Friday, February 22, 2008

Rising Up or Laying Down

By Rich Kozlovich

Recently at RISE’s annual Industry Grassroots Breakfast Karen Reardon, director of communications and grassroots, announced that RISE was going to attempt to increase its “army of industry advocates” by 600, increasing the membership to 1000 by 2009.

To work to develop a grassroots movement nationwide in support of the nation’s pesticide applicators is a work to be applauded. However, I find it most distressing when someone in a position of responsibility, such as RISE President, Mr. Allen James, states that “We’re being left behind in the green sustainability movement,” “In fact, we’re being looked at as the demon in this one.”

What does “green sustainability” mean? This desire to jump on the “phrases without any possible hope of definition” bandwagon is becoming pandemic in the pesticide application industries. No one can define “green”. Actually everyone can define “green”, because it is unendingly definable depending on your personal philosophy. Remember “organic” when it first was touted. It meant no pesticides then. Now they have a list of pesticides….oops…..now the meaning changed.

“Sustainability” is another nonsense term that is thrown around because it also can mean anything you want it to mean. The important thing is that neither one can be defined scientifically in such a manner that those who tout it will agree to. That is why these terms are being used. Because they sound great and mean nothing, but can be made to mean whatever the activists wish it to mean.

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) defines sustainability “as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." They reasoned that “We thus realized that we, too, were advocates of true sustainable development – that is, our mission in the developing world is to encourage and assist people and their governments to take the steps necessary to transform their stagnant, dependent societies into forward-looking, prosperous communities so that they will have the resources at hand to address environmental and human health concerns over the long term.”

Sounds good to me; but what if the activists decide that “sustainable” really means that prosperous communities are the problem and not the answer? Furthermore, what if they decide that all we have to do to be “sustainable” is to return to nature and “live in handmade huts without paved streets, running water, flush toilets, or even electricity” in order for all future generations to meet their needs? Do we then adopt another level of appeasement? This is what they support worldwide! In every undeveloped area of the world where their policies have been adopted or hold sway, dystopia has prevailed.

If we abandon that which is based on facts and adopt some sort of “green sustainability” program it implies that everything we have done in the past has been wrong, but now we have come to enlightenment and agree with the activists. Do we really believe that?

To paraphrase Col. John Boyd, "One day you will come to a fork in the road. And you're going to have to make a decision about what direction you want to go. If you go one way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club, you will lauded and applauded and you will become prominent. Or you can go the other way and you can do something — something for your friends and your industry and yourself. If you decide to do something, you will not be lauded or applauded, you will not get positions of prominence and you will not be a favorite of those who are prominent. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"

As for being “the demon in this one”; if standing up for science, facts, and truth demonizes our industries, then so be it. Winston Churchill once observed that “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”. I for one will not become one that chooses to feed my friends to the crocodiles, nor do I willing choose to be fed to them myself. Those who choose to do rather than to be, will stand with me.

No comments: