. The UC Board of Regents will meet today to discuss the decision. President Napolitano will continue the suspension of glyphosate, established last year, until a UC-wide integrated pest management (IPM) policy is implemented and all ten UC campus locations complete individual IPM plans. A system-wide “oversight committee” will guide and authorize school IPM committees. The overarching IPM policy will restrict application of highly toxic pesticides, only permitting use after a local IPM committee has reviewed and approved its specific use application following an IPM-based assessment. Other synthetic pesticides will be subject to […]

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