23 C
Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Fly free from toxic chemical use

Latest News

Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

Other News

Ballina Dragons invite public to have a go

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is having a come and try day on Saturday 6 March, on the Richmond River at Ballina.

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.

Housing affordability on agenda at Ballina

With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

Interview with Janet Swain

Janet Swain is 14. She’s in love with the tragic and brilliant cellist Jacquleine DuPré. But one day her mother arrives home with a bassoon.

Da mountain

Gisela Stieglitz, Wooyung There is a perfectly good bitumen road going up a rainforest gully; it doesn’t even have potholes!...

Facebook fails

Adrian Gattenhof, Mullumbimby American spoilt brat Zuckerberg may have done adults around the world a great favour with his screamy...

Raptor. Photo Mary Gardner.

From the days of the dinosaurs, birds have been an integral part of our world.

People have always watched and listened to them and members of a wise culture would also be learning from them. But are we?

It’s been 55 years since US biologist Rachel Carson released Silent Spring, describing a season in the near future when birds stopped singing.

It alerted millions of people to bio-accumulation: how levels of toxins build in the bodies of birds and other wildlife.

Citizens supported government regulation of chemicals and pollutants, launching the modern environment movement. 

Thirty-odd years later another seminal work, Our Stolen Future, explained that the latest kinds of pesticides and industrial chemicals might not kill off birds directly but might actually be worse.

Author Theo Colborn identified endocrine disruptors: chemicals changing the hormones of birds and other wildlife. The chemicals cause sex changes and infertility in not only the current generation, but in the unborn, and the not yet conceived.

They make it hard for youngsters to mature properly. They shorten lifespans and make day-to-day life difficult.

Colborn explained that the same chemicals are also affecting people. She pointed to increasing rates of thyroid diseases, metabolism problems and various cancers.

Time to learn lessons

For all our bird watching and admiration, how serious are we at learning our lessons?

Right now at supermarkets we can buy our favourite endocrine disruptor: glyphosate, a herbicide that is now banned in EU.

We can even bring it home in a single-use plastic bag.

We also use another class of these disruptors called perfluorinated chemicals in fire-fighting foam, water resistant fabrics and solar panels.

The global perfluorinated chemical industry is set to be worth US$25 billion by 2020. 

What if, for every bird you see each day, you did something about our shared future?

What Carson and Colborn advocated for was the precautionary principle and you and I can do that too.

Let’s insist that industry and government first prove that those chemicals are safe and, if in doubt, question, limit, curtail. If in doubt, wait. If in doubt, stop.

Find out more. Read the books (available by interlibrary loan). Check out the North American website Toxic Free Future and the Australian National Toxic Network.

Write to the prime minister and every politician you can. Tell them you object to their proposed bill to deregulate new chemicals that come into this country.

Tell them we do not support easing the regulation of chemicals. Remind them to put the burden of proof back onto the industry.

It took a while to come to this and will take a while for us to come back from the edge. But let’s reclaim stolen futures, ours and that of wildlife.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Lifting the lid on plans to build a retirement village in Ewingsdale

The letter sent to the residents of Ewingsdale last year by holiday park owner Ingenia seemed fairly innocuous at first glance...

Byron’s new road: the good and not so

After more than 30 years of talk, debate, disagreements, tears and political gridlock, Byron Bay has a new road to divert traffic from the CBD to the southern end of town.

Interview with Janet Swain

Janet Swain is 14. She’s in love with the tragic and brilliant cellist Jacquleine DuPré. But one day her mother arrives home with a bassoon.