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Pesticide Action Week: Showing the world how to protect our health and environment

During Pesticide Action Week 2017, around 1,000 events took place around the world to inform consumers, citizens and decision-makers about the environmental and health risks related to harmful pesticides and to promote existing alternatives.

This year marked the 12th edition of Pesticide Action Week, an annual international event aiming to promote alternatives to pesticides and to improve the environment and our health. Taking place from 20 – 30 March, over 18 different countries including France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg participated in various events and activities. Pesticide Action Week is coordinated and organised by HEAL member Generations Futures in France.

As usual, a large range of events took place, including open doors of farming and agricultural schools, exhibitions, workshops on how to garden without pesticides, seed-barter, conferences on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and the impact of pesticides on health, organic meals and markets, and film showings. In France especially, local partners of Generations Futures and HEAL were very active and mobilised all across the country during national events and seminars.


Raising awareness via competitions!

To raise awareness among the youngest members of society, our national drawing contest for school classes (pupils from 2 to 8 years old) on the theme “My natural garden” was a great success. Around 40 drawings from classes all around France were submitted, making it extra difficult to decide between all of them who would win. You can see the results here! All the winners will receive organic seeds to plant.




New documentary to promote organic farming

This year’s edition also focused on pesticides for non-agricultural use, as towns are forbidden to use pesticides in their public spaces as of the 1st of January 2017 in France. This is why the organisers of Pesticide Action Week 2017 took the opportunity to promote exemplary French towns that have already stopped using pesticides in their public spaces and who also promote organic farming through their collective restauration through a documentary called "Zéro phyto 100%bio". This brand-new documentary by Guillaume Bodin was showed in preview in about 40 towns during Pesticide Action Week. It helped to steer debates between local groups, such as citizens, elected people, and farmers. Over 4,000 people have been watching the documentary during the week, marking a good start for the official release which will take place next November.

This new documentary is a precious tool to show that it is possible and necessary to start using alternatives to pesticides and to promote organic farming in order to protect our health and environment. The French senator Joël Labbé, who created a law forbidding pesticide use in towns and the sale of pesticides to non-professionals, also participated in Pesticide Action Week by launching a resolution to expand the scope of the law to the European Union level.

This pesticide free town campaign also has a European side with PAN Europe and PAN UK also working on this issue and we will try to translate the documentary so other countries can also use it.


A focus on pesticide action during the French elections

Last but not least, since the French presidential election is currently running, Generations Futures also focused on candidates’ programmes regarding agriculture, and health and environment by launching a closing ceremony dedicated to the elections. We worked on some video-clips with real speeches from the main candidates but with a funny staging and showed the videos during the ceremony. Three experts (an organic farmer, an agronomist, and spokesperson François Veillerette) were there to comment, analyse and answer the public’s questions on the candidates’ programmes. It was a very interesting and intense moment, and exchanges were very rich with audiences trying to figure out which one had the best programme regarding agriculture and health and environment.


A European Citizens’ Initiative to #StopGlyphosate

Across Europe, Generations Futures, HEAL, and other participating organisations that took part in Pesticide Action Week also promoted the European Citizens’ Initiative to #StopGlyphosate. Find out more on our website.


Get in touch with us!

If you have participated in any ways, do not hesitate to send an assessment and pictures. If you are interested in joining next year’s edition of Pesticide Action Week, please do not hesitate to go to www.pesticideactionweek.org and to contact Sophie at sophie@generations-futures.fr

Originally posted on 4 May 2017

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