Jim McKenney via pbs pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
Sun, 02 Feb 2020 09:53:59 PST
 Thanks for another great read, Tim. 
Jim McKenney
    On Sunday, February 2, 2020, 12:25:42 PM EST, Tim Eck <timeck17582@gmail.com> wrote:  
 OK, I was going to let the issue drop but it seems a further explanation is
in order.  As I mentioned, I was raised on an organic farm and apple
orchard (although my parents had to work at a local university to pay the
bills).  This was in the era of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring".  Things
were much different at that time and many institutions have been created
since to address these problems - institutions that are being undermined by
the current administration.
I appreciate how thorough these institutions are as I am following very
closely the progress of the transgenic American chestnut where the wheat
rust resistance oxalic oxidase gene was transplanted into the American
chestnut tree which was destroyed by the chestnut blight the first half of
the last century.  I have personally been involved in traditional backcross
breeding efforts to use Chinese chestnut blight resistance genes to confer
blight resistance in an orchard of nearly ten thousand BC1 American
chestnut trees that I planted with the help of many volunteers.  Nearly two
decades ago when I began this effort, the idea of using herbicides and
insecticides was repulsive to me on many levels.  With the input and
education from foresters and agriculture professors, I gradually came to a
different understanding and I could never have taken care of ten thousand
trees without the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides.  As it turns
out, the genetically engineered trees are a much better success than those
from traditional breeding.
Now, much as I would prefer organic gardening as a way of life, it is
mostly a lie we tell ourselves - it is a way for the privileged to express
their enlightenment and assuage their guilt.  I will believe corporations
are people when Texas executes one, and I will believe organic farming will
feed the world when the grocery store prices are lower than for
conventional farming.
Sadly, the utility of agribusiness is a result of the lack of social policy
on population control.  But you can't blame academia and agribusiness for
trying to feed an out-of-control population with innovations like herbicide
resistant and insecticidal corn and soy, golden rice, photorespiration
resistant crops and other genetically engineered products.  People are
clearly the most successful and destructive invasive species the world has
seen in hundreds of millions of years and they will destroy the natural
environment with their food crops, whether organic or not.  And yes,
survival of the fittest guarantees that those who voluntarily do their part
to reduce the population explosion will become extinct, resulting in a very
ineffectual protest.  This is indeed a tragedy of the commons writ large.
Another point I was trying to make is that social media and the internet as
a whole allow people to choose their answers from "like-minded-individuals"
- the ultimate confirmation bias.  Whether you believe organic gardening
will save mankind, vaccines cause autism, pizza-gate, or the world is flat,
you can find confirmation on the internet and you will never have to face
new ideas.  Some political pundits have even suggested that social media
has destroyed knowledge to such an extent that the norms of free speech are
no longer sufficient for a democracy.
My only suggestion is that academia has far more integrity in its
structure, although far from perfect, so ask an agriculture professor.
Also, Wikipedia is far better than social media since it has a modicum of
peer review (and you should make monetary contributions if you use it).
Also worth mentioning for those unaware of the difference, the courts are
far more decisive and arbitrary than academia.  A verdict is often made
with no conclusive scientific evidence and a court has no obligation to
separate causation from correlation in determining liability.  For this
reason, a pesticide applicator who uses many products can be awarded
damages from a product that had no causal relationship to the injury.
Also, the courts WILL reach a verdict while the scientific studies come
back with varying degrees of uncertainty and even the meta-studies remain
inconclusive.  This has been the case with glyphosate.

On Sat, Feb 1, 2020 at 9:01 PM SARAH-LISTS <sarah-lists@suiattle.net> wrote:

> Mike, I also am in TOTAL agreement with what you say!
> Sarah
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Jan 31, 2020, at 16:04, Mike Rummerfield <mikerumm@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Jo&Greg,
> > Thank you for your response and support.  It means so much to me.
> >
> > I was very nervous and anxious about sending any response at all to that
> > emailer (I'm trying not to use names in order not to be accusatory toward
> > any individual.  Perhaps this is a mistake).  I thought I could possibly
> > even be banished from the PBS email list, but I just can't be quiet any
> > longer.
