With the recent news that Bayer will stop selling glyphosate-based weedkillers to domestic buyers (though not to professionals and for agricultural use) in 2023, and the substance up for review in the EU next year, now seems a good time to ask ourselves whether we can really put up with Roundup and other herbicides and pesticides at all. In my view, when it comes to glyphosate use around the globe, it is time to say that enough is enough.
Glyphosate has been an important topic for the environmental movement for many years, and though few definitive scientific conclusions have been reached, for me there is plenty of evidence that it is not as safe as Monsanto, Bayer, and many big farming lobbies have been saying.
Whether or not glyphosate definitively causes cancer, there are a number of peer-reviewed studies which suggest that it causes harm within the human body – to some extent at least. And the environmental harms are slowly becoming more studied and documented.
Last year, I was appalled to read this article on the use of glyphosate by council authorities here in Scotland. Though a number of jurisdictions have banned its use, there has been no movement on this issue from central government.
Putting the doubts over the health implications aside, using such herbicides is not a sustainable approach. It encourages the development of resistant weeds, and there is growing evidence that there are serious impacts on wildlife, and potentially also on soils.
Entirely organic, pesticide and herbicide free food production is the only logical goal for a sustainable future. Glyphosate should have no place in that future. When looking at the science brings an element of doubt, surely we should be erring on the side of caution.
Though my work in sustainable agriculture and sustainable gardening, I know that these products are in no way essential for a successful farm or garden.