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Heading into a new decade

It’s hard to believe that this is the last newsletter for 2019, and for the decade!

This year has certainly been a busy one, so I wonder what 2020 will have in store for forestry and pesticide use?

Globally, there are a number of pressing issues – climate change, expanding populations and associated food security, the overexploitation of key resources. These will all reach a critical tipping point during the next 10 years.

Will those in power have the courage to make the difficult decisions? Perhaps, with this new ‘environmental awakening’ driven by a new generation of game changers like Greta Thunberg, we will start seeing positive change.

Closer to home, we are feeling the impact of this environmental awakening. The new FSC® pesticide policy that is looking to a zero pesticide-reliance in the future is the perfect example of this. People are beginning to ask questions and wanting to know more about their environmental footprint and the footprint of the products upon which they rely.

As an industry built upon a sustainable, green resource, we are lucky. But we shouldn’t get complacent.

Communication will be key as we move into the new decade. We need to reassure the wider public that forestry in South Africa is built upon sustainable harvesting practices and not deforestation. We need to address the myths and claims about indiscriminate chemical use, green deserts and over-exaggerated water consumption of our trees. At the same time, we must promote the vast array of forest-based products along with the economic, social and environment benefits our industry yields.

If we are able to transfer the passion for forestry of those within the industry to the wider masses who benefit (sometimes unknowingly) from our products, I believe the future can only be bright!

What has the last 12 months yielded?

It has been a truly amazing year for TIPWG. We have broken new ground when it comes to communicating with members, thanks in part to our website but also the quarterly newsletter and numerous publications we have generated this year.

There has also been a lot of work behind the scenes, with TIP-Mag getting closer to a reality and a number of exciting website developments planned for 2020.

It has also been an interesting year for pesticides in general, with Glyphosate on everyone’s lips (thankfully, only metaphorically) as the first cases lodged in the US going to trial. Closer to home, we have seen first hand the devastation of poor pesticide use can create, with bees bearing the brunt.

Globally, things may be getting brighter for bees with countries around the world deciding whether or not to ban products containing imidacloprid.

I believe, however, there is a far simpler solution to ensuring our pollinating pals are kept safe – one that does not require additional legislation, bans or new and improved pesticide formulations – all it needs is for people to READ THE LABEL! I am still staggered how something so simple can be so challenging for so many people!

With a degree of festive cheer, and a good splash of end-of-year panic, I want to wish all the TIPWG members a safe and peaceful festive season. If you’re traveling leave early, make regular stops and arrive alive. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, set aside your phone, turn off the computer and simply enjoy being in the moment with those you love.

Yours in all things pesticide,

Roger Poole
TIPWG Chairman

/ Note from the Chair

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