Thanks for stopping by! August here, and I wanted to share a little exciting news — my new book, called I Love Dandelions: Original Edition, will be published on April 2nd, 2023!
I thoroughly enjoyed writing and illustrating this book (with artwork on nearly every page) to bring the “magic of nature” into the hearts of children – starting with the lowly (so-called) dandelion! Along with Theodore W. Mouse, the main character, children discover how magical those “droplets of sunshine” are, and the very important role they play in the natural world.
Through I Love Dandelions, I endeavor to accomplish several things: arouse a love for all of nature and bring biodiversity back to all those sterile and toxic lawns.
After all, a love for dandelions is the dandelion’s best defense!
Enjoy my little animation below, then please, for the sake of the natural world, and for that of your children’s and pet’s health, read on!
Meet Theodore W. Mouse, the main character in my book called I Love Dandelions:
There are approximately 40 million acres of lawn in the lower 48. Every year, U.S. homeowners apply an estimated 80 million pounds of synthetic pesticides to those lawns. In fact, Americans spend over $76 billion a year on their yards, and use 10 times more chemical pesticides on their lawns to keep them weed free than farmers use on their crops!
That being said, I think it is fair to say that we are a wee bit obsessed with our lawns.
Children are especially vulnerable to environmental toxins, including pesticides. Their normal activities include playing on floors where toxic residues have been tracked indoors (accumulating and lingering in carpets and other surfaces, exposing children at extremely high levels), and on grass where pesticides have been applied, and children routinely put unwashed hands or other objects in their mouths. In addition, their nervous, respiratory, reproductive and immune systems are not yet fully developed, and as they take in more toxins pound for pound than do adults, these crucial developmental processes may be adversely affected.
Fifteen million birds are estimated to die each year from pesticide contamination, with at least seven million birds from lawn chemicals alone. Add to that, countless birds exposed to chemicals suffer “sub-lethal” effects such as eggshell thinning, hormone disruption, lethargy, impaired immune systems and lack of appetite, all of which compromise their ability to reproduce, migrate, or survive.
Wildlife can be impacted by pesticides through their direct or indirect application, such as pesticide drift, secondary poisoning, runoff into local water bodies, or groundwater contamination. It is possible that some animals could be sprayed directly; others consume plants or prey that have been exposed to pesticides.
Pesticide exposure can be linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, birth defects, and developmental changes in a wide range of species. Exposure to pesticides can also alter an organism’s behavior, impacting its ability to survive. In birds, for example, exposure to certain pesticides can even impede singing ability!
For bees, even near-infinitesimal levels of systemic pesticides result in sublethal effects, impacting mobility, feeding behaviors, and navigation.
One in three firefly species in North America may be at risk of extinction! Habitat loss combined with pesticides are the main cause of the decline of these species. You see, fireflies spend the first two years of their lives underground and lawn chemicals kill them. People can help with firefly conservation by avoiding pesticides and turning off outdoor lights which confuse the bugs’ mating season.
Pesticides are found in our air, water, soil, and as drift from neighboring properties. Pesticide particles are also found in winds high above the earth, and in rain. A variety of pesticides and their toxic alteration products are even present in fog, and can reach high concentrations relative to reported rainwater concentrations.
The impacts of pesticides on wildlife is a major cause of concern in the deterioration of biodiversity.
A chemically treated lawn is ecologically dead. So please, skip the chemicals altogether. Why not populate your landscape with native plants, including flowers and native grasses. These plants are better for our soil and don’t require chemicals for upkeep! They are also far more interesting and healthier for your family!
Plus, having dandelions in your yard is beneficial to bees, which are on the decline and are so important to pollinating a third of the food we eat.
Let ’em live…dandelions, that is!
If you have a few minutes, enjoy this wonderful article about the “masters of survival” and their magical powers: The science of dandelions is real-life magic.
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