> >
> > I'm not a scientist.  I'm a gardener, both by vocation (now retired) and
> > avocation with a keen interest in a healthy planet.
> >
> > I just wish more people would stop to think about the results of their
> > decisions, and I wish I had the intellectual capacity to address this
> issue
> > succinctly, articulately, convincingly, and irrefutably (fat chance of
> > that!).  It all seems so overwhelming.
> >
> > Interestingly, the two emails I've received in support of my response
> have
> > both come from Canadians.
> > Yay Canada!
> >
> > Thank you again,
> > Mike
> >
> >> On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 3:22 PM Jo&Greg <sun-coast-pearl@telus.net>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Mike--
> >> Many thanks for your viewpoint. You said it better than I could.
> >> Jo Canning
> >> Vancouver Island
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: pbs <pbs-bounces@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net> On Behalf Of Mike
> >> Rummerfield
> >> Sent: Friday, January 31, 2020 2:20 PM
> >> To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net>
> >> Subject: Re: [pbs] Herbicides
> >>
> >> If, as you say, " it's important to look at the details wherein is
> >> contained the devil and you clearly cannot obtain accurate facts from
> >> "like-minded individuals" on social media", then it seems that all the
> >> research you've done and presented is from "like-minded individuals",
> and
> >> industry sponsored and published papers.  It only takes a cursory
> search to
> >> find the refutation of your arguments for the 'safety' of herbicides,
> and
> >> glyphosate in particular.  You could start with non Hodgkins
> lymphoma/Mayo
> >> clinic; plus the multitude of lawsuits involving individuals with non
> >> Hodgkins lymphoma and Bayer, the current owner of Roundup;  Agent
> >> Orange/Vietnam veterans;  lawsuits won in court resulting in Monsanto
> >> having to withdraw their claim that glysophate binds with soil
> particles,
> >> making it benign; The World Health Organization/glyphosate;
> >> California/glyphosate; glyphosate resistant Superweeds (although I
> suppose
> >> you could argue for Superhippeastrums) ; the list goes on and on
> >> and.....................
> >>
> >> The "organic chemicals" you refer to are organic in the sense that they
> >> contain carbon and hydrogen in their makeup  (most organic compounds
> >> contain at least one carbon–hydrogen bond, hence the name hydrocarbon).
> >> This misleading argument has for many years fed into the confusion over,
> >> and the difference between, organic chemistry and organic standards
> >> regarding food production and the environment.  Though they share the
> word
> >> 'organic', they are completely different subjects, though obviously
> >> intertwined.
> >>
> >> You say, "Glyphosate, for one is the 800 pound gorilla because it is so
> >> safe and useful".  What is this statement based on?  Is glyphosate
> useful?
> >> Yes (if you are willing to ignore the downsides).  Is it effective at
> >> killing some weeds?  Yes.  Is it convenient and easy to use?  Yes, very.
> >> Is it safe? * No *(see above).  "There are approximately 280 million
> >> pounds of glyphosate applied to 298 million acres annually in
> agricultural
> >> settings (MRD, 2012-2016).Apr 18, 2019"  This is *per year*.
> >> Follow the money.
> >>
> >> All the rationalizations for the continued use of herbicides do not make
> >> it safe.
> >>
> >> Denial and diversion have not proven to be effective strategies in
> matters
> >> of life.
> >>
> >> Don, I think the relevant issue here is not whether Hippeastrum is
> >> resistant to glyphosate (Roundup) or not.  It is whether glyphosate is
> safe
> >> to use or not - not just safe for the Hippeastrum, but safe for other
> >> living things, including us.
> >> All areas of the world have their own set of weeds that are difficult to
> >> control.  Yours are bermuda grass and nut sedge.  In my area, two of
> them
> >> are quack grass and canary grass, and I detest them; there are others.
> >> Just try arguing with our ubiquitous Himalayan blackberry - you quickly
> >> become a torn, shredded, bloody mess.  There are other strategies to
> >> dealing with these pests other than the application of glyphosate,
> though
> >> they may be less convenient and easy.
> >>
> >> I guess this all comes down to priorities - the short term convenience
> and
> >> ease of use vs. the longer term promotion of life.
> >>
> >> Most sincerely,
> >> Mike
> >>
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