Overuse of pesticides harms bees, people

*Overuse of pesticides harms bees, people *Time for society to start using its heart *Conservatives
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Overuse of pesticides harms bees, people

In early June, I saw a report on a Halfmoon beekeeper, Paul Rickard, who lost his hive and felt that living near Home Depot had something to do with it.

He spoke of flowers sold there grown with neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics”) and that they were poison to bees. Seeing his bees stumbling around and dying was definitely alarming. I went online and learned a lot about neonics. Developed in the 1990s, they came into heavy use in the 2000’s because they were deemed a safer type of pesticides.

By 2006, beehive Colony Collapse Disorder had become a big problem. Since then, studies have pointed to neonics as the culprit. And it seems that in their widespread and heavy use, bees aren’t just confused and not returning to the hive, but they can be outright poisoned, as Paul Rickard’s bees were.

Plants grown with neonics may have a little marker in their soil but bees can’t read. A 2014 study found that 51 percent of garden plants sold in Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are grown with neonics. Thus, it is conceivable that flowers at Home Depot and those bought by unsuspecting gardeners in the area could figure in the nearby bee deaths.

Bees are the good guys. Besides producing honey, their rituals of pollination make possible as much as one third of our food. I once saw a program where the people of a village were trying to pollinate a key crop because of no bees, and they had to give up; it was futile.

Pesticide usage has grown exponentially since 2001. But if pesticides are so necessary for food crops, then why are there more and more organic food options? Lawn and garden chemicals like neonics and Roundup are marketed to be the home gardener’s best friend.

Isn’t this overkill? Do we really need perfect lawns and flowers?

The grassroots efforts to save bees are key because it seems that we can’t rely on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment. The losers are beneficial insects like bees, and ultimately, us.

Kathy Boyajy

Burnt Hills

Time for society to start using its heart

Congratulations to The Gazette on its continued first-class coverage. This past week (June 21-27) was no exception.

“Shen grad is baseball’s first openly gay active professional.” An extremely well-written piece included the uplifting reaction of his teammates. This was trumped by the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex unions. After all, it’s not important how we love or who we love, but that we love.

Charleston, S.C., Mother Emmanuel AME Church — scene of a racially motivated murder of nine church members. Your editorial cartoon depicting a German SS waving the Swastika flag was particularly telling in light of the debate over the removal of Confederate battle flags.

Our lifeguard at the “Y” summed it up: “Removing the battle flags won’t accomplish much until the hearts of people change.”

Not as man sees does God see. For man judges by appearances, but God sees the human heart. We Americans pride ourselves on our generosity of spirit and our good-heartedness.

I think it’s time for us to search our hearts and clean up our acts.

Richard F. Jones

Schenectady

Conservatives didn’t deserve unfair label

I write in response to Frank Elfland’s July 1 letter to the editor.

In his letter, he makes what I consider to be a narrow-minded comments on “conservative” political types. In Mr. Elfland’s words, “much of what conservatives believe is emotional and, for the most part, mean-spirited. Logic is difficult for them.” Obviously, Mr. Elfand has no qualms about making blanket statements.

I grew up as a Democratic voter and I was a party volunteer in the town that I grew up in. My views politically have not really changed too much in the 20-plus years since that time. Yet by today’s standards, I could be viewed, at least in some regards, as a “conservative” voter. The political and social climate has changed that much. So, according to Mr. Elfland’s considerate words, I lack the ability to apply logic and have a mean spirit. I beg to differ, Mr. Elfland.

I have close family and friends who may disagree with political views I hold, they being more “liberal” on some issues, but I respect their views and would not label them as “illogical.” Political viewpoints most often develop through personal experience, and all of us have different life experiences that change our views. If you listen to people, often you will find logic in their viewpoint based on their circumstances, and in most cases come to some sort of reasonable understanding of one another’s viewpoint.

I do find it interesting that Mr. Elfland lives in a town, Charlton, and a county, Saratoga, that has been almost exclusively run by Republican/conservative political types for many years. So, Mr. Elfland, you choose to live in a town and county run by people you view, from a political standpoint, to be illogical and mean. Why? I would assume, in part, because they are well-run communities.

I would advise you to take a look in the mirror before sending in another letter referring to those you disagree with as illogical or overly emotional.

Daniel Casey

Charlton

Pope, like Jesus, acts to protect his people

Re June 29 letter, “Pope should stick to religious issues” by Don Cazer: What would Jesus do in these times of climate chaos and endless wars? It’s always surprising to me that many Christians think their religious leaders should stay away from political issues, when those issues seriously and negatively impact people, particularly poor people.

Christ wasn’t a Christian, but he was definitely outspoken and radical in his approach toward established religion and its leaders, and it got him crucified. Do these Christians who don’t want the pope speaking of political issues just want him as a figurehead or “Sunday Christian,” staying in the Vatican, administering absolution and blessings and Communion, and giving the church good photo-ops?

Some of these are his duties, but the religious who are called to serve Christ and God are also called to advocate for and defend victims of injustice and hatred.

Many probably thought Rev. Martin L. King, Dorothy Day and Rev. Clementa Pinckney should have stayed away from politics, too.

Would Christ trust the overwhelming majority of the world’s top scientists? Or would he just pray? Would he beseech us to do whatever we can to preserve his creation? Or would he tell us climate change and warming of the planet was inevitable and there was nothing we could do about it? Would he ask us to stop allowing selfishness and greed to rule and be true stewards of his creation?

What would Jesus do? What should Pope Francis do?

Terri Roben

Glenville

Grateful for concerts at Yankee Hill Lock

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank those that attended any or all of the Putman Porch Music evenings at Yankee Hill Lock — Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.

The vision for the series of evenings was to bring local musicians together in the atmosphere of the historic Putman Canal Store. What was produced during those five events exceeded that idea through the enthusiasm and talent of those that attended.

Each evening was different, in that the songs and some of the people performing them changed. But the real essence remained the same — that of a small, dedicated community of people who enjoy playing music. We are lucky enough to have had them playing here on site.

At times it seemed the building and grounds themselves sang along, with the old Erie Canal locks on one side and the Mohawk River on the other. Returning serenades of eastbound trains inspired a few wisecracks, as well as a few recognizable tunes to be played, and the geese seldom seemed to mind.

I’d like to especially thank the following for being a part of this monthlong programming: Ron and Wanda, Olaf, Susan, Irene, Sarah, Peter, Byron, Mary Lou, Kate, Dylan, Halldor and, of course, Daryl.

My apologies if I have not mentioned you; there were a good number of people that really provided talent, as well as excitement in these evenings, and I may not have gotten your name. Rest assured, though, it was a wonderful time, and thank you for being a part of it.

David Brooks

Fort Hunter

The writer is the education coordinator for the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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