The "Real" Cost of Bananas: Crop Dusting and Toxic Fungicides in Costa Rica

Stephen Brooks is the co-founder of Kopali Organics and a correspondent for Planet Green's G Word.

A common topic when discussing environmental issues is the acronym "NIMBY," meaning "Not in My Backyard." This simple phrase refers to the way many people around the world are not overly concerned with many of the environmental problems, because they are just not happening in there own backyards: things like dealing with garbage and our landfills, or the fact that sweatshops that employ children in developing countries that make our favorite shoes do not really effect us in the ways they should because we just do not have to see it or feel the pain that these activities around the world cause. This ignorance creates consumerism and the needless waste continues. This short video is actually filmed very close to my backyard on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.It was this very spraying that I witnessed as a plane just like the one you just saw in that video, crop dusted toxic fungicides right over a playground full of indigenous children in 1995 that caused a deep jolt in my consciousness and caused drastic changes in my own life at the young age of just 20 years old. As I witnessed this horrific sight all I could think of was "who in the hell is responsible for this"? It was in that moment that I realized that I had been responsible my entire childhood as I sliced my Chiquitas into my Cinnamon Life cereal every morning, and in that action actually voting for this very evil to be done, not to mention, the toxic chemicals that cause algae blooms in the ocean offshore killing the coral reefs and the blue bags floating in the ocean causing turtles to suffocate, confusing them for jellyfish.

This was my A-ha! moment that helped me to realize my part and my role in way bigger system of which I never realized that I was such an important part of. Everything that goes down environmentally and socially on this beautiful planet is in someone's backyard and we are all in this together. I would like to say no one wants to cause such harm and destruction in this world and it all comes down to education about what is being done in backyards across the world that is beginning to make all the difference. I applaud Treehugger for being such an important part in helping to bring this education to our computers every morning! Hasta pronto!

Stephen Brooks is a jungle tropical fruit farmer in Costa Rica, the co-founder of Kopali Organics and is the Food Field Reporter on Planet Green's G Word.

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