Friday, 1 October 2010

Victoria and the coming chemical kill-off of locusts....wildlife & other insects

Eris O'Brien

Further to my previous post on Eris O'Brien and the locusts, Eris was part of a segment on the locusts on Victoria's Stateline to-night. Eris uses the term locust migration instead of locust plague.  He also speaks of other options.  He spoke of the experience of long-ago farmers in the Wimmera district who used repellent methods other than chemicals to deal with the periodic extremes of numbers of locusts.

I find amazing some omissions from the public information.

Firstly, we are not told exactly how organic farmers - agricultural and horticultural - are managing or what their views are.  Organic food production is on the rise.  There is an increasing demand for it from consumers.  I would like to know what organic food producers are planning to do in their part of the food cycle.  It is said there is not ready availability of organically suitable pesticides.  Is this correct?  Will these types of insecticides be in widespread or limited use?  What assurances do we have to their safety both for humans, for wildlife and beneficial insects?

Secondly, I have not heard from any food activists (ones that you hear from in regard to genetic modification of food or in  discussion about ethical consumerism) of their views on the chemicals about to enter our food chain.

Nitrothion 1000 appears to be the chemical of choice for killing the locusts and I have above published a document which can be downloaded in this regard.

On Statewide, all sorts of assurances were given:  there will be buffer zones; no spraying near waterways, beehive sites, and environmentally sensitive areas - so we are told.

The manner of conveying this information was brief and offhand.  Where Eris O'Brien is clear and detailed in explaining the situation from his viewpoint, the proponents and deliverers of death by insecticide to locusts and, I believe, other wildlife were not trying to convince anyone really.  Their words were placed - as far as I could assess - as an afterthought and merely as a matter of form  There was little or no attempt to explain, convince and assure.  And the whole Stateline segment appeared to have the imprimatur of John Brumby, Premier of Victoria, who participated in the beginning of the segment.  He did the reassuring with a well spoken version of  "she'll be right - we have the sprays" attitude.

The only one who put forward a point of view based on reason, experience, and science was Eris O'Brien.  He was convincing.  A pity the dominant view couldn't be bothered.  The dominant view clearly doesn't believe it has to convince anyone - and that everyone will just fall in behind their point of view and their execution of what is required to do a chemical kill-off of the locusts.  I would advise them to think again. I for one am not convinced.

I am new to Eris O'Brien's arguments - and, at the moment, I find his argument convincing.  Most convincing indeed!

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