#BeeTheChange #BanUrbanPesticides

As l write:

Saturday was named the hottest day of the year so far, with 32.7°C recorded in Heathrow. Forecasters predict that Sunday could be the seventh September day in a row where temperatures reach above 30°C.

You could say that we have got off lightly compared to the summer experience in mainland Europe and the Mediterranean.

Climate change is real, it’s happening and, of course, we are all still just seeing it as a beautiful Indian summer and more time on the beach.

Already decimated insect species cannot slap on factor 50 and enjoy the chance to top up their tan. Climate changes are effecting their feeding patterns, their breeding patterns and hibernation rhythms. They are also dying of thirst so remember to put water out for wildlife if you can.

The point here is, of course, that due to man-made #climatechange nature itself is killing off all sorts of wildlife and it’s hitting insects especially hard.

In my book that means it’s even more urgent to #BanUrbanPesticides and do what we can to increase areas of potentially pollinator friendly habitats.

We started this blog to raise awareness and to stimulate action within local communities. We know that we can reach many people around the UK and beyond via the internet but we very much believe in thinking global and acting local.

We think that being labelled a NIMBY is something people should be extremely proud of, especially if they don’t want to see it in anyone else’s backyard either.

My Dad called it ✌🏿fighting in your own trench✌️. When he was 18 he was sent to fight against the Japanese in Burma now called Myanmar. One night he and his mates were sitting in their trench waiting for the next assault by the Japanese soldiers. This sounds worrying enough but still all they could talk about was the fact that most of them were worried about their families in London or other parts of Britain undergoing the bombardment from the German Air Force called the BLITZ. A sergeant overheard the conversation and told them to focus on their own trench and the fight in front. If they didn’t then they were just increasing the chances of them not getting out of there at all. An extreme example you may say but I think the very future of this Biosphere we call home is worth our focus. Don’t you? The frontline in the war we have raged against Mother Nature is on our doorstep and in our communities.

You can’t get closer to the front line than outside your bedroom window.

If you follow the link to our previous post it will explain how when we found out that our landlord’s land management team were spraying Glyphosate right outside our window. My wife had her Glyphosate levels checked. We promised an update on that and it’s not good news. Her levels almost doubled in a year from 2.22 ng/ml to 3.91 ng/ml. As we said in that previous post if  you get to 4.0 ng/ml you will be more likely to develop diseases like cancer. So here we are. Our sign “PLEASE NO PESTICIDE” did not deter them from continuing spraying around our bedroom windows. They also chopped off all the plants for pollinators we had planted there.  

Obviously, we are even more determined to do what we can on pesticides and work towards eradicating them from our community. We also needed to find out over the summer who was doing what on pesticides in our area. So we spoke to Pesticide Action Network and they provided all the information we needed.

We now know that there are many who are as concerned as we are about Pesticides in the Essex area as we just spent a beautiful summer’s day talking to many of them at the Colchester Eco Festival.

Pesticide Free Essex (PFE)

We need a lot more people in photos like the above. Actions take many forms and most of the work is done by an extremely dedicated few behind the scenes. Such was the case with the PFE stall at the eco festival. Please get involved in some way if you can. One volunteer who couldn’t make it on the day produced in her own time beautifully crafted flower brooches to give away on the information stall. They were extremely popular and a great way to engage with people about the issue. PFE is pulling together a petition to Essex County Council so keep a look out for that.

Pesticide Free Southend (PFS)?

A coalition for Southend following the same format and assistance from PAN UK does exist but it’s a small one. Carol Shorney from South East Essex Organic Gardeners and James Vessey-Miller from the Green Party are two people and organisations already working on aspects of the campaign.

What to do?

Well that’s always a good question. What I can tell you is what we will be doing.

Obviously, there is a lot to do to truly be able to call your town/parish/county Pesticide Free. With all the shops in the area selling Roundup and the like and all the pets each covered in enough toxic flea drops to kill tens of millions of bees. However, convincing the local authorities to stop spreading the stuff willy-nilly around the city is a tremendous start in the right direction.

