Testimony on October 30, 2020 at Philadelphia City Council’s hearing about banning pesticides on public lands. 

Hello, My name is Meenal Raval, with the Sierra Club’s Southeastern PA Group. I’m here to support Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces, bill number 200425

One of my recent evenings with Netflix included the film Kiss the Ground, about regenerative agriculture which is an ethical practice designed to restore degraded lands and facilitate carbon drawdown. The film opened up my eyes to the devastation wrought by industrial agriculture, based on pesticides made from fossil fuels, and used on much of our food. 

By using toxic pesticides, notably glyphosate, in our food system (or in our park system), we’re not just killing weeds. We’re also killing microbes and insects and sickening our own human population. Like single use plastics, the herbicide travels into our waterways, and into our own bodies! They both need to be banned! 

Change begins at home. I compost our kitchen scraps in the back alley of our tiny row home, and look forward to harvesting the finished compost to spread onto the raised beds of the herb garden in the front yard. I use no chemicals in this process, keeping weeds at bay with mulch, and inviting pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies onto the land by planting perennial plants. 

On my morning walks to Awbury Arboretum, I see the goats at the Philly Goat Project. I hear they are available for hire, to clear brush, and that Upper Darby has used goats to clear brush in the past. 

These are examples of how we can WITH Nature, without dominating her. 

Our City needs to use similar methods for weed management in our parks and recreation centers, spaces that many of us frequent. I’ve heard that this year, park use has skyrocketed. It only makes sense that we manage our parkland like we do our homes — without toxic chemicals. 

Please support Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces in Philly. Thank you! 

Meenal Raval | meenal.raval@gmail.com
volunteer ExCom member, Sierra Club’s Southeastern PA Group | sc.org/pa-spg