top of page
  • megankaun

Rooting for Green Highways

Local press on pesticide advocacy and an update on our work with Caltrans

While driving home from the beach yesterday along Highway 12, I noticed a bicyclist who had stopped to pick blackberries. It was an idyllic country sight and reminded me that our rural roadsides function for more than just thoroughfares for commerce. People pick blackberries along roadsides, neighbors with indigenous knowledge of local plants harvest materials along roadsides. Roads can serve as a main interface between people and the natural world. Roads connect us with more than just our final destination. It's all in the journey after all, right?

The Sonoma County Press Democrat featured a front page story today on Sonoma SASS and our work on Assembly Bill 99, a bill created by Assembly Member Connolly and co-authored by Senator McGuire that would require Caltrans to use pesticides as a last resort tool in select California counties. AB99 is currently being considered by the Senate Appropriations committee.

The article quotes Brad Hanson, a weed science specialist at the UC Davis Cooperative Extension. While Brad believes that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is a "pretty low toxic material" he does state that when spraying a road like I-5 “it’s not a place where many people are picnicking and eating. The risk to people and animals — non-target organisms — is pretty low relative to spraying a crop where it might be used for, say, harvest prep in almonds.”

[what the heck are they doing with RoundUp on almonds??!]

What strikes me the most about Mr. Hanson's words is that he and other people managing our roadways in Sonoma County don't understand how we use them! They don't understand our community's strong desire to connect with the natural world and they therefore don't understand how impactful industrial broadcast pesticide spraying along them can be. Highway 1, 12 and 116, for example, are not I-5. They run directly adjacent to homes, bus stops, businesses, and schools. They are 2 lane rural roads that contain beloved curves and bends, idyllic views, and fertile patches where we pick berries. Let's hope that our state Senate does the right thing and approves AB99 so that it can sit in its rightful place on the Governors desk for signature this fall.

Credit: Press Democrat

76 views1 comment

1 Comment

Thomas Yarish
Thomas Yarish
Aug 25, 2023

Brad Hanson apparently doesn't want to acknowledge the extensive research on glyphosate products which shows them to be likely carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, a concept still anathema to corporate media. This willful ignorance is a debt to future generations in both animal and vegetable kingdoms that cannot be repaid.

Tom Yarish

bottom of page