农药是现代农业的重要组成部分, 但随着不可预测的影响破坏og真人登录平台生态系统的关键元素, 监管的底线在哪里? 洛林教授Maltby explains how we can mitigate ecological harm by changing the way we think about our environment.
想象一下，明天早上离开家，发现人行道上躺着一只死甲虫. 不像看到一只鸟从天上掉下来，它可能不会立即引起警报. 事实上，og真人登录平台甚至不可能注意到. ,甲虫, 然而, 可能负责回收分解的树木，甚至在其短暂的生命中为花朵授粉.
Tiny differences in our surroundings like this have the potential to impact our lives in ways that are bigger than we realise. 它绝不仅仅是流行文化的碎片, the butterfly effect (or perhaps more fittingly in this case – the beetle effect) has the potential to cause unpredictable changes to our environment, 生物多样性和最终的生计.
没有什么比农药更能说明这一概念了. 的 abundance of food that awaits us at every trip to the supermarket simply wouldn’t exist if not for these chemical concoctions destroying the unwanted organisms that harm crops. 但误用它们往往会造成破坏性的后果.
问题是，农药本身就具有破坏性. 洛林·莫尔特比教授是og真人登录平台的环境生物学家和生态学家. She explains: “Pesticides are designed to be biologically active and can therefore adversely affect biodiversity and the benefits people derive from ecosystems. 这意味着没有一种农药是真正安全的——安全的农药是没有作用的.”
由欧洲食品安全局发布, the latest guidance document on the environmental risks of pesticides in aquatic ecosystems has drawn on scientific developments to improve risk assessment, 包括洛林和她在谢og真人登录平台的团队.
的 guidance has been applicable to any EU member state wanting to register a pesticide since 2015 and by March 202022 per cent of pesticide registrations submitted to the EU were not approved for use due to unacceptable environmental impacts identified using this guidance. 在它的影响, the guidance has identified specific goals for protecting aquatic life as well as informed key decisions for risk assessors. It will steer us towards solving the puzzle of how to use pesticides to deliver the effects we want at minimal cost to the planet.
自2003年以来, 洛林一直在建立一个证据库，以便让世界更好地应对这些化学物质. As well as laboratory experiments and field investigations into how pesticides affect both single species and communities of different organisms, 在模拟淡水沟渠中也进行了研究.
使用从文献和行业文件收集的信息, it was also possible to carry out modelling and analyses to predict the effects and sensitivity of these species to pesticides under realistic conditions.
og真人登录平台正在使用这些信息来试图理解三件主要的事情, what ecological systems provide us in terms of benefits – known as ecosystem services – how those benefits are driven by the types of organisms present and the things they do, 那么农药对这些生物有什么潜在的影响呢.
将这些生态系统服务与其他因素——人类——进行权衡, 经济, the social – and relating it to what people need and care about may at last allow us to start thinking about pesticides in a holistic way.
But the sheer breadth of EU-wide regulation poses a key problem for the specificity and relevance of current risk assessment. Risk assessors face a tricky compromise: it’s simply too time-consuming for every country to generate their own data specific to their needs and considerations… but this limits the types of organisms we’re able to monitor and means we might miss unexpected and unacceptable effects.
为了把答案转化为行动, og真人登录平台如何从科学家在实验室中测量到的生物来推断, og真人登录平台正在努力保护的植物和栖息地?
Pesticides have the collective power to eradicate all manner of pests that threaten the survival and growth of crops… and even those that don’t.
来自农田的径流和过度喷洒邻近的栖息地, 例如, 会否导致杀虫剂进入池塘, 河流或海洋, 造成鱼类数量下降和生物多样性丧失. 这种情况正在世界各地发生，这也是欧洲食品安全署指南关注水生环境的关键原因. 因此，这种潜在的破坏性肯定需要严格而彻底的监管程序?
只是目前的工作方式是对不同物种进行单独的研究——其中一项是对鱼类的研究, 另一只水蚤叫 水蚤, 三分之一是og真人登录平台绿藻, 例如，然后根据这些结果进行风险评估和保护决策. But 洛林 points out that testing just a handful of species isn’t going to give us the information we need.
“这些研究是为了保护整个环境. 尽管这有其优势，因为它是标准化的，因此是可复制的, 真正的问题是你如何处理这些信息? 它告诉你什么?
“og真人登录平台从中做出的每一个推断都有明显的不确定性. 因为这个, we might question how we can go from knowing the effect of a chemical on a little daphnia in a jam jar to all the invertebrates out there.”
“What we’re trying to do is to filter out the most harmful chemicals and effects as we go through different tiers of complexity in a very robust approach,”洛林说. “We’re addressing those uncertainties that arise from the extrapolation and trying to peel some of them away at each level of regulation.
She elaborates: “You start with a very simple standardised approach where those really harmful chemicals are ruled out. So what you’re trying to do is filter out the ones in the lower tiers which would never be accepted for use because their effects are too damaging. We set out a regulatory framework where we can say: if these are the kinds of effects that these chemicals can have on these sorts of levels, 超过这个水平，生态就不能接受了.”
这种分层的方法, 已经验证在文档中使用, 是在为改进农药管制铺平道路吗, 最重要的是, 行动. 在使用的方法中, investigating how to harmonise risk assessment across major EU legislation and how ecological theories can frame protection goals were just a few components to developing the approach.
随着全球生物多样性丧失和环境破坏的不断增加, 然而, 现在比以往任何时候都更需要采取行动. 但最大的改变必须来自og真人登录平台自己……
在问题重重的全球形势下, 在什么地方需要在人类利益和环境损害之间做出重要的权衡, 仅仅是科学知识的进步不一定会带来未来更好的管理. 洛林说，最终一切都要由og真人登录平台来决定.
她警告说:“归根结底，这是社会的决定. 是社会可以影响监管机构和政客的决定. 我认为目前og真人登录平台有足够的知识来管理，并做得相当好, 但是og真人登录平台需要改变og真人登录平台的心态. 作为一个社会, we need to become more aware of how biodiversity is important to us and the multiple benefits we can get from ecosystems, 并意识到化学使用对那些来自自然的益处的影响.”
即便如此, she is optimistic that a shift in how we think and act will increase people’s involvement and lead to a shift in the types of conversations we’re having too.
“Keeping the conversation going and getting many different groups of people involved in it is really important,”她总结说.
但在一开始, 洛林 admits that her interest in the environment and its inhabitants didn’t extend to considering what it might provide us. 她以自己的职业生涯和研究为例，促使自己改变了对这个问题的看法, 现在我更倾向于从社会的角度出发，而不是仅仅通过冷冰冰的硬性数字. “对我来说，这是最有趣的部分，”她坚定地说.
Helping to better our global situation is still an ongoing process for 洛林: her current projects are extending her risk assessment approach to other chemical sectors as well as environmental issues, 包括了解化学品在未来气候变化情景下的影响.