September 27 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of the famous book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson. She gave the world an important warning in 1962. It led to the very necessary ban of DDT and other highly toxic chemicals. But the system didn’t change. New pesticides were introduced, toxic business went on as usual and the use went up. Pesticide reduction is a myth so far, the worldwide sales are higher than ever. The EU has not reduced pesticide use since 1990 and is the world’s leading pesticide exporter. We are at Peak Pesticide and Silent Spring is almost here. We urgently need a paradigm change away from pesticides to avert a real biodiversity crisis and create real food security. We need to strongly reduce pesticide use and must start right now. Therefore we announce a Rachel Carson Pesticide Action month. We do this action as PAN Europe and members, together with BeeLife, Birdlife, Corporate Europe Observatory, Compassion in World Farming, the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe and Good Food Good Farming.
“Man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
“We’re at Peak Pesticide and Silent Spring is almost here.”
(PAN Europe, September 2022)
Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology, University of Sussex:
“Global biodiversity is in crisis, with extinction rates running at more than 1,000 times natural levels and likely to accelerate. Insects in particular are undergoing catastrophic declines, yet these small creatures are vital to the functioning of ecosystems and to our own survival. A major cause of their decline are the plethora of pesticides applied to farmland and in our streets and gardens. Rachel Carson would weep if she were alive to see how much worse this has become since she published Silent Spring. We urgently need to move towards truly sustainable farming systems, and bring an end to all uses of pesticides in gardens and towns.”
Guy Pe'er, PhD, Conservation biologist, Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research:
“We have lost 55% of farmland birds and 39% of grassland butterflies in Europe since 1990 alone. While we see a 300% increase in the volume of pollinator-dependent crops since 1961, we are seeing a rapid loss of pollination services, especially by wild pollinators. These numbers may seem staggering, but scientists estimate speed of losses to be vastly under-estimated. We know almost nothing about most invertebrates, and we know particularly little about soil organisms. Yet we do know that we are emptying vast tracts of land from life. Through monocultures, urban infrastructure and transport systems, we generate land that is as devoid of life as we can. We poison pests to maximise production, but at the same time killing most other organisms trying to survive in the lands we have taken over. Even cow-shit bears no life on it, as deworming agents and antibiotics kill life in animals’ stomachs, later penetrating into the soil and our water.
Silent Spring is expanding to a silent life on Earth. Our pesticides, among other means to combat nature, poison us too. Not only the food we eat, but also poisoning the land and water, the insects we depend on, and the soil that nourishes our crops. We are risking our future on Earth: we cannot produce on a dead land.”
The dates of the events will be regularly updated on our campaign page.
Contact PAN Europe,Tjerk Dalhuisen, tjerk [at] pan-europe.info, +31 6 14699126