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A global perspective on pesticide use:
Citizens respond to pesticides and the environment

A group of 70 people from North and South America will gather together this weekend, November 8 – 10, to explore the complicated issue of pesticide use.

Organized and hosted by INSTRUCT, an international program based at Trent and designed to aid environmental rehabilitation in Mexico and Ecuador, the conference will be held at Camp Kawartha. The Kawartha World Issues Centre is co-sponsoring the event, and OPIRG staff have also helped out.

The conference schedule of events begins on Friday night and continues throughout the weekend. Highlights include a panel discussion featuring Janet May of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, Trent University Associate Professor Jennifer Clapp, Rosa Colta (who will present community perspectives of pesticide use in Ecuador) and Trent’s Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Chris Metcalfe. Saturday workshops feature Dr. D. Cole, associate professor at UofT; Pauline O’Brien, representing the National Farmers Union; Canadian Environmental Law Association researcher Kathleen Cooper; Ministry of Natural Resources ecologist Bill Crins; Clayton Wells, discussing permaculture; and representatives from OPIRG, exploring food safety.

"INSTRUCT is into its sixth, and final, year," explains Linda Slavin, Trent’s INSTRUCT program manager for education, research and community development. "We deal primarily with watershed ecosystem restoration work in the Rio Texcoco watershed in Mexico and the Lago San Pablo watershed in Ecuador, using an integrated ecosystem management system that is broad in its approach. Cultural, social and economic issues are examined in addition to environmental information. Partnerships include universities, communities, municipalities and non-governmental organizations."

INSTRUCT has been the driving force behind numerous multi-disciplinary research studies and community projects in Mexico and Ecuador, including several water-based projects and some waste management studies. A project in Ecuador has led directly to this weekend’s conference about pesticide use, which will involve researchers, community leaders and students from Canada, Mexico and Ecuador. Nine or ten translators will be on hand to ensure conference dialogue is accessible in both English and Spanish.

Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, INSTRUCT operates out of the Trent International Program office. Volunteers are crucial to the function of the organization, including faculty from Trent, the University of Guelph, University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick. Trent students have also helped to organize several conferences.

Photo 1: Students in Ecuador are involved in a paper recycling project as a result of INSTRUCT.

Photo 2: Trent’s Dean of Research and Graduate Studies visited Mexico and designed improvements for a well with local residents.

Photo 3: A group of women in Mexico work in a medicinal herb garden, another INSTRUCT project.

Posted November 7, 2002

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Last updated November 15, 2002