Ministry of Controversy

Raise your hand if you’re anti-environment

ANOTHER SUSPECT BUNCH   
The article "Consumers Challenged to Go Green" in Washington Gardener Magazine
praises initiatives by state Green Industry Councils for "fostering
understanding of green industry issues." Problem is, the article
doesn’t clarify who these councils are and it took a bit of reader research to find out that Maryland’s Green Industry Council’s
members are garden centers, turfgrass producers, "interiorscape"
businesses and "any other businesses working with
ornamental/environmental plants" – whatever they are – and one of its
purposes is to "combat business-limiting legislation."  Looks like a plain-old business lobby group to me, but what do I know?  A little more
research revealed that one of the goals of Virginia’s Green Industry
Council is to "identify green issues to be managed."

And so on
across the map.  Yet the puff piece article concludes thusly: "So, what
does this industry effort mean for you?  Specifically, there is a new
trend, an opportunity for you, to gain exposure to ecosavvy
strategies."  Or maybe just pro-business strategies because in this case "green" refers to the color of the stuff
they sell, not the popular shorthand term for pro-environment.   

INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCILS – WHO KNEW?
Anybody out there know who
sits on the National Invasive Species Council?  You may be surprised to
learn its industry representatives are Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, UAP
Timberland, and our old fave, Monsanto.  What the f*ck???  Monsanto
even heads up its Control and Management Workgroup.  Maybe that explains the wholesale promotion of "Roundup" by the EPA and other government sources.  (And it doesn’t stop at the federal level – state invasive species councils are similarly populated.  Monsanto’s everywhere.)

On a site
fighting proposed restrictions on the importation of plants and animals
(through the use of a White List of approved species), a "concerned
conservation biologist" has this to say about the Council:

The presence of an herbicide manufacturer representative, industry
representatives and academics with careers promoting "invader" fears is
very troubling in light of the absence of representatives from
associations of botanic gardens, zoological gardens, germplasm banks
and others whose research and conservation work requires that the
movement of species be free of unnecessary roadblocks. There is a
notable absence of skeptical voices on the Committee.

OKAY, ONE MORE
In August of 2005 Horticulture Magazine ran a letter from contributing editor Felder Rushing complaining that Nandina domestica was
added to Florida’s list of invasive plants with scant evidence of its
invasiveness solely to "justify a grant application for cleaning up a
borderline natural area."  He goes on to defend Nandina’s behavior in
its 160 years in the state.  Rushing came to understand the politics
and potential conflicts of interest involved during his tenure as
president of Florida’s Native Plant Society, so he’s a credible source
indeed.

WHAT’S MY POINT?
How about "Follow the money"?  Or this popular bumper sticker message: "Question Authority."  I like that one because it’s a throwback to the ’60s, and I do love my throwbacks.

[Photo:
It’s just a happy "I Love October" shot from my garden – of the aster
‘Purple Mound’ after it’s reverted to species height, then started
changing color.  Clearly a plant determined to be itself.]

Posted by on October 3, 2006 at 3:48 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.
Comments are off for this post

8 responses to “Raise your hand if you’re anti-environment”

  1. JLB says:

    Thanks for sharing these articles. It’s important to stay aware of what’s going on behind the pretty green posters.

    The ol’ throwback of thinking for ourselves never loses its value. 😉

    PS – I love October too!

  2. lurquizo says:

    What do we expect in a country where this kind of deception favoring business interests over the public’s or environment’s has become the standard? This is the true legacy of the last seven years of single party domination.

    I think Al Gore was one of the few true voices to emerge and point out the obvious to us: it’s the environment, stupid! We’ve GOT to do a better job of watching out for old mother earth. We can’t afford NOT to get this one right.

  3. firefly says:

    ” industry representatives and academics with careers promoting “invader” fears is very troubling ”

    Something about this struck a chord with a series of reports (and now a book) by Ray Moynihan, who is a contributing editor to the British Medical Journal, on the subject of “selling sickness,” or “a disease for every pill.” An article based on the book is at The Nation Web site:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051017/moynihan

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if agrobusinesses are adopting this kind of model to try to market their “problem-solving” products like Roundup.

    They’ve already attempted to market terminator technology, which basically prevents plants from setting viable seed, as a way of stopping genetically modified crops from spreading. Terminator technology would also allow agro companies to prevent farmers from collecting seeds from this year’s crops for next year — they’d have to go back to the seed company for another purchase.

    Thanks for posting this — it reminds me of another “throwback” saying, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

    You really have to keep your eye on these guys all the time.

  4. Amy Stewart says:

    You go, girl! Let’s stay on top of these “astroturf” groups!

  5. Kathy Jentz says:

    If you clearly state who you are up front (VGIC amd MGIC clearly have Green INDUSTRY in their titles) and your main goals are consumer education, than that is a group I can fully respect and endorse. They are not hiding their bias and it is up to the public to evaluate the worth and veracity of their works. I know as a home gardener I’m interested in what the local landscapers and garden centers are doing and advocating.
    This is far different than an organization that is trying to pass itself off as green-friendly while it does the exact opposite (BP oil) or under some made-up name (Project Evergreen?) that disguises the group’s membership and misleads the public.

  6. John Peter Thompson says:

    INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCILS – WHO KNEW?
    Anybody out there know who sits on the National Invasive Species Council? I know. The Council is headed by three principals: The United States Secretaries of the Interior, of Agriculture, and Commerce. Currently there are around 40 federal agencies including DoD, NASA, and EPA on the Council. I think you meant to blast the membership of the Federal Advisory Committee, ISAC. Anyone interested in an insider’s view of this committee?

  7. Kathy Jentz says:

    JPT – I’d love to hear more – esp. from an insider’s perspective.

    BTW does it annoy anyone else that Kermit is shilling for Subaru SUVs under a ‘easy being green’ campaign? Now I see Kermie and all I think is: “Sell out!”

  8. Joe says:

    Who do these people think they are?! All of this coddling is getting us no where. The “green movement” is killing the planet.

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