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Pesticide Users and Producers Launch Campaign to Combat Activists
(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2003) A landscape industry trade group, spearheaded with chemical companies Dow AgroSciences, Bayer and Syngenta, has announced a new major campaign to educate the public "about the importance of healthy landscapes and green spaces." Spurred to respond to what it calls "coordinated activist efforts to curtail or even eliminate pesticides and fertilizers. . .," the Evergreen Foundation, which has focused on promoting and supporting greenways for several years, announced a reorganization in June that is now taking shape to campaign for "careful use of pesticides and fertilizers, prudent use of water, managing noise and air pollution." According to the Foundation, "The marketing campaign will be aimed at highlighting the positive economic, environmental and lifestyle benefits resulting from creating and maintaining health landscapes and green spaces."

The companies and associations that have provided initial funding for this campaign are: Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), Bayer Environmental Science, John Deere Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Equipment Division, Dow AgroSciences, GIE Media, Inc., