” pesticides are poisons which destroy all that is living. They are in the water of rain, in the dew of the morning, in the nectar of the flowers and the stomach of the bees, in the umbilical cord of new-born babies, in the nest of the birds, in the milk of mothers, in apples and cherries. [They] are a tragedy for the health. […] We demand of our leaders the ban of all synthetic pesticides in France. Enough of speeches, acts. “In making this appeal, on 12 September last, the journalist Fabrice Nicolino had the ambition mad to gather over 5 million signatures in two years. Two weeks later, they are already more than 200,000 people have joined. Fabrice Nicolino, whose book-manifesto We want poppies integrates the list of the best sales in the bookstore, explains why he engaged in this fight.
The Point : It’s been twenty years that you alert, for your books and articles, about the dangers of pesticides. Do you think that the opinion has today taken the measure of the threat ?
Fabrice Nicolino, born in 1955, has denounced for over twenty years the slow poisoning of our food by pesticides.
© Anne Vaudoyer
Fabrice Nicolino : The awareness is obvious. It would have to be deaf not to hear all the ringers of alarm which warn of the dangers of these pesticides. Pesticides are a tragedy for public health. They cause cancer, Parkinson’s disease, disorders of psychomotor impairment in children, infertility, birth defects. We’re not talking hay fever here, but disease extremely serious which are affecting thousands of farmers, but also consumers of fruits and vegetables poisoned.
Why, according to you, does it take so long for it opens our eyes to this reality ?
We have not wanted to see it. And for a simple reason : at the start, when these chemicals are appeared, they were a revolution, great. We explain in our book that DDT, now banned, was first used to combat typhus. This insecticidal product powerful has actually saved lives in order to eradicate the fleas that conveyed this pandemic, particularly in the populations of the survivors of the camps. When it came time to use the same molecules in agriculture, we had no idea of the damage they cause. It was not until 1962 and the work of the biologist american Rachel Carson to take the measure of the problem.
also Read Reeves – The pesticides, this panacea became poison
it was more than half a century !
Yes. And for fifty years, the scientific authorities who alertaient on these dangers have not been heard. During this period, exposure to pesticides has been under-estimated. We chose the flight before.
Because an incredible lobby was in front. It is necessary to imagine a group of people and companies who, collectively, have every incentive to conceal this enormous scandal. This lobby has succeeded, over many years, to get the doctors who pointed this threat to the health of the mads. It were, however, of the great luminaries of science. The preface of the French edition in 1963 is none other than Roger Heim, a member of the Academy of sciences !
This “lobby” of which you speak is so powerful that the policies may not be able to counter it ?
A man alone can do nothing. And the resignation of Nicolas Hulot shows. This lobby includes industrial giants of the chemical and the food industry that are more powerful than the ministers and elected officials.
also Read Nicolas Hulot, the lobbies and the macronisme
You don’t wait so nothing from the current minister of the ecological Transition and solidarity, François de Rugy ?
I have already had the chance to say all the ill I think of this politician careerist who sacrificed the values of environmentalists on the altar of his ambitions.
also Read François de Rugy, promoted, or punished ?
But how can you say that this lobby is more powerful than the politicians ?
I’m not going to take just one example. When Emmanuel Macron said that France will pull out of glyphosate in three years, this lobby is organizing a response incredible : contradicting publicly the president. Following the devastating vote of mps on the 29 of may (reached at two o’clock in the morning) where, by 63 votes to 20, an amendment that would insert in the act, the prohibition of glyphosate is rejected by the national Assembly. The strategy here is the same as for the asbestos or the tobacco. Manufacturers are trying to gain time. When the glyphosate will be finally prohibited, and ten other pesticides, developed, meanwhile, will take its place.
And this is why we call for a true popular uprising and the pacific. In the Face of these companies that couldn’t care less about our health, only has weight in the community. The appeal I launched aims to bring together all people who feel concerned. I know this is a little solemn address to his ” fellow human beings “. But our initiative that transcends political parties or religious beliefs. The goal is to achieve, in two years, the critical mass of 5 million people. Then, we can finally make ourselves heard. And “break” this system.
More than 200,000 people have already signed your petition. Were you expecting such a success ?
I felt that the people were ripe. The French are concerned by the subject : 91 % of them consume at least once in the year, bio. It is a true revolution that is taking place in our plates. I have a friend who created in Paris the first organic supermarket, towards the canal de l’ourcq. Twenty years ago, the banks would not lend him money. He had to call his friends to meet the 750 000 francs at the time to launch his business. Today, such shops abound in all cities of France.
That are expecting you to do in the coming months to boost the movement that you started ?
We’re going to call people who want things to change to meet every first Friday of the month, in front of the town halls at 18: 30. On 5 October, we will launch the movement in 200 cities. We hope to make a snow ball. With these 200,000 signatures gathered in fifteen days, we have managed the launch of the rocket, but we must go further. We need to change the system. Of powerful industry can no longer dictate to our rulers the rules of the game.
Of the policies you join ?
as an individual, yes, but our movement is non-partisan and they are as an individual.
Who, among them, has already signed your call ?
I don’t have an exhaustive list. But I know that several former ministers of the Environment have joined us. As Philippe Martin, Delphine Batho, or Corinne Lepage. I would add that Marc Stenger, bishop of Troyes, is also a signatory !
You have been seriously injured during the attack of Charlie Hebdo, where you are working. Do you think that the fact of being a survivor pushes you to invest in this movement the purpose of which is to preserve life on our planet ?
I don’t know. I have a lot weighed for that Charlie engages in this fight. It seemed to me important that this journal is committed. I thought I was so much more that I can’t bear the idea that it reduces to the terrorist attack of January 2015. I can admit that Charlie is reduced to this image of death. Our call is actually a call for life. It is a celebration of the beauty of the world. If we do nothing, our campaign will soon be emptied of their birds, bees and butterflies.
This is the reason for which you took as an emblem the red poppy ?
Yes. It is a flower especially beautiful : at the same time fragile (its petals fall when you enter it) and very durable. It is said that its power of germination is higher than a hundred years. Some even say five hundred years !
It is also the symbol of a war. The British wear their lapel in remembrance of soldiers fallen during the war 14-18. Is it because you are calling a fight of this flower has become your symbol ?
I go often in England, I didn’t have this image in my head when I chose this emblem. But you and me, I am quite aware that we are carrying is actually a war against pesticides.
Fabrice Nicolino co-wrote with François Veillerette, former president of Greenpeace France, a book-manifesto where he detailed the dangers of pesticides used in intensive agriculture
© DR(1) We want to poppies, stop pesticides , Fabrice Nicolino and François Veillerette, editions, The links that release, 126 pages, 8 euros.
On the same subject Reeves – The pesticides, this panacea became poison