Organic Pesticides

(This is the next post in my “Organic” series. If you missed the first one, you can find it here.)

It may surprise you to learn that organic farmers use pesticides. The only difference is that, for the most part, their pesticides must derive from natural sources rather than a laboratory. Does this make them safer than synthetic ones?

Consider—copper sulfate, an organic pesticide allowed by the USDA, is more toxic than some synthetic pesticides; an overdose can cause anemia, liver disease, mutations and cancer. Arsenic is a natural substance, but is so toxic that it is banned by the USDA for use on organic crops. Nicotine-derived pesticides, another group of natural chemicals, are also considered too dangerous for use by organic farmers.

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Happy Earth Day, God

Maybe it’s because Earth Day is this weekend. Maybe it’s just that I’ve added some new friends on Facebook (one of whom posted this card). But lately, I’ve noticed a trend—Christians are under attack for their lack of involvement in the environmental movement. For the most part, I think we deserve it.

I know there are Christian environmental organizations (Google “creation care” sometime), and they’re working hard and making a difference. I wonder, though—why aren’t there more? Why don’t we hear about them? Why doesn’t anyone care?

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Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. I’m one-eighth Irish, so it is my right—my duty!—to mark the day with a celebration. I’m not much into green beer (or any other color beer, for that matter), and corned beef and cabbage actually hail from New England, not Ireland. However, having visited the Auld Sod, I can attest that it is very, very green. It is so green that the green grass reflects in the clouds, and they look green! The Blarney Stone (in the castle shown at left) has green algae growing on it (all those kisses add to the slime factor). And green is my favorite color.

Therefore, in honor of St. Pat,  today’s blog is all about things that are green.

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What Should We Then Eat? (Part 2)

refrigeratorStanding in front of the open refrigerator door, you survey the contents. What do you want to snack on? In today’s globalized world, this is a complicated question. In April I commented about our nutritional choices. Today I’m more interested in the environmental repercussions.

How is the food grown? What fertilizers are used? Are the plants sprayed with pesticides? And are organic growing methods automatically better? How about the use of fossil fuels to transport food over long distances? Or the energy and other resources used in processing, preserving, and packaging those convenience products? If you believe all the hype, you could be convinced that an environmental apocalypse is just around the corner, all because of our food choices.

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Living Responsibly

Social justice. Healthy lifestyles. Environmental stewardship. Sometimes it’s awfully hard to pull it all together….

My phone alarm chirps, waking me from dreams of tropical beaches complete with coconut palms, perfect waves, and a bathing suit figure. It’s morning, six o’clock. Time to get out of bed and start another day of responsible living.

I reach over to turn off the electric blanket. Yes, it’s electric. Is that environmentally correct? It uses electricity, and we’re trying to conserve. Yet, we’re able to keep the house cooler, turning the heat off at night even in the middle of winter. Surely that saves more energy than my blanket uses.

Dragging myself out of bed, I stumble towards the shower. The water feels wonderful, but I don’t want to take too long—that hot water is a precious, limited resource. I reach for the soap and shampoo. Wait—were they tested on animals? I’d better read the label. Should I use a disposable razor? All that plastic will end up in the landfill. Maybe I should just opt for hairy legs.

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