Monday, March 30, 2009

Irritated Feet, Irritated Homeowner

I have lots of ideas and thoughts about what I "should do" someday. One of those has been becoming more active in our neighborhood's homeowner's association. It's been easy to put-off, until NOW. After a trip outside, Baxter and Kirby proceeded to start madly licking their feet. My husband washed them thoroughly, but they have remained irritated -- particularly Baxter -- all day. On the same walk my husband noticed a guy out spraying around the houses and we looked into it. Apparently our HOA's landscaping service sprayed some toxic pesticide today and didn't bother to warn anyone about it.

I checked with the landscaping service (very helpful) and found out they have never been asked to notify us in advance or post signage about spraying having been done. Meanwhile we have LOTS of dogs and a few children who actively play in the greenspaces and yards around our neighborhood. Not to mention the protected wetland smack in the middle of the neighborhood. I was just remarking yesterday what a lovely variety of birds I can hear singing in the wetland. In addition to killing bugs that make your lawn a little less golf-course-like, this pesticide is very toxic to birds, bees and a variety of water creatures...not to mention dogs, cats and humans. Of course, I don't know the quantities they're using and I'm no expert on toxicity. But a day of constant foot-licking is not an insignificant warning sign in my book.

We have a new landscaping service this year and I'm wondering if the "perfect lawn" people are in charge of the HOA board? Or perhaps the "we don't care what you guys use, just make it pretty" people who don't ask questions and don't even give a thought to how pesticides are used around our homes and green spaces. In any case, I think it's time for the more environmentally-aware parents and pet lovers to become involved in the HOA. I'm fired-up. At the very least I'm going to advocate for posting signage when spraying occurs, and, if possible, I'm going to suggest we look for less toxic alternatives.

I guess this is my cue to "act locally." I'm just sorry that it took poor Baxter's and Kirby's sore feet to get me off my derriere to do it!

(Next stop after pesticides...getting solar panel approvals!)

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