Early Spring 2021: Notables
Excerpted from Civil Eats’ 2/2/21 “Beyond Bees, Neonics Damage Ecosystems – and a Push for Policy Change Is Coming” by Lisa Held
Daniel Raichel, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said that when he first started working on neonic regulation in the summer of 2016, he thought colleagues who referred to the issue as a “second Silent Spring” were exaggerating. “I don’t believe that anymore,” he said. “We’re getting a new study every couple of weeks, and the scale and scope of the ecological problems that we are seeing is off the charts. It’s a bee issue for sure, but really, it’s an ecosystem issue. It’s an everything issue.”
Governments around the world have stepped in. The European Union first restricted neonic use in 2013 and then banned the use of three common neonics on all crops in 2018. Then, last January, the EU declined to renew the registration of a fourth. France has banned five chemicals in the family. Canada has proposed phasing out three and will make a final decision pending a scientific review expected to conclude this spring.
So far, the U.S. has not followed suit. In early 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed an interim decision to allow the continued use of the five most popular neonics, with minimal restrictions.
At the same time, some environmental groups and lawmakers have sharpened their criticism, drawing attention to the issue with new intensity through lawsuits and legislative campaigns. At least one, the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), will be reintroduced to a new Congress this year (by Colorado’s Joe Neguse) and also includes what advocates say are meaningful updates to EPA pesticide approval processes. While legislation banning neonics is unlikely to get far because of the political power of agribusiness companies, multiple lawmakers are moving forward with introducing bills. Meanwhile, several state-level efforts are picking up steam in New York, California, and elsewhere.
Scientists and advocates say regulation can’t happen soon enough, given the recent body of research that points to harms that extend far beyond pollinators to widespread soil and water contamination affecting aquatic animals, birds, mammals, and entire ecosystems. “The problem is urgent enough that we really need to be doing everything that we can,” Raichel said.
Botany Lane Greenhouse Earns Sustainably Grown Certification
Botany Lane Greenhouse, a locally owned and operated wholesale grower of plants and flowers, has been recognized for its leadership in environmental protection, social responsibility, and quality products. By meeting “the highest performance levels under these three pillars of sustainability” Botany Lane earned the Veriflora® Sustainably Grown label, a certification program for sustainable horticulture and floriculture.
Botany Lane grows annuals, perennials, succulents, herbs & veggies, tropical flowering and foliage plants from Proven Winners, Hollywood Hibiscus, Diamantina Mandevilla, Plant Select, and their own brands: Just Dig It, Mile High Succulent Collection, and Mile High Closer to the Sun Perennial Collection. They also have a new line of vegetables and herbs, “Flavor Table”, and a foliage collection called “Simply Simple”.
General Manager Scott Fulton notes that no neonic pesticides are used in their Colorado facilities.