What has been your most successful campaign to date?
Being part of the team, along with our European colleagues responsible for ensuring that the new EU legislation on pesticides is as strong as it could have been.
What has been your least successful campaign to date?
Persuading the current government that the new EU legislation on pesticides needs to be implemented fully and not left to voluntary measures or industry initiatives.
What gets you out of bed when you're at your lowest?
My daughter practising the violin in the kitchen
Corporations: work with them or against them?
Generally PAN UK works against the corporations involved in the agrochemical business. In the past our words have been used out of context to make it appear as if we are supporting their goals so we have to be very careful as an organisation not to appear to be endorsing their activities. That said we would offer encouragement if we thought that any of the ‘big six' agchems companies were genuinely trying to reduce dependence upon pesticides, but to date we have seen no evidence to suggest that might be the case.
What is the best way to motivate people?
By highlighting the positives and showing people that real change is achievable.
What is the best way of reaching politicians?
Through the people that vote for them. Sadly politics today is all about getting yourself re-elected rather than the conviction politics of the past.
What is the most important thing to avoid when campaigning?
Dwelling to long on the negatives or temporary failings of your campaign.
Most important thing government could do this year?
By implementing the new EU pesticide legislation the government could (and should); ban the use of pesticides in certain places such as schools, parks and hospitals; introduce a statutory requirement that residents must be notified before any pesticide spraying event; begin a targeted program of phasing out the most toxic pesticides; introduce strict guidelines and develop support and extension services for the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Most important thing individuals could do this year?
Write to their local MP and demand that they support a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to help prevent further losses of bee and other pollinator species
What makes a good campaigner?
Tenacity, perseverance and the ability to sometimes admit you might not have got things right
What (other) campaign has caught your attention recently?
I am really impressed by a lot of the campaigns around the issue of slow food. The Real Bread Campaign has really caught my eye and I think is doing great work highlighting the value and importance of bread not only in our diets but as a part of our society. And of course the ongoing work of the Campaign for Real Ale remains an inspiration.
Who is your campaign hero (past or present)?
Debbie Banks the head of the Tiger Campaign at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Years of dedication to a vital cause and kind and generous too.
Pesticide Action Network
Pesticide lobby resists moves to sanction 'deadly' paraquat substance
Experts want the weedkiller paraquat - poison of choice in many suicide attempts - to be added to a 'watch list' of dangerous substances. Why then is Syngenta fighting the proposals asks Keith Tyrell?
The film that stood up to banana giant Dole over pesticide poisoning (and won)
The documentary Bananas! highlighted plight of Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who brought a legal case in the US against the use of a banned pesticide DBCP by the Dole Food Company. Tom Levitt reports
Sandra Steingraber: There's a taboo about telling industry and agriculture that practices must change to prevent cancer
Having survived cancer, biologist Sandra Steingraber wrote a book to expose its link to the environment. As the film version premieres in Europe, she tells the Ecologist why we must all take a stand on air, food and water pollution
Emmanuelle Garcia : Chemical companies want the public to feel helpless and not protest
Emmanuelle Schick Garcia is the director of 'The Idiot Cycle', a new film exposing the chemical industry and how it benefits from the contamination it is causing
|HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
CASE STUDY: campaigning against pesticides
Jonathan Leake meets Georgina Downs, the one-woman whirlwind who’s holding the pesticide industry and politicians to account