Wildlife populations hit new lows - how to avoid Silent Spring?

Rachel Carsons Silent Spring is dangerously close. Two new studies show the terrible decline in animal life in Europe and the world. The International Union for Conservation of Nature reported this week that over a third of hoverfly species in Europe are threatened with extinction. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022 concludes that wildlife populations – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish – have on average seen a devastating 69% drop since 1970. So we will have to act fast to avoid further disaster and a collapse of biodiversity and food production.

The decline in wildlife is caused by deforestation, habitat loss and climate change, but also by poisoning the environment. The example of the hoverflies is a dramatic example for they play an important role in agriculture as predators of pests. The Silent Spring Rachel Carson warned us for in her 1962 book is dangerously close. More than ever, we have to act. Not only to stop climate change, deforestation, and habitat loss, but also to ban pesticides.

The good news here is that citizens stand up and reclaim health and restore nature and biodiversity. For too long the chemical and pesticide industry had a free hand in poisoning our environment. The European Commission has formally accepted the Citizens Initiative' Save Bees and Farmers, that calls on the Commission to propose legal measures to phase out synthetic pesticides by 2035, to restore biodiversity and to support farmers in this transition.

The main representative of Save Bees and Farmers, Martin Dermine from PAN Europe said: “It is a strong democratic signal to EU and national decision-makers to listen to citizens and move away from toxic pesticides.”

The biodiversity crisis is very urgent and deserves the same attention as the climate crisis. Without biodiversity, healthy soils and clean water there will be no future for farmers and no food security. To address this crisis we have to free ourselves of the bonds of the chemical industry, that tries to make us believe that we need toxic chemicals to grow food. ‘In order to feed the world, we have to poison it’, seems to be their conviction. Many of the proponents of industrial farming resonate this belief. But we can and have to do much better than that. A pesticide free agriculture is both possible and urgent. That is why we organise the Rachel Carson Pesticide Action Month. That is why it is so important that farmers, scientists, citizens, policy makers speak out.

 

Read more: 

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, LIFE programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.