> it is interesting to compare medicine to agriculture and i appreciate
> steve's perspective with regard to sustainability - that it is better to
> try to minimize use of pesticides.
I fully agree that in order to get to the place you want to go, you MUST
begin from where you are, and this is just as true for knowledge &/or
behavior. You need an accurate map or concept of the overall terrain, at
least within the context of your beginning and end points, plus their
Farmers use pesticides to combat pests, and feel helpless without them.
I've been told "if weīre losing the battle WITH all the artillery we've got
as it stands; what will happen to us if you take that away." This is very
logical, but doesn't take into account the imbalances that were created by
fighting nature from the outside (i.e. using substances toxic to most all
forms of life), instead of working with it from within; by creating (and
populating) an environment that propitiates friendly life forms, which are
compatible with our own goals.
This brings us back to where we are and where weīre going. Farmers
dependant on toxic chemicals are NOT looking at how they got to that point
in the first place. That behavior was learned and is not consistent with
the major part of human evolution, and therefore is not really an integral
or essential element of human nature or of farming itself, as a human
activity. They (we all) were sold a "bill of goods" somewhere down the
line, we got off (and have gotten the whole world off) track, and for
myoptic, petty and corrupt (or at least ignorant) reasons.
In order for a farmer to be more likely to make the change, the concepts
underlying sustainable agriculture, the reason "organic", or biological
technology does work, must be explained fully. Even so, it will be
necessary for governments to develope programs that promote biological
control (or even integrated pest management), by removing the element of
risk for the farmer that has a crop to protect.
Here in Mexico for instance, thereīs a rural development bank that offers a
technology transfer option whereby farmers receive loans to implement
biological control methods for pest management, but are not obligated to
repay the loan if the tecnology fails.
> thanks for the mechanism of penicillin. it seems we hear about overuse
> of penicillin and resistant strains of potentially harmful organisms.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics can develope via various mechanisms but
the most common type in relation to penicillin is an enzyme that breaks it
down (penicillinase - or beta lactamase when it works against other members
of the same antibiotic family). However, some beta lactams are harder for
bacteria to break down, and ANY can be combined w/ substances that impede
the production of beta lactamases. Of course itīs a continuing battle.
> some have suggested that this is in response to overuse of common
> antibiotics. isn't the use broad-spectrum antibiotics similar to
> commercial pesticides. some go after everything and others are more
> specific. while i am not in the medical field, i feel like i have a
> good grasp of biology.
Since most antibiotics DO attack the patient to a degree, either directly or
via "secondary" reactions and "side effects", another important element of
treating a patient is to get enopugh of the medication to where itīs needed,
preferably WITHOUT getting it to tissues or organs that donīt. But I think
what we were looking at was the question of toxicity, which comes from being
more or less selective to the physiology of a particular undesireable
organism, while sparing beneficials (which ideally would include humans).
The other thing (resistance) can perhaps best be seen by distinguishing
between combative and supportive measures. Biological agricuture
strengthens the ability of the plants themselves to resist disease and
sometimes even pests, through developing itīs own defenses or through
combination planting or populating the environment (perhaps through
attraction) w/ organisms that may maintain an acceptable degree of control
over a given pest problem; without have to apply anything at all, directly
to the food (or apparel) crop or even to the environment (water, soil or
air). And it's much easier for pests to develop resistance to a static
toxic substance than to a living predator, parasite or pathogen (or even a
repellent biological substance). So we are creating resistance where WE
> in addition, the general field of biotechnology provides knowledge
> increases that allow us to improve us and our environment.
> sustainability can benefit from discoveries related to biotechnology and
> its use in research. what are your thoughts on this?
I think thatīs been covered above. One thing though - biotechnology is fine
if we remain congruent with the (intrinsic) nature of whatever it is we want
to enhance. That pretty much leaves out genetically modified organisms, I
believe, except to correct pathologies (i.e. inserting a missing gene in a
hemophiliac so he/she wonīt be so subject to bleeding to death). In fact, I
myself am even opposed to grafting trees - and the fact that so many people
connected with agriculture think that "you have to" simply shows the sorry -
and ridiculous - state that things have arrived at).
