I thought long and hard on what motives the National Wildlife Federation had for working with an obvious opponent in Scotts. Looking at the faces in this post is one of the reasons I envisioned. How can you not want the National Wildlife Federation to have the money needed to lobby for wetlands across America?
The partnering failed in 2012 to have the National Wildlife Federation work with Scotts to promote new community gardens and the Be Out There initiative to get kids intimate with nature. The link is to my post that looks at kids today and what gardening can help to do for them. Be Out There is a program that the NWF currently has to encourage kids to spend time outdoors. Working with Scotts may have helped in reaching a wider audience.
This is where the partnership might have been strained in areas that conflicted with both parties mission statements. It did seem like the 30 million Scotts customers NEEDED reaching too. Yes, it might have been a sizable financial boon for the NWF, but it also could have been opportunity to influence as well. We obviously will never know.
It is hard in this day and age for a non-profit to operate and they need money to do their good deeds.
Last year, a major storm hit when bloggers abandoned the NWF by leaving their organization and relinquishing signs (did they really?), in addition to getting on the web with an all out assault. Where did this leave the future of the organization? How are they faring?
Did the NWF have to resort to simplifying the certification process that we looked at in the last post in order to increase contributions? I really don’t know the answer to any of this, but I can see the NWF having to do something to keep donations coming in, especially if indeed they suffered from the backlash.
I am pretty certain that many did not turn in their signs during the Scotts fiasco, although adamantly saying they would.
If you are eating grocery produce, it has the “devil’s tonic” sprayed on it to grow blemish free, not to mention the fertilizers and weed control used between rows. Now who does not want and eat perfect looking grocery produce? Is it OK to eat the produce grown with pesticides, just not douse our flowers?
I think the public needs retraining here. Vegetables and fruit do not need to be perfect. They just need to be healthy, safe and nutritious. Sadly, it also needs to be economical and readily available so here in lies the dilemma.
I have no argument that there are better ways to farm and garden, but are they as cost-effective in labor and plant loss which seems to be the bone of contention to support the use of growing and pesticide products?
If I had my way, these products would have never come to market, but that is not the reality folks. They are here and what do we do about them? Of course a small percentage of us will not purchase, but again that is not the likelihood of most, especially commercial growers. Does Scotts even provide products for commercial growers?
It is farming practice that needs to be modified. Farming in the US occupies about 954 million acres. The US has 2,263,259,000 total acres of land. 736,681,000 acres, are classified as forested acres. Total lawn usage is 40.5 million acres, small in comparison. More than 270 million acres of federal land are set aside by various government agencies for use as wildlife refuges, parks, and wilderness areas. Add these numbers up and it still leaves a bit more than a quarter of a billion acres for other purposes such as building and paved surfaces like roads which comprises about 39,040,000 acres in the US.
Nowhere could I get an estimate of gardens, but it is certainly less acreage than lawns if not already included in this statistic. My point being, that helping to use less or no pesticides and herbicides on home gardens, while admirable, is obviously little in comparison to the acreage use of the farms and commercial properties. Losing the lawn is helpful also, but again, small in comparison.
The only problem here is the effect on bees and birds since they don’t differentiate where they dine. Greater effect on them happens in the commercial fields, but it happens in gardens as well.
It almost needs to be a broad base mandate to have any measurable effect. Diazinon was successfully removed from the marketplace for all lawn, garden and turf uses, with manufacturing stopped in June 2003. I remember as a Master Gardener recommending its use as per what Cornell suggested.
It was recommended long after it was not manufactured, as product on shelves and stored in warehouses were allowed to be sold. You can see it can happen, but up until it does, many organizations recommend toxic or environmentally damaging product as long as they remain in the marketplace until exhausted.
Currently, the neonicotinoids ban is under review with three of the seven acting nerve agents being banned recently in the UK for the next two years. And why? The insecticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam put both land and water life at risk, but bees are the organisms behind driving the ban.
Seeds are treated with the chemicals and pervade the plants to stop insects in the soil from attacking the seed and other pests destroying the grown plant, unfortunately killing feeding bees and birds. In the US, the EPA is now re-evaluating the safety of neonicotinoids, but at the earliest, the direction on imidacloprid will be in 2016 and 2017 for clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Much like Diazinon, it looks to be a slow process.
Does Scotts have product with neoicotinoids? Check out this list. Also what about their birdseed? Birdseed is very susceptible to having been treated. I read where one treated corn kernel could kill a songbird.
Other countries are not so fortunate as we in the US, and have it worse with far greater toxic chemicals. Think about those pristine places as chemical dump sites, a much more toxic assault on the environment. There are a few of them in the US too, not just in places like China. More on that next post.
The preserved acreage in the US helps to support wildlife and provide animals a home if it is left in its natural state. That is exactly the point – the natural state. There is no control what others do and it is unlikely to change without it being enacted into law.
Part 3 coming up and a more intense look at the debate. The larger problem looks closer to home and habitats in need.