In the mid-1940s, in a desperate attempt to feed hungry soldiers and citizens of the world after the catastrophes of the first and second world wars, farmers and researchers alike gathered together to invent and sell the first official, man-made, pesticides. Although the implementation and creation of these dangerous chemicals proved to Mother Nature and her fellow comrades that human beings are ingenious, clever creatures capable of finding ways to feed themselves, eventually, in less than ten years time, the effects of these chemicals such as the increasing levels of cancer amongst humans and insect resistance to these chemicals, led to the creation of the current imbalance of the Earth’s ecosystem.
Life and Death in the World of Pesticide Use
Prior to the development of pesticides and poisons such as DDT, it was very common for human beings to control their environment using simple tools made of wood, stone, and so on. Depending on how well farmers knew the land that they were raising their crops on, though these so-called primitive methods were rather time-consuming, overall, they were safer for the environment.
However, as soon as these chemicals were introduced to modern agriculture, especially since most of them were used in areas where it was easy for them to get into local reservoirs and other bodies of water during rainstorms, not only did these chemicals damaged the pH system(s) of the soil that they touched, they also caused an increase in damage in human cells. According to Rachel Carson, author of the book that started the first American, environmental movement, Silent Spring, because pesticides are dangerous to both humans and the environment around them, “They should not be called ‘insecticides’, but ‘biocides’ “(13). In other words, not only do pesticides have the ability to create damage amongst insects and other pests, but also to whatever else it touches, including the insides of the human body (often unintentionally). Given that Mother Nature herself can only grow and adapt at a certain rate, depending on how much pesticide is used in a particular area, even humans who create the pesticides have a certain finite of tolerance towards the effects of these chemicals. Unless if they can manage to adapt as quickly as their fellow frenemies, the insects, it is only a matter of time until humans can find a way to use safer alternatives to synthetic pesticides.
Despite the fact that humans over the years have managed to find safer alternatives to using pesticides, because insects, like bacteria, have the ability to quickly spread information and become resistance to certain chemicals, not only are they proven to be a threat to the crops that they come into contact with, but also to the animals and (to an extent), the people that either directly or indirectly consume them. According to WGNH Educational Foundation, “Rachel Carson predicted such resistance in her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring…Since the 1980s, some 13 percent of crops is being lost — and more pesticides are being used.” As such, because these insects have found ways to resistant to pesticides, until humans find ways so that pesticides may one day become obsolete, it would only be a matter of time until the Earth is no longer a hospitable planet.
Because of the rise in the use of pesticides over the years, not only have humans risked destroying other living creatures, as well as the environment around them, but also themselves as well. Until we make synthetic insecticides obsolete, we are better off taking care of our pests through more “traditional means (pulling weeds out of the ground for instance).” For better or worse, the Earth’s ecosystems are “give-and-take” systems.
Works Cited Carson, Rachel L. Silent Spring. Fawcett Crest Book, 1967. WGBH Educational Foundation. "Pesticide Resistance." PBS Public Broadcasting Service, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/1/l_101_02.html