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To chemical or not to chemical: that is the question!

To add my two cents' worth to the conversation:

Some folks (and I consider myself among them) find it practically a
religious obligation to avoid the use of agro-chemical products such as
those produced and marketed by Scotts and similar companies. I view each
of my beds (and even my potted plants) as a micro-ecosystem, which is in
turn part of the larger ecosystem of my yard, which is in turn part of
the larger ecosystem of my neighborhood, etc. The chemical fertilizers
(Miracle Gro, for example) and pesticides (such as diazinon) in question
do nothing to contribute to that ecosystem. In fact, they damage it by
reducing biodiversity and depleting the soil of nutrients.

The real difficulty is not the products themselves (though I do have
issues with the ways in which many of them are developed and marketed),
but the appalling lack of accurate information that is dispensed with
them. U.S. consumers tend to want a quick fix and don't want to be
bothered with details like long-term consequences or application
techniques that involve careful observation and discriminating use.
Companies that cater to this infantile desire for instant gratification
(such as Scotts and ChemLawn)show a lack of responsibility and integrity
that many people find alarming. 

When a respected institution such as the U.S. Botanical Garden affiliates
itself with a company like Scotts, it lends its prestige and influence to
that company and suggests that it approves of that company's operations.
Many people hope that the U.S.B.G. would use its influence to change the
ways in which companies like Scotts operate, rather than benefit from
them. I don't know the policies of the U.S.B.G. regarding sustainable
gardening practices; it's possible they may be a major consumer of
fertilizers and pesticides like those manufactured by Scotts, so the
endorsement implied by accepting funds from them may be completely
consistent with their practices. If so, that's REALLY something to voice
an opinion to the U.S.B.G. about.

(If anyone knows anything about the U.S.B.G.s policies and practices,
please share that information.)

Jennifer Barricklow

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