Green Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides
Written by Cayla Naranjo, Program Coordinator
Pesticides have been linked to environmental and human health hazards for over 50 years, yet they are still used in homes and gardens throughout the United States. Marina Vista Elementary School fourth grade students from Pittsburg studied the effects of pesticides and were eager to make a difference in their homes and community. Sabah said, “The problem is that toxic pesticides are sprayed on the plants and then get into food chains. Even people can eat it and sometimes get very sick.”
To begin their Action Project, students created a farm model to see how pesticides can spread throughout a watershed. After completing the experiment, Carlos concluded, “The pesticides went on the crops, into the ground, and to the water.” Jeremiah added, “The pesticides made the water poisonous, and if it was real life, the toxic pesticides could spread everywhere.”
The students then created an all-natural solution to using harmful pesticides in their homes and gardens, to protect plants, without introducing harmful chemicals into the environment. Students had the option to create a peppermint neem oil pesticide or an orange citrus pesticide.
Students wrote letters to their family members and friends to explain the importance of using their green pesticides and to explain how to make them in the future. Jadana said, “I am going to give this letter and pesticide I made to my grandma as a gift. She has a lot of plants and her birthday is coming up.”