The situation with managing weeds with chemicals is dire
The word ‘weed’ was vilified and corporate chemical company giants lobbied to declare War on Weeds in the US. Noxious Weed Law passed in 1983. The law listed plants with legal standing and landowners, by law, had to prevent the spread of these listed weeds, if they were on their property.
Each state has its list and each county within each state has its own noxious list. Each and every one of these entities has its hired weed supervisor who leads the war on weeds in their region and is legally deputized to enforce on landowners who are harboring plants on the list. Penalties and fines ensue if the listed plants are not prevented from spreading, and laws are in place to file a lien against your property if you are negligent. State of Colorado Noxious Weeds list.
At that time the accepted methods of weed management were machinery or chemical herbicides. Unfortunately, non-target species were equally poisoned by herbicides, and unintended consequences of the toxic substances moving through the environment created huge human and environmental health problems.
The advent of GMO seeds requires more herbicide (double to triple to quadruple) the amount of herbicide spray to get the promised crop yield. Simultaneously, super-weeds evolved as mutant plants developed herbicide resistance.
“Weeds are winning the fight, they’re winning the battle. They’re evolving faster, better to survive in the environment than we’re coming up with solutions, at least chemical solutions, to control them.” –Aaron Hager, associate professor of crop science at the University of Illinois
Environmental impact of agrochemicals.
“Herbicides (used to control weeds) account for 90 percent of the pesticides. As agriculture has grown and industrialized, farmers have come to rely on pesticides for large-scale practices such as mono-cropping—growing one crop in great quantities, season after season, on the same land. Despite the widespread recognition that pesticides are harmful to human and environmental health, our industrial agricultural system depends on their continued use.” —FoodPrint.org
It is creating a perfect storm for disaster.
Agricultural chemicals are used extensively throughout our food system. On any given day, tank after tank of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, rodenticides, and more are spilled, sprayed, poured, dumped, dusted, or drifted away in the wind. Or washed away in our water. We’re told they’re safe, cost-effective, and improve yields. Cost comparison goats v chemicals.
Applying toxic chemicals on the ground for years to kill weeds is not sustainable for all life.
Worldwide pesticide usage in 2020 was been estimated to increase up to 3.5 million tons.
We need a fresh approach to weed management. It’s time to do things differently. Weed mitigation cannot be sprayed away. We know that. We know we cannot keep jumping from chemical to chemical hoping for the answer. Dramatic change is needed.
We need off the chemical treadmill. But how?
“For years farmers have been running on the “chemical treadmill,” hopscotching from chemical to chemical as weeds develop resistance. Now we’re at the point where farmers simply can’t do that.” – Mark Bernards, an assistant professor of agronomy, crop science, and weed control at Western Illinois University
“Scientists looking at solutions to the deadly CO2 problem are just now realizing how critical soil is to our atmosphere. The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture and other development has released billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.” – Judith D. Schwarts, Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Scientists are now looking into soil carbon sequestration as one of the most effective solutions for climate change.
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