10 Reasons to go Pesticide* Free

The latest edition of the Overlook Views newsletter is being distributed now and you’ll find a few articles by Sustainable Overlook members. Overlook neighbor and landscape designer Mulysa Melco wrote an update on the group’s pesticide free neighborhood project and included a sidebar with 10 reasons people in our neighborhood feel non-toxic yard and garden care is important. Here is an expanded version of the list with References and Resources!

1. Better health for everyone! Yard and garden chemicals are linked to increased cancer risk and a host of other illnesses. Children, babies and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to toxin exposure, even in minute quantities.

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Pesticides

Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN)

Beyond Pesticides

Metro : Why Care about Using Pesticides?

EPA: Why Children May be Especially Sensitive to Pesticides

2. Your garden will be happier. Without toxic chemicals, and with natural gardening practices like composting, the soil life and critters in your yard will create a more balanced ecosystem and that makes for stronger, more resilient plants.

Metro Natural Gardening tips 

Organic Consumers Association 

3. Food safety and security. One of the many benefits of growing your own food organically is feeling confident that what you’re eating is not contaminated with pesticides. Plus, a neighborhood that grows its own food it more resilient in a disaster.

Organic Consumer’s Union

Union of Concerned Scientists

Growing Power 

Mother Earth News: Why Grow Your Own Food? 

4. Lower your carbon footprint. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are petro-chemical based, so when you avoid them, you are using fewer fossil fuels.


Transition US: Home and Garden Challenge

Union of Concerned Scientists: The Climate Friendly Gardener

5. Take good care of our pets. Dogs and cats are at risk from lawn and garden chemicals for some of the same reasons kids are – they are low to the ground, they touch and mouth everything and spend a lot of time outdoors. Pets’ risks of cancer and other health problems increase when they are exposed to lawn chemicals.

Metro:  Why Care about Using Pesticides?

Pesticide Action Network: Your Health– Home, Pets and Garden

Beyond Pesticides: Pets

6. Protect wildlife and save the bees! Songbirds, raptors, butterflies and our salmon population are threatened by pesticide use. Bees and other pollinators that we depend on for our food supply are under particular threat from neonic insecticides, common ‘all-in-one’ rose and shrub products.

Xerces Society 

Backyard Habitat Certification Program

7. Keep our water clean. Chemicals don’t stay put – they run off into waterways and soak into ground water. By avoiding them we can be good stewards of our drinking water, rivers and streams.

Clean Rivers and Streams

8. Save money and time. Natural gardening techniques tend to be much cheaper than buying products or hiring a chemical service, plus they require less labor in the long run.

SPIN Farming techniques (Small plot intensive farming)

Grow BioIntensive (Sustainable mini-farming)

9. Keep it local. Use your dollars to support local, green businesses, not big chemical corporations.

Supportland (rewards card for supporting local businesses.)

Chinook Book (coupons for locally owned nurseries)

Check this website in the future for a list of local, organic landscape designers, installers and maintenance companies.

10. Practice peace. The toxic ingredients in many garden products fight nature rather than work with it. Fostering natural balance in your yard is good for your health and spirit and is a kindness to your neighbors.

Forrest and Trica McDowell Creating Sanctuary 


*’Pesticide’ refers to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, anti-microbials and other chemicals used to kill or deter pests.


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