The news that Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller Roundup “probably causes cancer” by the World Health Organization did not sit well with the St. Louis-based agrochemical giant, which knew its multi-billion dollar business was suddenly at stake.
But for the countless activists and health-conscious people on the front lines working for change, it merely confirmed what they already knew: that Roundup is bad news and it should be removed from our food and environment sooner than later.
One of them is Tracy Madlener, a mother of two who set out in February to rid her Laguna Hills, Calif. neighborhood of the ubiquitous weedkiller.
Now, a little over two months later, she’s excited to share her incredible results with the world in hopes of inspiring real change at the “grassroots” level.
Building Toxic-Free Communities
Because Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers are sprayed everywhere from parks to lawns to schoolyards, it’s no surprise that these dangerous chemicals are showing up in everything from rainwater samples to mothers’ breast milk at levels far beyond what’s been deemed safe.
But the good news is that local actions for removing these chemicals can be quite effective, as Madlener found out.
On February 8th she began her humble-but-inspiring mission to eliminate the use of toxic Roundup in her neighborhood, sharing her progress on a new Facebook page ‘How to Create a Toxic-Free Community’ as well as a video blog on YouTube.
Just five days in she posted the video blog below about getting started: organizing, sending emails, making a to-do list, and making phone calls for research purposes.
As the weeks continued, Madelener continued to make progress by raising awareness of her community about the dangers of Roundup and staying consistent, and persistent, with her message.
“I connected with a ton of people and let them know my intentions…My intentions (are) to spread awareness about the chemical use in our community, and to change it, and use an alternative instead of these harmful chemicals,” she said on her Day 30 video blog.
Her work mostly consisted of the following:
-Making phone calls, building a network and informing others in the area
-Contacting other moms doing similar work to ban harmful chemicals in their areas for advice
-Speaking with landscapers to suggest healthier options
-Researching eco and health-conscious alternatives to Roundup for use locally
-Making folders with information to hand out to her local Home Owners’ Association board members; writing personal letters to help them understand her mission, and meeting with them
After going through her folder of information on the dangers of Roundup, one of the members said she felt “very emotional” according to Madlener.
“…And yeah, we all find that we’re very emotional when we find out that our environment is just getting wrecked and our health is being ruined,” Madlener says in her Day 44 video blog post, “by all these different chemicals that are in our environment.”
Persistence Pays Off — Time for a Happy Dance!
On April 15, Madlener’s latest mission officially came to a close. She shared a blog post with her community, telling them the good news:
“I have the pleasure to inform all of you that it can be done…I got a message yesterday saying that our neighborhood will no longer use Roundup,” she said (see video below), before breaking into a “happy dance.”
Madlener is now hoping that her success can inspire others to do the same in their communities (resources she recommended include her Facebook page listed above and the website BeyondPesticides.org).
“Now that I have done this, I’ve got my eyes set on either more HOAs or to take it to the city,” she said. “I want to inspire others (to know) that they can do this too.”