The windmill effect: have the seeds been sown?
On the 26th March 2013, “the windmill effect” was published on hubpages.com. The article was written as a theoretical possibility. Extreme, maybe…
On the 28th March 2013, the Press & Journal published an article entitled
‘Schmallenburg virus confirmed in Scotland.’ This is part of the article:
‘Scottish livestock farmers had their worst fears realised yesterday after antibodies for the midge-borne Schmallenburg virus (SBV) were confirmed in eight dairy cattle at the Barony campus near Dumfries, of rural college SRUC.
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said it was a bitterly disappointing development but of no surprise given the virus had been circulating last year as far north as Northumbria and Cumbria.’
In a separate article, the UK’s bird population continues to decline. Starlings declined by 16% from the previous year, house sparrows declined by 17%, Bullfinches by 20%, and the Dunnock by 13%.
The list of endangered species grows year after year as the bird population declines, but in recent years the rate of decline has increased.
On the 5th April 2013 the Press & Journal published an article entitled ‘Pesticides ban urged by MPs to protect bees.’ This is part of the article:
‘The UK Government must ban pesticides linked to the decline in bees and other pollinating insects, MPs urged today.
Ministers were accused of taking an “extraordinary complicated approach” to protecting bees and insects which perform an important role pollinating crops, following their failure to support European Commission proposals to impose a two-year ban on insecticides known as neonicotinoids.’
The article continued stating ‘DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has repeatedly questioned the EU’s touted ban and last week said more research was needed.’ But the government has called for ‘greater openness from pesticide companies, who use the arguments of commercial sensitivity to keep data secret, so that their research into the environmental impacts of chemicals could be scrutinised.’
This is where I do get a little annoyed. This basically states that the combination of chemicals used in these pesticides are not known to those who would protect our environment, yet the use of such chemicals is permitted.
The insecticide manufacturers have done tests, and state there is no adverse impacts on bees, but if this is true, and the chemicals used do not have an environmental impact, then surely the government should be given the information to verify it.
Insects carry disease, they are a general pest to humans and other animal life, but they have a very important part to play in the general life cycle. But man made solutions to insect problems have inherently done more harm to the environment than good. After all, if the insecticide needs to be strong enough to kill off the hardy insects such as the midge and mosquito, it only stands to reason that it will also kill the less hardy insects such as bees, butterfly’s and ladybugs.
But still we chose this option over natures answer.
If the bird population continues to diminish, we will have no option but to use pesticides, pesticides that are strong enough to kill all types of insects. Once we have started down this slippery slope there will be no turning back.
I have to agree with Joan Walley’s (MP for Stoke-on Trent) comment on the subject, ‘If farmers had to pollinate fruit and vegetables without the help of insects it would cost hundreds of millions of pounds and we would all be stung by rising food prices.’
Either that or we would have no option but to plant genetically modified crops, and we all know how people feel about GM foods!
The world bee population is already in decline, if a two year ban on certain products will help the bee population and give time for more tests on the effects of these pesticides, surely it is not too much to ask, is it?
The windmill effect, maybe extreme, and totally fictional, but all the instigators are there. We started the decline of birds by removing their natural habitat to enable us to build our homes and cities. Our transport systems have also had an impact, now we are deliberately building machines, machines that kill birds, in the middle of their habitats. Not only are we doing everything possible destroy their living environment and constantly put deadly obstacles in their way, we use pesticides to kill the insects, reducing their food supply.
Just as the carbon cycle is being overloaded by excessive production of CO2 and the constant reduction in forestation, the cycle of life is being threatened. To lose one or two species of birds is a tragedy; to take the birds out of the food chain altogether would be devastating to both the environment and the human race.
The windmill effect, is fictional, I for one would like it to stay that way.