Saturday, May 14, 2022

Roundup, UBC Fields, and our Ecological Effects

I was walking by the field sponsored by Tourmaline Oil recently and one of the regular staff was spraying the margin under the fence with roundup. They said they couldn’t use an alternative (like acetic acid) since they didn’t have the time to do this every week.

I wonder why it is deemed necessary to have a browned out strip a foot wide under and along the fence margin in the first place, while also noting the evident problems with this ‘safe’ pesticide (see link to McGill research on roundup).


I would note that despite the athletics' fields being totally fabricated space (many now covered with plastic and other synthetics) having some margins that are biological does make small contributions to biodiversity and does remediate some of the ill effects caused by the fields. Having grassy margins can encourage increased biodiversity and improved ecological health.


For example, grass plants, dandelion, and thistles attract small birds (like sparrows and goldfinches) when they go to seed (which can’t happen if sprayed or cut).  Allowing margins to grow in ways that some (perhaps donors?) find unsightly is in fact beneficial to our overall wellbeing.

I am sure there is a ready answer that will explain to me that roundup is actually ok to use and that UBC has net positive ecological impacts.  I appreciate all that.  Yet. ... 

It still calls  out for a quiet moment of reflection and consideration to reconsider whether a  scorched earth look along the baseball field fences is worth the addition of more toxic chemicals into our local environment, however small these effects  might be.

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