A Second Silent Spring?

By Anna Lappé


We hate to bring more anxiety-inducing news your way, but we are well on our way to a second silent spring. The culprit? Industrial agriculture or, more specifically, neonictinoids (also known as neonics), a widely-used class of insecticides. 

An explosive new peer-reviewed study co-authored by our colleague Kendra Klein, PhD at Friends of the Earth came out last week with the staggering conclusion that neonics have caused US agriculture to become 48 times more toxic to insects than 25 years ago. Neonics aren’t just killing “pests,” they are killing our precious pollinators and harming all of the animals that rely on them as food. As we found out earlier this year, we are on the verge of a global “insect apocalypse” that will have devastating impacts all along the food chain.  

Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be that way. We can farm better. Research shows that “organic farms support up to 50% more pollinating species and help other beneficial insects flourish [and] by eliminating neonics and some 900 other active pesticide ingredients, they protect human health, too.”

The study, and our oped in The Guardian, are getting a lot of attention. We’re hoping it will help build political will for the regulation of these terrible bug-killers and that, like the European Union, we may soon see significant restrictions on their use.