18 September 2008

Nothing interesting

Hello and good evening,

I haven't been up to much this week besides classes. A highlight of class was a lecture from my likely thesis supervisor; he detailed the results from his research of pesticide use in Honduras. The topic of his research was why Honduras has failed to pass legislation banning the most dangerous agro-chemicals besides years of international legislation. His conclusion was that besides lobbying from the agro-chemical industry, three factors explain the continued use of these chemicals. 1.Framing of the topic influence the approach to risk and pesticide risk can be approached from several angles (eg. the farmers, the government, interest groups). 2.Global governance of pesticide use has incorporated "safe use" guidelines into legislation rather than banning. "Safe use" implies that any health risks are born by the pesticide user who should be trained to use chemicals safely. This disregards the fact that many farmers are illiterate and unable to read the instructions, chemical dealers often give farmers faulty instructions, as well as the possibility of people besides the sprayer to be affected (eg. children nearby or poisoned water sources). 3.Embedding of "safe use" terms in routines. This again states that the blame is shifted from the chemical companies and governments to the farmers. It was an interesting lecture and he included some statistics in which children living near a large banana plantation had double the concentration of pesticides in their urine compared to children living on small-holder banana farms and 4X the concentration compared to children living near organic banana farms.

We've also been working on a project to provide possible farmer responses to local climate change (La Nina and El Nino specifically). It should be a fun project and I can imagine we will
include adjusting seeding dates, adjusting crop selection, altering tilling regimes, etc.

This weekend I will be accompanying some of my fellow students on an excursion to Apeldorn and Arnhem. We will see two exhibitions on old and new rural landscapes in the Netherlands and if we have time we can spend some time at National Park de Hoge Veluwe where we can ride around the park on white bicycles and visit the Kroller Muller museum which has many Van Gogh (pronounced fan hg-o-hg) and Monet paintings.
We saw these sheep at the sluis, the actually had a small bridge to cross a very small stream. The animals have a bridge!

This is how I see things after studying for awhile. Words on a paper through a blurry haze of coffee (or in this case tea).

How patriotic I am.

Thanks and good luck to Amanda on her flight next Thursday,


  1. Does that American Pizza come with a free cowboy had if you buy 5 or something. I didn't know there was Texas style pizza.

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  3. Yeah, apparently the Texans like their pizza with pepperoni and red onions. No free cowboy hat, just the taste of life in Texas. Mmm... Texas. I can't wait to try the American Pizza: South Dakota. I'm thinking buffalo and sunflower seeds.