Thursday, January 8, 2015

What is Green Pest Control?

By Rich Kozlovich

Generally speaking society has the tendency to accept whatever appears on the news, or the newspapers, regarding scientific or environmental issues. It’s a mentality that’s kind of like that commercial where the really pretty girl says they aren’t allowed to lie on the internet, as the “French” boyfriend she met on the internet comes to pick her up….who is not only ugly….he clearly isn’t French. But she’s just as happy as a clam because “they can’t lie on the internet”. The green activists understand that’s how people live their lives and view reality.

What we need is clarity!

Definition leads to clarity, and clarity lead to understanding, therefore the first order of business for integrating some policy or other into society is defining that policy.  How do you really define “green pest control” (GPC)?

Five years ago on December 1 of 2009 I wrote an article entitled, The Trades and Me: A Dialog on Going Green, where I interviewed Frank Andorka and Pete Grasso who worked for the trade publication Pest Management Professional at that time.   I pointed out that only two states have a definition of green, of which they weren’t aware.  A subtle piece of information that probably no one else at any of the other trades that service the nation’s chemical industry knew either.  For that matter it seems unlikely that anyone at these industry’s trade associations knew it. 

APSCRO (Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials) sent out a survey to find out if any states had a definition for green, and two states.----that’s it, two states ---- Georgia and California had any form of definition.  “Georgia’s definition was, “Green Pest Management can best be defined as a service that employs and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach while utilizing fewer of the earth’s resources as a part of a larger effort to reduce human impacts on the environment”.  California’s report of a definition of GPM referenced their existing definition of integrated pest management and did not elaborate further on GPM.

Frank chuckled because he had always been taught that you don't use a defining term such as IPM to define another defining term, which in this case would be GPM.    The fact of the matter is that defining GPM is even worse than defining IPM and the states can’t define it any better than they were able to define IPM.  There will be no end to the changes or demands.  As I stated, pest control isn't a methodology, it is a practice.  Well, IPM and GPM aren't any form of methodology either, but neither are they a practice. 

Both IPM in structural pest control and GPM everywhere are ideologies disguised as methodologies and that is why finding a definition is a Sisyphean task.  IPM is an agricultural concept with a logical foundation of threshold limits.  What’s the logical foundation for IPM in structural pest control?  There isn’t one!  If something has no logical foundation it doesn’t exist.  Except the federal government demands we believe it exists, ergo, it exists illogically as a matter of faith.  As for GPM, that borders on neo-pagan mysticism.

Recently an exterminating company was lauded in Pest Control Technology for “going green” and how they sold it to their customers.  The first thought I had was – why do they have to sell it?  Unless of course it’s going to be more expensive and less effective!  Then of course I wondered why they wanted to sell it in the first place.  Did they believe pesticides are so damaging to society and the environment they don’t use them?  Well, that’s the rub isn’t it?  I went to their site and lo and behold there was the old saw about not having “harsh” chemicals introduced into people’s homes.  Yet they still offer what I will describe as – for lack of a better term – “Traditional Pest Control”.  Why?  If a company truly believes these chemicals used in TPC are so harsh they feel compelled to promote a program that defames them, why are they using them at all?  Does that strike anyone besides me as hypocritical?  

Another company, that defines GPM as IPM, claims the difference between a TPC technician and their “green technicians” was their training.   Their technicians were trained to inspect first then treat designated areas with – here it comes – “materials” and develop a “treatment plan that will quickly eliminate pests.”  They went on to say, “in addition to selecting from one of our 60 least toxic pesticides, and in partnership with our clients, we use techniques such as habitat manipulation, pest proofing, heat and bioremediation to achieve results.”   How is “habitat manipulation, pest proofing, heat and bioremediation” anything different than what we’ve been taught for the almost 35 years I’ve been in the industry?  As for heat treatments – why in the world would that be considered GPC?     

Furthermore, what does least toxic mean? Does that mean using a product that lacks efficacy and takes multiple applications to get rid of the pest?  Or does it mean using a more effective product that kills the pest in one trip?  Which is it?  Also, how many products out there have a signal word higher than Caution?  And if you use a product with a Warning signal word but it only takes one trip to end their infestation does that make it less toxic over the long haul?  Is that what least toxic means?  “Least toxic” is another term that’s so ambiguous it means nothing, just as IPM in structural pest control and GPM everywhere.  The rest of that is a load of advertising horsepucky!  Actually all of it’s a logical fallacy called Begging the Question.

They go on to say that, “Many people are also increasingly becoming concerned about the effect of pesticides on people and pets.”  Yet they use them anyway!  Why isn’t that considered rank hypocrisy and treasonous to our industry and the nation?

All of society has imbibed on the Kool-Aid and breathed the air of the fever swamps of environmentalism for far too long.   Modern environmentalism is a secular religion structured right out the the play book of Germany's Nazi Party, including the precautionaly principle, sustainable development, reduction of the world's population, and a return to nature to purify humanity.  A secular religion that can tolerate no heresy of any kind.  Everyone must be made to comply because they “know” what is best for everyone in the world, and their intentions are good -  just ask them!

Yet, how much knowledge can any group of people possess?  As Thomas Sowell once observed, even if they were the smartest people in the world it is unlikely they could possess one percent of the world’s entire knowledge.  But even if they did, that still leaves ninety nine percent unaccounted for.  That makes the potential for error substantial.  

History is the fountain head of truth.  The reality of "going green" is in the history of this movement.  History has shown the environmental movement has almost created a monopoly on being wrong.  Not only wrong, but deadly to millions and causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.  Should we be putting our fate in the hands of those with that kind of record?  Yet this movement has created a worldwide regulatory and public relations hegemony involving the media and the apparatus of government world over.

But that is changing because of the internet.  The American public is coming out of the stupor caused by a conspiracy lying activists, a corrupt media, self-serving politicians and self-serving businessmen.  But worst of all is a scientific community that has sold its integrity for 12 silver pieces known as grant money.  Grant money, not truth, is the holy grail of science today!

In industry I find that everyone is so afraid of offending someone!  Our fears about offending someone, or anyone for that matter, are part of that stupor.  I don't believe we should be rude, crude, stupid or smarmy, but we do need to be direct and state that which is true.  Factually and forthrightly!  As time goes by we will be vindicated by reality. 

In the meanwhile there is no reason to believe the trip is going to be anything except bumpy!  But that is what it takes if we are to defend who we are and what we do.  The very act of defending pesticides and their use is considered extreme and radical in many quarters.  But that is who we are and using pesticides is what we do.   If we are ashamed of what we do then we need to stop doing it.  If we believe that pesticides cause all the afflictions claimed by the green movement we need to stop doing pest control, because I don’t care what green claptrap a company embraces, they will eventually have to turn to pesticides.

Winston Churchill said; “The Bolsheviks have discovered that truth does not matter so long as there is reiteration. They have no difficulty whatever in countering a fact by a lie which, if repeated often enough and loudly enough, becomes accepted by the people.”  Illogical you say? Sure, but so what? It’s also reality; and that’s the challenge of our time.

I think the answer can be outlined by paraphrasing Diana West in her book, American Betrayal: "It’s easier to muffle the truth than act on it! It is definitely more pleasant if no one has to do anything heroic, or plan, or think confrontationally. Stifling the occasional and always tiresome voice of dissent is what drives editorials, position platforms, social activism and even pop culture."

Those in our industry who promote green are a bunch of conplicit head nodders trapped in an echo chamber of self congratulations?  The green movement is filled with extremists who are irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.  Is that who we are?  In the real world we're The Ratcatcher's Child, and we're doing what we've been doing for hundreds of years using the best tools available.   The difference is that over the last 150 years we became far more effective than using spears and spells to ward off pests.  But our shining time really came with the advent of DDT, the real beginning of safe, effective modern pest control. 
 
Since that time the world’s population soared from approximately two billion people at the end of WWII to almost seven billion now.  Those living in the most developed countries are also living longer healthier lives than anytime in human history.  They are also the countries where the general population is most heavily exposed to synthetic chemicals, including pesticides. 

Time and circumstance is on our side. We merely have to let everyone know that “Green” is the philosophical flavor of the day - better known as conventional wisdom – merely what everyone believes, i.e. consensus.  But green will never stand the test of time and become traditional wisdom.  And we need to have the courage to stand up and say so.

In the meanwhile - let’s try not turning back to spears and spells.

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