Sylvia Knight

                     Earth Community Advocate & Researcher



"When we forget that we are embedded in the natural world, we also forget that what we do to our surroundings we are doing to ourselves." David Suzuki, 1997

"...We need to understand how the human community and the living forms of Earth might now become a life-giving presence to each other." Thomas Berry,1999

Earth Community means the whole community of life including humans,and the biosphere--soil, air, the water cycle-- in which all life is inter-related and upon which all life depends. See the Earth Charter.

My study of independent research and literature on pesticides convinces me that their wide use endangers Earth Community now and for the future, and that we must use our creativity and love of life on Earth to develop alternative, non-toxic management solutions for school pest management, landscaping, home pest management, agriculture, and long-term management of electric, highway and railroad infrastructures. Pesticides are associated with human health issues such as asthma, autism, birth defects, cancers, immune system disorders, learning disabilities, skin problems, respiratory disease, and thyroid problems. We are poisoning our own nest, and there is no where else we can live.

Pesticides include chemical agents such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides and other chemicals designed to kill or control living organisms considered to be "pests". "Biocides" may be a more accurate term to describe these substances because it reflects the fact that such chemicals harm life-forms other than the targeted "pest". (Greek, bios = life; Latin, caedere
= to kill.)

    Endocrine Disruption
    Inert or Unidentified Ingredients

    Health Effects in Humans

    Problems with Pesticide Registration

    EPA and Pesticide Registration


    Bio-Integral Resource Center

    Rachel Carson Council and the Green Mantle Initiative



Herbicides are used yearly for weed control at most electric substations in Vermont (and elsewhere) without permits or notification. Substations are located near human habitation, businesses, recreation areas, in wetlands and near streams. They are built on loose stone with underground drainage which enables herbicide-contaminated water to enter waters of the state, posing risks to aquatic life and groundwater. Community water supplies may be contaminated. Citizens may be exposed to toxic herbicide drift in air. Utilities are externalizing, or making us and future generations pay for costs such as contaminated water and our exposure to toxins. Substations should be planned and built as enclosed structures so that toxins are not needed for long-term maintenance.


Presentation to Vermont Pesticide Advisory Council, 20 April 2011

Notes accompanying the presentation (you will need these to understand the Presentation.)

Rationale for regulation of herbicides at substations on private property

Electric Substations, Herbicides & the Community of Life; a report to Public Service Board, Department of Public Service, Agency of Natural Resources, and Vermont Pesticide Advisory Council, November 2011

Herbicide Factsheet

Witness for Wetlands: Charlotte Substation Update 2013

VELCO Transmission System Map & Waters of the State

Powerpoint: Substations, herbicides, and phosphorus