Great news! Just a few weeks ago on Mar 5, 2019, Miami officially banned glyphosate from being used within its city limits. This is especially significant important in regards to a brand of weed killer called Roundup.
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide, an extremely effective weed killer, produced by the Monsanto company. It’s quickly absorbed by the soil when applied. The agriculture sector depends so much on this chemical. In fact, the amount of Roundup that the sector uses would be enough to spray nearly half of a pound of the herbicide on every cultivated acre of land in the world.
Despite its efficacy in eradicating weeds, Roundup is still a very toxic chemical, it presents a major threat to several aspects of our environment, both within and beyond the local Miami area. For example, Roundup has been proven to be directly linked to the red tides along the Floridian coast. This happens when runoff water carries away all those excessive herbicides and wash them away to the Floridian coast. Algae feed off those chemicals and start to bloom at unusually rapid rates. These red tides are direct threats to not only countless marine animal and plant habitats but to humans as well. The algae in red tides release toxins in the water and into the atmosphere as a defense mechanism, contaminating the water and polluting the air with harmful chemicals. Click here to read more on Red Tides. Roundup has also been linked to the destruction of countless seagrass beds and coral reefs. The ban on this product will put Miami on the path towards the healing and replenishments of coral reefs and allow thousands of species of marine animals to repopulate these areas, bringing back needed biodiversity.
Furthermore, although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans, research shows that people exposed to this chemical were 41% more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition, we know for sure that Roundup poses another direct threat to our health; it seeps through the ground into our aquifers, contaminating our drinking water. The city’s decision came three days after a study found traces of glyphosate in 19 of 20 popular U.S. beers and wines, exemplifying the extent of the proliferation of this chemical, largely beyond our knowledge.
The ban specifically states city parks, street sidewalks, and government building gardens will no longer utilize Roundup. Documentation shows that the city of Miami had been using 4,800 gallons of glyphosate products per year to eradicate weeds from the greenery of their own government buildings. Before this piece of legislation, parks in Miami were sprayed with thousands of gallons of Roundup to maintain that ideal “green” look, much of this performed without the knowledge of the average citizen. The ban will ensure that Miamians can partake in recreational activities in environmental public spaces, such as parks, without the worry that any chemicals will be introduced to their children or loved ones.
Once a parcel of land has been sprayed with Roundup, its microbiology is altered in just a few weeks. Oftentimes, that entire microbiology is destroyed. Roundup goes against all that sustainability symbolizes. However, the beauty of our environment is that even when it is ruined, it always finds a way to keep surviving. Depleted soil because of the application of Roundup can gain back its diversified life through sustainable farming techniques. For example, the introduction of compost or cow manure to the soil can help it get back to its microbiology but the usage of Roundup needs to be brought to an end. Sustainability can never be achieved if we do not stop contaminating our soils with these types of chemicals. To attain sustainability, we need to focus on the protection of nature first.
Why the back2earth team is so happy about this decision:
Miami’s ban on Roundup demonstrates a shift to a greener city. Day by day, the city of Miami is taking significant steps towards sustainability. Although it is a gradual movement towards that goal, any progress is met with positivity, especially from back2earth. Miami has many steps to take before it can truly be green. Even efforts to install solar panels on government buildings are virtually non-existent.
back2earth is here to help, to inspire, and to help push through these efforts. This decision by the Miami government to ban glyphosate ties so much to our goals. As the city’s agricultural sector abandons the use of this chemical, we hope to offer them the alternative of composting, either through donations of our own compost or through education. We want to show them that they can use not only for their own cultivating activities but to replenish their soil after harvest. We hope to be a catalyst for a greener, more sustainable agricultural world.
Introducing compost into our locally depleted soils can bring back innumerable quantities of microbiology and produce various benefits for the city’s inhabitants. Compost improves the composition of soil, allowing it to retain more moisture. Additionally, composting keeps soil together, protecting plants from pathogens and pests. back2earth sparked a movement in Miami, a movement of composting. We educate our local area about the benefits of compost, encourage Miami dwellers to learn how to get involved to ensure their own health and improve that of the environment around them. By teaching people to compost, we’ve pushed Miami into a new era; a time when every home in South Florida will close the food cycle. Miami still has a long way to go but one way it must not go is backward. Miami must look forward to a greener future. Miami must and will become a hub of environment-friendly discussion and an example for what must be a global movement towards sustainability.
By the way, happy World Water Day everyone!
We would like to applaud the efforts of the City of Miami, but more specifically, Ken Russell, a Miami Commissioner, and Francis X. Suarez, Miami’s Mayor, for co-sponsoring this resolution. Our politicians are finally taking the steps necessary to ensure Miami becomes a greener city.
Written by Ugo Angeletti, president and co-founder at back2earth.