Questions in Sustainability
Ban This Pesticide, Said Scientists. No, Said Policymakers.

Ban This Pesticide, Said Scientists. No, Said Policymakers.

October 16, 2021

In 2015, EPA scientists recommended banning all uses of the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, on crops, because of the risks to the IQ of children.  However, EPA leadership did not sign off on the ban.  Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, explains the evidence of hazard for chlorpyrifos, as well as the economic cost to the nation from lost IQ due to chlorpyrifos and related insecticides.   Although chlorpyrifos was finally banned earlier this year, this case reminds us of the need to act when the science is solid, even if—and especially if—policymakers dismiss the science. 

(Green Isle performed by Rodney Miller and Airdance)

Sustainable Intensification and a Heaping Spoonful of Optimism

Sustainable Intensification and a Heaping Spoonful of Optimism

September 24, 2021

Professor Jules Pretty (University of Essex) and I start by discussing a useful concept: “sustainable intensification.”  Before long, Dr. Pretty guides us into philosophical issues in food production.  “We need to do good, as well as not do harm,” and why redesigning food systems lies in our future.  His optimistic nature is on full display when he advises students and others to “listen to each other,” and to “be leaders and change the world."

Fungicide Use in Crops Poses Risk to Certain Human Medications

Fungicide Use in Crops Poses Risk to Certain Human Medications

September 14, 2021

“Disturbing:” The use of certain antifungal products in plants can promote resistance to some antifungal medicines used in humans.   Professor Marin Brewer, University of Georgia, tells us about these scientific findings, which `were called “disturbing” by the president of the American Phytopathological Society.

Highly Controlled Crop Production Systems

Highly Controlled Crop Production Systems

August 13, 2021

We discuss highly mechanized and controlled crop production systems (think of it like “greenhouse systems on steroids”) with Dr. Garrett Owen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Kentucky.  Will such systems displace field-grown fruits and vegetables?  Or complement them?

Food Webs in the Soil

Food Webs in the Soil

July 9, 2021

We discuss soil food webs--the community of organisms in the soil and their interactions--with Dr. Elaine Ingham, President, Soil Foodweb Inc, and President and Director, Soil Foodweb School.  These living networks can have a profound influence on soil health which, in turn, has relevance to sustainable agriculture.

 

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