BFB is proposing to raise awareness of the coalition and the importance of the issue by folding it into our #TogetherWeCan project/community campaign call it what you will. We will be reaching out to our fellow stakeholders from the third sector and beyond, AKA boiling frogs, to invite them to join us on the VIVE platform or as Transition Together call it a village square. From there we can build the foundation of a citizen-led assembly discussing issues like pesticides and all the other most important issues of our time related to the climate and ecological emergency. BFB will show many stories of how solution-based thinking is working for other communities and how we can as a community take the necessary action required to survive the riggers of a challenging future for us all.

Petitioning the Southend City Council

In my humble opinion it should be Southend City Council (SCC) petitioning the community to stop from doing so many business as usual things like spraying Pesticides during a Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) not the other way round. Should our✌️LEADERS✌🏻not be leading by example? Do they really think that they know more than the United Nations Environment Programme and the thousands of scientists and organisations involved in Sustainable Development?

From their own records the last time SCC was petitioned on the issue of pesticides was back in March 2021. If you signed this petition or know anything about its outcome we would love to hear from you.

This is the petition as taken from SCC website:

Glyphosate & East Beach Petition

We the undersigned petition the council to and its contractors to ban the use of Glyphosate. The council is spraying thousands of gallons of this potentially dangerous herbicide completely unnecessarily. The Impact on East Beach is there for everybody to see, giant yellow strips of dead plant life, at a time when the UK is losing close to 40 million birds and flying insects, our council is killing wildflowers and pollinators on every grass verge, park path, walkway, council garden and road verge. East Beach holds a special place in the hearts of its residents, it’s a place we go to get away from it all, a place we walk our dogs and sometimes just to watch the sunsets. This spraying is both destructive to our wildlife, our health and our dogs as well as being a total eyesore. The council have not consulted or even warned us that they were planning to use this harmful chemical. I am calling on residents to join me in the banning of this destructive product.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identified glyphosate as a potential carcinogen to humans. They found a strong association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma,

It may lead to cataracts in dogs or even cause various developmental issues, there is no doubt that glyphosate is poisonous to dogs even after it has dried and is allegedly safe, it has been known to cause vomiting in pets

Our wildlife needs our help, glyphosate kills wildflowers on which our bees, butterflies depend, a weed is just a flower by another name

Started by: Carl Hanser (Love East Beach)

This ePetition ran from 10/03/2021 to 21/05/2021 and has now finished.

135 people signed this ePetition.

If the Citizen Assembly/Coalition decides to go with a Petition then that’s what we will do. But I wouldn’t recommend doing so until we have enough people involved to publicise the existence of the petition and get thousands of signatures rather than 135. Petitions can be effective if used tactically.

Open letter

Inviting stakeholders will take time.So we are proposing that working with PFS and PAN UK we produce an open letter of concern for people and organisations to sign and endorse. This will show all those including the local government that a large proportion of the community is behind banning the use of these toxic chemicals that are proven harmful to people, pets and the planet.

We feel it’s more constructive and democratic to invite people and organisations who have concerns about pesticides to sign an open letter and then join us on Vive to debate and take action rather than tell them this is the campaign we demand this and we demand that.

In the meantime, we will email our council members and introduce ourselves and state how we want a ban on pesticides and let them know what our campaign will involve. We strongly recommend that you do the same. Maybe they will agree and change the necessary policies without too much palaver.

Unfortunately, though, working on the evidence I think we have a long way to go in changing people’s perceptions.

So what am I to tell my grandson and his children? Sorry we couldn’t save what little biodiversity and pollinators we had left in Southend because dogs in the town needed a place to 💩.

Two books we highly recommend people read are pictured below:

We know that a lot fewer children nowadays use our parks and playgrounds because they are on one or more of their screens. However, we would like to ask the parents of the ones that do if they are absolutely confident to tell their children “it’s safe to play”.

We are attending a green gathering soon organised by TrustLinks in Southend and will be sharing our ideas for a Pesticide Free Southend-on-Sea. If we don’t get laughed at and thrown out we will let you know how we get on.

More to follow 🌍🌎🌍🌎🌍

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