St. Louis, MO – In her introductory statement as Plenary Speaker of The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) Conference in Albuquerque, NM, Gretta Goldenman, Director of Milieu Ltd. Brussels, Belgium, recalled her last visit to this city 25 years ago. It was then that she experienced her first hot air balloon trip and the lasting impression of “making a soft landing.” She used this ballooning analogy to highlight the implementation of European countries’ regulations and policies to reduce reliance on pesticides. Throughout her career, Ms. Goldenman has been a leading proponent of pesticide use reduction. Mr. Rob Denny, Director of Arrowchase Project Management, introduced her as a person who has had an “impact on every continent on Earth.”
A graduate of UC Berkley School of Law, Ms. Goldenman gained international credentials by establishing the Pesticide Action Network in 1982 and writing the seminal book, “Problem Pesticides, Pesticide Problems: A Citizens’ Guide to the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides” in 1987. She explained how changes in regulations, production practices, education, and marketing have helped countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom reduce the number and amount of pesticides applied to crops. Though she recognized the usefulness of pesticides, Ms. Goldenman proclaims that pesticide risk reduction is best achieved through use reduction. She stressed that “in spite of regulatory controls, overall amounts of pesticides applied in Europe and the U.S. are steadily increasing,” and that “too much pesticide use has led to dependency, and dependency could become an addiction.” She believes that farmers in the U.S. could benefit from applying the practices of their European counterparts to reduce pesticide applications and experience a “soft landing.” This kind of transition in the U.S. would require “clear policies and objectives at the national level.” Based on the response from the audience, Ms. Goldenman’s presentation was insightful and thought provoking even among those who disagreed with her premise. Her plenary address “launched” a very productive meeting for the 111 TPSA conferees attending the annual conference.
Her presentation, and other presentations, can be viewed here.