I was very pleased to see information on educating the public on green growing techniques included in my weekly CSA newsletter. The farmer we get our produce from uses organic techniques, and as he explained, he was unhappy that a big home improvement chain was running advertising on having a green home and included a product by Bayer Inc. The product, which is in granule form, is still a toxic insecticide, only it is not a spray on product. The problem with this ad is that it perpetuates the concept that organic gardeners do not use spray on or other types of pesticide and that items that do not get sprayed on the plants are organic.
For clarification, organic farmers use insecticides which are approved by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) and are derived from natural sources. Many of these are sprayed onto plants, but their purpose is to only kill harmful pests and to biodegrade efficiently and not kill off positive insects. The Bayer product, while not a spray on, is NOT organic, nor is it a safe product to consume. Please understand that organic is not about if food is sprayed, but what it is sprayed with.
Right now one of the main areas of research I am focusing on involves misleading green marketing. For example, Clorox sells their new Greenworks product as earth friendly, but what do we know about the production and waste products being produced? While the product itself may be "green" and within a consumer's home be a safe choice, consumers should also be aware of the consequences of producing the product. If the environmental cost to manufacture, produce and distribute the product is higher than the benefit of consumer use, how is this environmentally friendly?
I am hopeful that in the coming years there is legislation that requires a label to alert consumers as to how green a product is from start to finish. Many of the big corporations who are jumping on the green bandwagon would quickly fall off, and many of the small companies who are truly working to be environmentally friendly would see the success they deserve.