It’s Time to Break the Pesticide Habit
By Jenny Hirsch
The sun is finally out, and children and pets are innocently enjoying backyards. Children and pets do not know about the dangers of lawn pesticides, but as adults we are responsible for educating ourselves and protecting our families from undue exposure to these toxic chemicals.
My dog-walking business means that I cover many miles in different Rye neighborhoods each day. I smile when I walk by a home with a Rye Healthy Yard sign on the front lawn, but I grimace when I spot a cautionary yellow pesticide sign. It’s difficult to avoid all these yellow warning flags when they are so plentiful and properties so densely packed. Why, just why, are there so many pesticide signs sprouting up all over Rye despite the growing awareness and greater media coverage of the dangers they pose? Does the idea of a perfectly manicured green lawn outweigh the health of our families? To me, the answer is an obvious “no”.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health, “Pesticides are poisons and, unfortunately, they can harm more than just the pests for which they are targeted. Exposure to pesticides is linked to a range of serious illnesses and diseases in humans, from respiratory problems to cancer.”
These sad facts hit home on an intensely personal level for me these days, because my own family was intimately affected by cancer this year.
The truth is that modern life exposes us to many different chemical and environmental hazards on a daily basis. Much of it is out of our control. However, breaking the habit of using of lawn pesticides is firmly within our control.
Applying lawn pesticides is an unnecessary and outdated landscaping practice that must be changed for the sake of our community’s collective health. Today, families are embracing healthy lifestyle habits, including buying organic produce and following healthier diets. In fact, many people are willing to make whatever changes are necessary in the food department to safeguard their health. Adopting healthy landscaping practices and avoiding the use of lawn chemicals is just as important a step. The use of toxic lawn chemicals not only impacts your own health, but also affects the health of your family, neighborhood, and the community-at-large.
Take the time to research and learn about how to start treating your lawn naturally without the use of pesticides. The Rye Sustainability Committee has a lot of resources and programs to help you break the pesticide habit and make the switch to a healthy yard. Visit www.ryesustainability.com where you will find a directory of local landscapers who offer organic lawn care, answers to frequently asked questions, gardening tips and resources, and more. And don’t forget to take the Rye Healthy Yard Pledge and receive a free healthy yard sign while you’re at it.
I look forward to one day living in a community full of great-looking, healthy yards that are safe and enjoyable for everyone to walk by and play on.