In other words. Donīt take medicine when all you need to do is eat well and
exersize. And if your problem is environmental, maybe you'd better do your
part to improve it (prevent futher contamination) or move yourself down the
road, and protect the new place from suffering the same fate.
> have a good day
Thanks and you too.Douglas Hinds
> Noah Ranells
> Extension Associate
> Crop Science Department
> North Carolina State University
> Raleigh, NC 27695-7620
> Tel. (919) 515-7597
> Fax. (919) 515-5855
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Douglas M. Hinds [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > Sent: Monday, June 08, 1998 11:44 PM
> > To: email@example.com
> > Cc: Linda Ray; firstname.lastname@example.org;
> > email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: Re: [PANUPS: Children's Exposure]
> > (Autoforwarded message from 'email@example.com')
> > Steve Groff wrote:
> > > Let's use another analogy. Medications are much like pesticides-
> > they are both
> > > designed to kill a targeted organism. Taken at recommended doses
> > they can be
> > > very effective and cause little harm.
> > Steve, Iīd wager that medicine is not your field. What makes a given
> > medicine
> > more or less effective and therefore more or less valuable, is
> > precisely the
> > degree of selectivity built into it, in relation to the human
> > organism. If itīs
> > as toxic to a human being as it is to the disease organism, itīs
> > worthless. In
> > other words, penicillan (as well as other beta lactams) is effective
> > because the
> > metabolism involved in forming the human cell membrane does not depend
> > on the
> > production of peptidoglycan, which bacterial cells do reqire in order
> > to maintain
> > their much higher degree of internal pressure (above all, the gram
> > positive
> > ones). Since penicillan competes with and is therefore antagonistic
> > to the
> > formation of peptidoglycan in bacterias, bacterias are deprived of it
> > and can
> > burst due to their inherent internal pressure. They canīt form strong
> > cell walls
> > without it. We donīt need it, so being deprived of it doesnīt hurt
> > us. (While
> > itīs true that some people are highly allergic to penicillan,
> > cefalosporins use
> > the same action and are less allergenic). Penicillan of course is
> > itself a soil
> > organism.
> > Unfortunately, commercial pesticides in general tend to be non
> > selective, and are
> > highly toxic to most if not all forms of life. Not only that, but the
> > tecnology
> > is simply unnecessary - there are far better and less toxic methods
> > available,
> > whose effectiveness has been clearly demonstrated. On the other hand,
> > commercial
> > pesticides can be easily patented, packaged and distributed. They are
> > better than
> > biological means of pest control for making money for a few, while
> > needlessly
> > contaminating the environment for the rest of us.
> > In short, I feel your analogy is rather unaccurate. Toxic
> > agrochemicals are as
> > doomed as the tobacco industry, and itīs just a matter of time.
> > However, itīs up
> > to all of us to keep pointing this out. Doing any less will only
> > lengthen the
> > time it will take to make to transition and will contribute to untold
> > needless
> > deaths and suffering.
> > DH, back in Jalisco.
> > --
> > Douglas M. Hinds, Director General
> > Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR)
> > (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit)
> > Petronilo Lopez No. 73 (Street Address)
> > Apdo. Postal No. 61 (Mailing Address)
> > Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO
> > U.S. Voice Mailbox: 1 630 300 0550 (e-mail linked)
> > U.S. Fax Mailbox: 1 630 300 0555 (e-mail linked)
> > Tel. & Fax: 011 523 412 6308 (direct)
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Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit) Petronilo Lopez No. 73 (Street Address) Apdo. Postal No. 61 (Mailing Address) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO U.S. Voice Mailbox: 1 630 300 0550 (e-mail linked) U.S. Fax Mailbox: 1 630 300 0555 (e-mail linked) Tel. & Fax: 011 523 412 6308 (direct) e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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