Be the Change

Sandra Steingraber

Now is the time to play the Save the World symphony. It is a vast orchestral piece and you are but one musician. You are not required to play a solo, but you are required to know what instrument you can hold and play it as well as you can.

Because in the end the environment is not just something else to worry about. It is connected to all the things we already worry about our children, our health, our homeland and love with all our hearts.

- Sandra Steingraber

Shopping farmer's marketAs individuals, we make choices every day. Small choices that shape the courses of our lives and the lives of our families. We influence our colleagues, our neighbors — and, in the end, our choices can help move the economy and shape society as a whole. Now that's power.

We're not talking here about shopping choices — though educating ourselves as consumers and voting with our dollars can indeed make real change. We're talking about growing your own, pesticide-free tomatoes. Going to the farmer's market and getting to know your local farmers. Learning what it takes to control those ants without chemicals, and telling your family, friends and neighbors all about it. And we're talking about finding, joining and supporting those organizations that work on the issues you care about.

Food Choices Matter

What’s On My Food? is PAN's searchable web database designed to shine light on the public problem of pesticide exposure. We link pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time. You can discover which pesticides are on what foods, how often and in what amount, helping you make more informed choices at the grocery store. We also link users with ways they can take meaningful political action.

Shopping at a farmers' market or becoming a "member" of a local farm's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program supports small family farmers. CSAs in particular provide farmers with income stability they need to get through the season, since members pre-pay for weekly delivery of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Many CSAs offer family-oriented events to help their members connect with the people and land that bring food to the table.

If you want your spinach even fresher, try growing it in your backyard. As Michelle Obama knows, it doesn't take a huge plot of land to plant a garden. You don't have to start with loamy soil or perfect growing weather. A good backyard garden takes a bit of space (you'd be amazed what you can grow in a garden pot on the porch!), some planning and a willingness to dive in and give it a try. While the frustrations are real (where do those tomato worms come from?), the rewards can be tremendous.

Controlling Pests Without Pesticides

From your garden to your lawn to your kitchen cupboards, pests will find and challenge you. Managing pests without pesticides keeps dangerous chemicals out of your house and away from pets and children — both of whom are especially susceptible to chemical harms.

On our Home, Pets & Gardens resource page, we provide a quick guide to alternative pest management approaches for common pests, with links to dozens of specific solutions. When you find something that works for you, be sure to share the tip with your family and friends.

The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns provides information on pesticides, safe pest-control how to's, links to local groups and organizing tools to help you get dangerous pesticides off your lawn and help others do the same.

From all of us here at PAN, thank you for choosing to make a difference.