Take Action! 13-year Old Takes to the Web to Just Say “No” to Pesticides


[Local Context: Many towns, cities, and counties in north America are banning the use of cosmetic chemicals on lawn and gardens. In our local, so-called “progressive community” our city and county lawns, parks, golf courses and ball fields are saturated with poisons and not managed organically… to the detriment of our collective health. We have the world’s first organic brewpub, we were the first county to ban GMO plants and roadside spraying, our co-op sells only organic produce, several of our wineries are organic and biodynamic pioneers, our environmental centers have brought world attention to the destruction of the redwood forests, yet our children and pets roll around on chemical-saturated grass, our school kids play in poison, and the Big Box colonizers and locally-owned home improvement stores sell thousands of gallons of expensive and unnecessary chemical treatments every month. What’s wrong with this picture? -DS]

A thirteen-year old girl in a Northern Virginia suburb has recently launched her own campaign to urge her neighbors to stop spraying pesticides, and we want you to do the same! With a growing body of scientific evidence proving that pesticides threaten the public’s health by increasing the risk of cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, birth defects, reproductive problems and more, there is an urgent need for pesticide reform at all levels, and everyone can do their part!

The message: “Never fear, it’s not too late to change our ways and go organic! There are millions of ways to keep your yards looking great without using pesticides.”

The young girl’s campaign began as a school project that focused on cleaning up her local environment. However, she became increasingly concerned about the amount of lawn chemicals and mosquito sprays that were being used in her community and turned into a full blown effort to reduce toxic pesticide use. As part of this effort, she distributed 200 of Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Free Lawn Door Hangers in her neighborhood and learned everything she could about the dangers of toxic pesticides and how easy it is go “go organic.”

The culmination of her project has been turned into a short video (shot by her talented eleven-year old brother), in which she urges her community to switch to pesticide-free! In the video she quotes scientific studies on health effects associated with pesticides and also interviews a neighbors who have already vowed to keep pesticides out of their yards to demonstrate the how and why pesticide-free is the way to be.

Young people all across the country are standing up for pesticide reform, with new policies being adopted all over the country in response to citizen action and demands for stricter pesticide regulations. In Massachusetts carcinogenic pesticides or products that contain EPA List 1, Inerts of Toxicological Concern can no longer be applied to school grounds, and no pesticides can be applied for purely aesthetic reasons. In Connecticut, pesticides cannot be used on day care center turf, or on school grounds for kindergarten through 8th grade. In Branford, CT all of the town’s playing fields, parks, and public green spaces are managed without the use of pesticides. For a more extensive list of examples see Beyond Pesticides activists tools pages.

What you can do?
Beyond Pesticides has tons of resources to help you make your neighborhood a model community:
• Distribute door-knob hangers. We have door knob hangers for toxic-free lawns for pest management in apartments and homes that you can download. You can request the first 25 lawn door knob hangers for free, and there is space on each hanger for you to put a business card, sticker or your own information, if you wish to include it.
• Display a Pesticide Free Zone Sign. Proudly show your community you support pesticide-free lawn care! You can order them at our online store.
• Pledge your yard, park or other community or business-managed green space as organically managed.
• Start your own local movement. We have several fact sheets available to help you organize in your community: “Calling All Activists,”Preparing a Campaign” and “Getting the Message Across” are some good ones.
• Create your own video. Tell us why or how you have gone pesticide-free, demonstrate your outreach efforts or find any other way to send the pesticide-free message, send it to us and we’ll put it on our website!
• And, most importantly, let us know! Tell us what you’re doing to help stop or reduce pesticides in your community or ask us if are stumped for ideas. We talk to people every day who, like you, want to change things in their communities. Call us at 202-543-5450, send us an email at info@beyondpesticides.org, or post a note to our facebook page.

“Do your part to in making our community a healthier and safer place to live and just say ‘No’ to pesticides!”