When you look at the state of our environment it’s clear that things are going to have to change, though it’s not clear whether it’ll be voluntarily or out of necessity. What will help define that answer will be the actions that we decide to take as a society. One thing we can do to help our situation will be to incorporate Integrated Pest Management into our practices, whether in gardening or in agriculture, so that the techniques and education around it can become widespread. It’s going to take an effort on all our behalves because it won’t be easy due to the various factors in play that could interfere with the adoption of IPM.
One said factor is the belief that many farmers have that “the only good bug is a dead bug.” At its core, this statement goes against everything that IPM stands for. Integrated Pest Management is all about seeing nature as an ecosystem rather than just a tool for our survival. It requires an understanding of how plants interact with their environment and how that relationship can be affected and have negative or positive consequences. It requires monitoring in order to understand the ecosystem that you are interacting with, as everyone has different factors that will affect it. The soil is different, the climate is different, and therefore the plants and animals that thrive in that environment are different. For this reason, the type of management for pests will be different, which requires a lot of monitoring in order to understand the proper approach for each individual circumstance. First and foremost, this means those farmers who believe that there are no good bugs will have to go through a perspective change. Maybe equally as difficult, they will have to invest in education and experimentation in order to get an understanding of how to incorporate IPM into their agricultural practices. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury or the resources to invest in either of those two. For some farmers, experimentation can lead to an unsuccessful season, which could mean the loss of their farm. Agriculture is a cutthroat business, and ironically, those who help feed our society many times don’t have enough to feed their own families.
The 1920’s were a time of massive expansion for Los Angeles, with the population growing from 102,000 in 1900, to 577,000 in 1920, and over 1.2 million in 1929. This growth was incredible, but it’s difficult for a city to be able to accomodate so many new citizens in such a short amount of time. Infrastructure had to be laid down, utility lines were set in place, and airports were being created, but this construction was coming at a cost of destroying the natural beauty that California was known for. Therefore, a Citizen’s Committee was created with the sole purpose of commissioning a plan for the future of Los Angeles, and they hired Olmsted and Bartholomew to create such report. The result was Parks, Playgrounds, and Beaches for the Los Angeles Region, a 178-page comprehensive study of Los Angeles whose “immediate purpose is to show why more parks and other means of recreation are now urgently needed; to suggest the most effective ways of meeting this need; and to point out the evils that will follow further delay in adopting and executing a sound and comprehensive policy”(P.83).
Unfortunately, the plan was never set in place. Many would look at the time of publishing of this report (1927) and state that it was a victim of bad timing as the Great Depression was right around the corner, and citizens were more concerned with how they were to feed their families rather than focusing on the need for parks and beaches. The truth is it came down to a fear of losing power by the members of the Chamber of Commerce, as the report called for the creation of a “regional park district” (p.128). “The planned park board… simply scared the Chamber members, many of whom clearly feared that the new body would exert powers over and above the Chamber itself” (p.39). The lack of support by the Chamber of Commerce sealed its fate before it even had a chance to go before the citizens of Los Angeles, and along with it went the hopes of becoming “the world’s dream of the City Beautiful”(p.12).
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About Before the Flood:
Before the Flood, directed by Fisher Stevens, captures a three-year personal journey alongside Academy Award-winning actor and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio as he interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.