Friday, June 27, 2008

Environmental Efforts

NEW PALTZ — Village parks and green spaces are going organic in hopes that residents will follow suit and stop treating their lawns with inorganic chemicals.

Approval of new legislation that would stop the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides on village property is just a lawyerly tweak away from becoming law, according to Alice Andrews, a member of the village environmental commission and organizer of an organics task force.

Andrews was aghast when she learned about the potential harm that non-agricultural pesticides and herbicides can do to not only plant life but to pets and children as well.

Children spend more time cavorting on lawns and can absorb more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults. They're particularly vulnerable to such risks as cancer and neurological impairment because their organ systems are still developing.

Andrews had hoped to be able to propose legislation that would have banned or limited pesticide use for all village properties, but that plan appears to be dead in the water. Not only would it have been a hard sell for residents, but corporate interests could have taken legal action against the village.

"What we've decided is to try every other angle, especially education," she said.

To that end, the task force has created posters that urge residents to sign a petition urging Ulster County to ban pesticides.

Andrews said she hopes the village's Web site will soon have a page devoted to pesticides. With the passage of time, she hopes "social pressure" will do what formal legislation can't.

If you would like to sign our petition to ban pesticides, visit the site:

If you would like information on how to start a similar organic initiative in your own town, send me a message.

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