“Even one voice can be heard loudly all over the world in this day and age.”
“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” — Abraham Lincoln
A friend of mine owns a farm. Not the “4000-acres-of-Monsanto-genetically-modified-corn” kind of farm, but an honest to goodness family farm. 14 acres on the outer edges of the city of Dallas. She sells “shares” in her farm; in exchange the share-holder gets farm-fresh veggies each week. (This is an over-simplification of the CSA Farm Model).
Yesterday, she learned that Dallas County will spray neurotoxins and pesticides around her farm.
Not because of anything she is doing. They are spraying because county officials (aka, Judge “Chemical Clay” Jenkins) are trying to prevent the Culex mosquito – which can carry the West Nile Virus - from getting a foothold in Dallas.
Here’s the problem. The mosquito pesticide they are using only gives an illusion of working. It might – on a perfectly calm and windless night of the perfect temperature and humidity - kill up to 1% of the Culex mosquitoes.
Why doesn’t it work?
The pesticide – piperonyl butoxide - actually has to land on the mosquito to kill it. (Ironically, this is the case with the 1.4 million tons of pesticides sprayed on American farms and food every year – a shocking 1% actually reaches the targeted pest….the rest is in our soil, water, and food).
However, the pesticide will kill up to 90% of beneficial insects. My friend’s farm has a substantial amount of bees and bee hives – honey and humble bees. Just like corn can not thrive without humans, humans cannot exist without bees. As go the bees, so go the humans.
The spray will kill dragonflies, bats and frogs – natural predators of the mosquito – and nature’s defense against the myriad of horrible diseases (other than WNV) that mosquitoes spread.
The pesticide is an “endocrine disruptor” and can really screw up human immune systems – particularly in those with compromised immune systems.
We don’t know this from textbooks – we know it from experience.
In August 2012, Dallas County – without any debate or input from its citizens and relying on emergency authority rooted in the 2001 Patriot Act – decided to spray a dangerous neurotoxin over every square inch of Dallas County. For one week, planes flew above our rooftops, and doused us all with a neurotoxin that the County (using marketing materials from the pesticide manufacturer) said was safe.
Remember, Agent Orange was safe. Aldrin – now known to be a cause of birth defects, mental retardation in fetuses, abortions, rectal cancer, reproductive problems in men, and more – was deemed safe in 1959.
I have a vivid memory of the first night of spraying in August 2012. Through the glass sliding door to our backyard, I could hear the deep hum of the approaching aircraft. I could see the red lights on the wings of the plane, flashing their warning of danger brighter and brighter as the planes approached. As the plane flew overhead, the kitchen windows rattled.
I have never felt so powerless over my own life and property.
The sound faded into the night, and a misty gray cloud of poison drifted down to earth and settled on every living thing in our yard. The chickens. The apple trees. The okra, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, parsnips and peppers. A season worth of growing our own veggies ended that night.
I stood outside the first night after the spraying was done. It was quiet. No dragonflies. No frogs (many had died on contact). No bats. No fireflies. No butterflies or dragonflies. Not a living insect in the yard.
Except the mosquitoes.
I promised that night that I wouldn’t stand by & watch it happen again; 1o months later, my resolve is being tested.
My friend the farmer has asked that people come and protest by standing in front of the spray trucks to keep them from spraying. Momma Bird and I want to go – but we’d have to bring Little Bird. The last thing I want to do is expose an infant to the neurotoxins they will be spraying tonight. But if I don’t go, then they will be spraying my house next.
I believe strongly in protecting my home from the poisonous plans of ignorant men. I also believe in protecting my family from the callous cruelty visited on environmental protestors.
Would you protest, or stay home? I’d love to hear your input.
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