Fifty years ago Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring. It was an early warning about the ecological impact of hazardous pesticide and chemicals. She noted the decrease in the number of birds and on investigation found that the eggs of the birds were not hatching. She established the link with this phenomenon to pesticides. Rachel Carson warned that spring associated with chirping of birds would be silent and beyond the birds, the pesticides and poisonous chemicals would affect humans too.

Over the past four decades, one has witnessed the increasing use of pesticides being promoted aggressively to farmers, vegetable and fruit growers, with no warnings about the adverse health effects associated with them. There has been systematic denial of unbiased information regarding the magnitude and the nature of acute, sub-acute and chronic poisoning due to pesticides. Farmers are never told about the effect on friendly, non-pest organisms and the emergence of pesticide resistance in the pests that they were allege to eliminate. Thus forcing repeated sprays resulted in increased costs as well as increased health hazards. It has always been propagated that these chemicals are safe and have been promoted as ‘medicine’ or ‘dawai’ for the crops. The aggressive unethical marketing by pesticide corporations, many of which also are in the business of pharmaceuticals and seeds, remains unchallenged by government agencies which are supposed to regulate them to protect people from harm.

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About Navdanya

Navdanya means “nine seeds” (symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity) and also the “new gift” (for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift – it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.

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