Thursday, April 24, 2008
Our Day In Court
Today in Santa Cruz, CA the court Judge, Paul Burdick by name, ruled to stop the state of CA from aerial spraying our city and county in an attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth. Boyfriend and I attended to hearing, it seemed like our civic duty to show up and help fill the courtroom and it was full. The CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) seem to think that the LBAM constitutes an emergency, a threat that could destroy crops and native plants alike. However for the 15 months that LBAM has been carefully monitored it would seem this is simply not true. Most of their doomsday facts come from extrapolating a single bad year in Australia, whose climate is not similar to the California Central Coast. From a personal point of view even though we supposedly live in the thick of the infestation none of our garden crops have shown any damage, cosmetic or otherwise. Although we have seen the Oak Moth, there has been no moth I could absolutely ID as LBAM. They did spray us in the fall. The planes thundered back and forth for three or so hours early in the night. More than one friend got caught inadvertently in the spray. Although we were assured the spray would be odorless, it was not and I could smell it all morning. I had a sore throat that lasted a couple days. Other people got quite ill, and some were hospitalized. The spray they are used and want to continue to employ is called Checkmate, it is a synthetic pheromone specific for the LBAM and works by confusing the male moth sufficiently that it does not mate. A big part of the problem is the toxicity of the inert ingredients as well as the plastic micro-capsule delivery system. The micro-capsule is tiny enough to enter the bloodstream through the lungs and stick around in the system for awhile, causing we are not sure what. It has been noticed, informally, in health care circles that were more cases of lung ailments this winter and more pneumonia, especially in the elderly. It was terribly exciting to be present when the judge ruled against the spray and to clap and to feel triumphant. We rushed home to call our friends who own Deep Roots Ranch in the south of the county, they were stressing about pasture and animals and John enjoyed giving glad tidings. Both us made the TV news as we came out of the courtroom, big media break. Governor Arnie, as in Schwarzenegger, as in the Terminator, has stayed the spraying for the whole state because of today's ruling, which is good, but the CDFA honcho, A.G. Kawamura is vowing to get the spray back on track ASAP. A victory, possibly not permanent, but a victory.