In the latest issue of Gaudeamus (5/2008 Stockholm University), Michael Tedengren (Professor in Systems ecology(?)) says that the European Union is planning to legalise similar substances as Paraquat. Paraquat was allowed within the European Union in 2004:

"The European Union allowed Paraquat in 2004. Sweden, supported by Denmark, Austria, and Finland, brought the European Union commission to court. On 11 July 2007 the court annulled the directive authorising Paraquat as an active plant protection substance."[]

What is Paraquat?

Paraquat is a chemical substance that can be used as a pesticide against fungus etc when growing stuff, stuff which we in the western world take for granted, such as fruit. Paraquat is highly poisonous and has been used by farmers in countries such as Costa Rica to spray banana fields.

"It is non-selective, which means it kills a wide range of annual grasses and broad-leaved weeds and the tops of established perennial weeds.

It is very fast-acting.

It is rain-fast within minutes of application.

It becomes biologically inactive upon contact with soil."[]

Paraquat has been devastating to ecosystems and especially to people wherever it has been used. According to the interview with Tedengren, since the nineties, more than 200 people have died yearly in Costa Rica from being exposed to Paraquat. The people who sell the chemicals to the farmers trick them into using more chemicals that what is needed. I mean come on, that is really greedy and stupid. It is probably unethical from every single perspective except for an economical perspective maintained by the people who deal with pesticides.

Moveover, conglomerates such as Dole and Chiquita apparently prevent farmers from shipping their ecologically cultivated bananas. They are conservatively trying to control the market and they also want to control the channels of profit.

I think that the general consumer and citizen should be more concerned about two phenomena: Lobbying & Capitalism. If we want to 'save the world' (it sounds so abstract and stoic don't you think?), we ought to try and turn the market around as well as heighten our awareness concerning what laws and restrictions our politicians are trying to sneak past us every single day. The things they try to sneak past us are often connected to money and other stuff that will benefit corporations rather than us citizens.

Let 'Capitalism' find money, capital, etc. in areas that are less hazardous for the environment. Someone ought to find a way to produce less, save more energy, consume less as well as making it all more profitable. If someone can spawn this type of revolution, it will ultimateely have a huge effect on the global economy.

No comments: