Saturday, April 25, 2009

20 Years of “Big Fears, Little Risks”

By Rich Kozlovich

In 1989 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) released a documentary called, Big Fears, Little Risks. This was very well received by the pesticide application, distribution and manufacturing industries. Back in those days I always “knew” where our industry stood. We “knew” that what we did was saving lives and protecting property with pesticides. Overall, people in agricultural “knew” that they were saving lives by feeding the world by growing and protecting their crops with herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. We “knew” that the activists were wrong and needed to be stood up to and needed to be challenged. Somehow that has all changed. It was subtle and insidious, but greenies now infest our industries, and many times in positions of responsibility.

Many of these people, fresh out of school, “knew” that pesticides were evil and needed to be eliminated. They “knew” that IPM was the answer...for a while. When that didn’t eliminate pesticides, then they “knew” that we needed to start performing “sustainable” pest control that was “green", terms that are so indefinable that they can be defined and redefined to meet any new criteria the greenies want. They apparently accept every irrational scare promoted by the greenies. Whether it is asthma, endocrine disruption, cancer, or a host of other scares, they seem to embrace them and promote the idea that they are true.

Recently I attended a recertification class where the speaker presented slides that showed the whole list of irrational, theoretical scares promoted by the greenies. I challenged this as unscientific. He and I have had this conversation before, and even though he agreed with everything that I said…..the slide remains part of the training. Why?

It came as quite a shock to me when I came to the realization that there already was a cadre of greenies within the industry, hiding right in our midst, out in the open. As a result; things have certainly changed philosophically in pest control.

The real question is this; has reality changed? Do we really need to "go green"? What does it really mean? Have we protected society for over sixty years or do we really believe that we been killing society and the environment? If we are doing so many bad things, why then are more people living longer healthier lives than ever before. Do we really believe that getting rid of pesticides won't have seriously negative consequences? Why do we really “need” to go green?

I have been told by people that should know better that, “everyone knows what IPM is”! Really? Then why are there so many definitions? Why do state legislative bodies require that someone provide them with a definition for IPM? We have lost sight of reality in order to become acceptable to the activists and their latest philosophical flavor of the day, and that flavor being “green”.

I always remembered the film, Big Fears, Little Risks, and I wanted to get a copy so that I could harvest some of the quotes from men like Bruce Ames for an article I was working on. I sent out a request to a large number of people who might still have a copy. Some said that they would look and if they still had it they would send it to me. One finally did; I would like to thank Ted Bruesch of Lipha Tech for his generosity. A number of people in my network informed me that I could download it from the ACSH web site. That was embarrassing, since I am a member and didn’t know it was there.

Well, twenty years has gone by and it seems that the irrational thinking is greater than ever. I will be sixty three soon and I have watched the world changing in ways that I would have never dreamed possible. I see people being washed back and forth with every new philosophical flavor of the day like the waves of the sea being dashed against the rocks by the wind. I feel more and more like the voice in the wilderness. Big Fears, Little Risks was roundly praised in 1989. I really think that it would be a good time for everyone to review this documentary once again. We can never return to Camelot, but it would be nice to remember who we used to be; because if we fail to recognize who we were, how can be realize who we will become? Or more important; who we should become!


To go to the download page, click here and click the title - Big Fears, Little Risks and then follow the directions. You might consider becoming a member of ACSH. Donate here.

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