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eu pesticides, european commission, european union ecology

Obsolete pesticides excavated from landfills.

A shocking report released last month by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe found that over the past nine years there has been a 53% rise in contamination of the most hazardous pesticides in European fresh fruits.

The analysis of more than 97,000 fruit samples found that nearly one-half of all blackberries and one-third of apples had toxic pesticide residue. These pesticides have been linked to serious illnesses such as birth defects, cancer and heart disease.

At the same time, Reuters reports that intensive “farming, forestry and urbanisation are fuelling the degradation of natural habitats” adding that most of Europe’s protected “species have a negative conservation status.”

In an effort to dramatically reduce the volume of pesticides in the bloc’s food supply and rehabilitate its natural habitat, the European Commission has proposed dramatic new environmental targets. The first would reduce the use of chemical pesticides across the EU 50% by 2030. Pesticides would also be banned for use in public parks and protected areas.


The second would require EU countries to restore 20% of the bloc’s land to nature by 2030 and all degraded land by 2050.

In addition, the proposal would restore 15,500 miles of rivers and redirect them to their natural courses. It would also work to increase farmland bird populations.

“The aim is to cover at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 with nature restoration measures, and eventually extend these to all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050,” the commission said, according to The Washington Post.

Frans Timmermans, the commission's first vice president, will help the EU recover its natural habitat at a time when the planet is threatened by climate change.

Fruit plantation near Hamburg, Germany.

via Daniel Lerps/Flickr

“When we restore nature, we allow it to continue providing clean air, water, and food, and we enable it to shield us from the worst of the climate crisis,” Timmermans said according to The Washington Post. “Reducing pesticide use likewise helps nature recover, and protects the humans who work with these chemicals.”

The new proposal would be wonderful for the planet but the fast transition to pesticide alternatives would be a challenge to EU farmers. So the proposal allows farmers to use EU funds to cover the new costs for the first five years.

The proposal will have to be approved by EU member countries and lawmakers to take effect. Some are skeptical of making such drastic changes at a time when the bloc’s food supply has been compromised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, the European Commission believes if there isn't a switch to new farming techniques, the effect on the bloc could be disastrous as well.

"If we lose soil fertility, if soil erosion and degradation continue, that is going to be a major impact on our agricultural output," the European Commission's Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius told Reuters.

The European Commission’s proposal is a dramatic plan that could fundamentally change the face of Europe by reversing decades of damage caused by farming and urban sprawl. At a time when Europe is being challenged by war and the effects of climate change, returning the land to nature has never seemed like a better idea.

Joy

Delivery driver's reaction to snacks left for him shows how a little kindness goes a long way

“Seeing a grown man get so excited about Capri Sun is extra wholesome."

'Dee' the delivery guy stoked to get some Doritos.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can change someone’s day for the better, especially when that act of kindness lets them know their work is appreciated. Over the last few years, delivery drivers have done a fantastic job keeping people healthy during the pandemic, so Toni Hillison Barnett told News 11 that she and her husband started a tradition of leaving snacks for their drivers on the front porch.

The Barnetts, who live in Louisville, Kentucky, can see the drivers' reactions by recording them on their doorbell cameras. “I live for reactions like this to our snack cart! Thx to all of the delivery drivers out there! We appreciate you!” Toni wrote on an Instagram post.

Recently, one of the Barnetts’ delivery guys, a joyous fellow that we believe is known as Dee, went viral on TikTok because of his positive reaction to receiving some snacks during his deliveries. The snacks are tasty, no doubt. But it’s also wonderful to feel appreciated. After Toni posted the video it received over 100,000 views.

“Oh my God, you guys are the best, I gotta take a snapshot of this,” Dee can be heard saying in the video. “Oh, Capri Suns are my favorite, Yes!”

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Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a Silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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"Time is the one thing we cannot increase.”

Over his seven years as host of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah brought us laughter and valuable insights, even with a pandemic and political upheaval. He made such a positive mark that the announcement of his departure from the show came as bittersweet news to fans.

During an interview with Hoda Kotb of “Today,” Trevor Noah gave further explanation to his personal decision to leave, and in typical Noah fashion, it touched on something universal in the process.

“I realized during the pandemic,” he told Kotb, “everyone talks about a ‘work-life balance.’ But that almost creates the idea that your work and your life are two separate things. When in fact, I came to realize during the pandemic that it’s just a ‘life-life balance.’ It’s just your life.”

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
woman holding a cup of tea, writing in a notebook

It's no secret that everyone could use a little kindness in their lives and it can come in many forms. Sometimes it's the neighbor cutting your grass when your husband's away and you're too busy to get to it yourself. Other times it's sending a card to the elderly widow down the street.

One woman in Arkansas has taken to spreading kindness through writing letters to strangers. Allison Bond, 25, started writing letters over a year ago during COVID-19 when she couldn't attend school due to her medical condition. Bond has cerebral palsy and is at greater risk for serious illness should she contract the virus. Writing letters was an act of kindness that didn't require a trip out of the house.

Bond began by writing to soldiers and inmates. In fact, the first letter she received back was from a soldier. Bond told 5News, "I have one framed from a soldier. He had all his battle buddies sign it. So I framed it so I could put it up." She's kept every letter she's received.

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