In 1972, the federal government banned the use of the pesticide DDT for agricultural use in the US. At the time, many species of birds (including the Bald Eagle) were on the path to extinction, and DDT was considered the culprit.
Not surprisingly, farmers were outraged. They were convinced that DDT was their only means of controlling the devastating effects of grasshoppers and other common pests. They were equally certain that DDT was not responsible for all the environmental ills attributed to it.
Decades later, the ban has proven to be justified as most species of birds have dramatically rebounded.
Now we’re facing a similar situation. Only this time the pesticide is Neonicotinoid, a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine. These insecticides created by Shell and Bayer are now the most widely-used in the world. And they are believed to be related to the colony collapse disorder resulting in the disappearance of billions of honey bees, which is why Neonicotinoids were recently banned throughout the European Union.
Of course, agribusiness and chemical companies are outraged. They are aggressively fighting a similar ban in the US by saying their scientific evidence doesn’t support such a ban.
If they’re right, the makers of Neonicotinoids could unnecessarily see their profits suffer. We could also see modest reductions in crop yields. But if they’re wrong, we could see the end of the honey bee and a near total collapse of food production.
What would you do?