ABSTRACT

This introductory chapter seeks to provide the “big picture” on why and how synthetic pesticides are one of the leading public health concerns of the 21st century. They pose an existential threat to humans and the environment globally, and specifically, in Africa. The current chemical industrial model of farming and food systems anchored on the use of synthetic pesticides is failing. The contents of this book provide the evidence. Current farming and food systems promote and encourage the use of synthetic pesticides, driven by profit interests, resulting in more use of herbicides and pesticides. Writing the introductory chapter for this book titled “The Impact of Synthetic Pesticides on the Health of the African People, Animals and Environment” is a rare honor and a herculean task. The author sees it as an opportunity to “swim with the dolphins” and also contribute a “drop in the ocean” to stop the raging fire in the forest. There is an urgent need to recognize that if the current generation destroys the environment, humanity, by extension, will be hurting themselves and destroying the heritage of future generations. Humans are “stewards” of this earth’s resources and are entrusted to protect and preserve all that is within it, especially in Africa. It is to the Mother Africa that this introductory chapter is dedicated and to all of its richly diverse peoples. Subsequent chapters discuss how synthetic pesticides are an increasing threat to the health of soils and microorganisms while degrading the environment in addition to worsening the health of animals and humanity. The present state of affairs poses an existential threat to humanity unless we put a stop to “digging the hole” and embrace more sustainable and environmentally friendly food systems such as the transformational regenerative agriculture. Information in subsequent chapters, from Chapters 2 to 20

AU: Kindly note in this book only 14 chapters is there, but till 20 mentioned. Please check and update correct chapter numbers throughout this chapter.

, will provide robust evidence of the magnitude of the problem created by synthetic pesticides use and the need for humanity to awaken to that sobering reality, especially the African peoples. They need to protect the continent from the “push to flood it” with toxic synthetic pesticides and other harmful agrochemicals. This book is, therefore, dedicated to the health of African people, their animals, and their environment. Toward that end, subsequent chapters of this book speak to this African audience. Agroecology presents a sustainable integrated and sustainable food system solution as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides. Agroecology presents a food system that embraces natural cycles and rhythms, is affordable, and positively impacts the “Quadruple Crises” which include increasing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, soil degeneration and loss of biodiversity, erratic climate change, and an emerging socioeconomic crisis. The agroecological food system provides a sustainable and economically viable solution to these “Quadruple Crises” in one transformational shift. This is the future of food security (and sovereignty) that Africa and the African people must embrace and take the leadership

AU: Is edit made to this sentence okay? in preserving the planet for future generations. This will be accomplished by working in partnership with like-minded leaders and other agroecological practitioners, including the authors of this book. Furthermore, this action is aligned with the clarion call from the UN as echoed in the UNCTAD report “Wake Up Before It Is Too Late”.