Wednesday, January 9, 2002

dandelion lovers unite against pesticides!

Help Hamilton Council preserve the integrity of the earth by urging them to support a phase-out of the cosmetic use of pesticides; help right the wrongs the Chemical companies have foisted upon their favourite villain: our much beloved and much maligned composite plant of the Asteraceae family, the dandelion.

Dandelion lovers of the world unite!
HAMILTON CITY HALL Lobby, 2nd floor outside council chambers, 12:30 pm, Wednesday, January 9, 2002.
The Ghost of CanLit giant Susanna Moodie (Roughing it in the Bush) will be pouring out warm beverages made from Dandelions prior to hearings on Hamilton's pesticide by-law.
Moodie is offended that the Dandelion, so central to the immigrant experience in Canada, has suffered the indignity of being sprayed with poisonous chemicals and treated as a bad weed.
"Few of our colonists are acquainted with the many uses to which this neglected but most valuable plant may be applied," explains Moodie.

Portrait of Susannie Moodie
During the fall of '35 (that's 1835) Moodie began to discover the many uses of this "neglected but most valuable plant."
  • The leaves used in salads are "quite equal to endive."
  • The leaves when boiled can be used as a substitute for cabbage.
  • The tops can be boiled and the liquor added to hops, fermented and made into beer "equal to the table-beer used at home."
  • Coffee made from the dandelion root "proved excellent-- far superior to the common coffee we procured at the stores."
An excellent source of vitamin A, young leaves can be eaten raw or boiled for 5-10 minutes. Among many other culinary uses, the flowers can be dipped in batter and fried.

- - - - 

Pesticide use put to public
Many support recommendation for city to reduce chemical use.


Special to The Hamilton Spectator


Sheila Brown gambles with her health every time she steps into her back yard.

The Waterdown resident suffers from an environmental illness that her doctor believes is aggravated by chemical sprays used to beautify lawns. Her symptoms, which have worsened since new neighbours began using pesticides, include light-headedness, weak limbs and recurring colds.

"I have to be careful in my own back yard again," Brown told a city council subcommittee yesterday.

She was one of more than 30 speakers who came to City Hall to share their views at a special hearing on pesticide use.

Like many of the others, she applauded a staff recommendation for a continued reduction in the city's use of chemical sprays, but urged council to take the initiative a step further. In order to eliminate the health risks associated with pesticide exposure, Brown said, the city must also restrict the use of chemical sprays used by private landowners.

"We live in a chemical soup" that puts people at unnecessary risk for health problems, she said.

Pesticides, which include chemical herbicides, insecticides, and weed killers, have been linked to numerous health and environmental problems.

Yet some speakers expressed doubt about the health hazards.

University of Guelph toxicologist Len Ritter argued that studies linking pesticide use to certain illnesses, such as cancer, are inconclusive.

Still, Ritter cautioned that because doubt exists, pesticides should always be treated as "potentially dangerous chemicals."

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling last June upheld a bylaw passed by Hudson, Que., prohibiting the use of lawn sprays, and other municipalities have since enacted similar bylaws. So far, Hamilton city council has elected to wait for recommendations from the medical officer of health.

Although yesterday's hearing dealt with nonagricultural pesticide use, farming representatives like Larry Freeman expressed concern about the implications of a possible future ban on pesticides.

Freeman called prohibiting pesticides "impractical and unenforceable."

"It could severely restrict a farmer's ability to keep pests out of their crops," he said.

Council's committee of the whole will review the city's plan to reduce pesticide use sometime this spring.


[caption] Dressed for the part, Evelyna Kay, 6, helped her mom, Beatrice Ekwa-Ekoko, offer dandelion tea during yesterday's public hearing at Hamilton City Hall on the city's plan to reduce pesticide use. Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator.

No comments:

Post a Comment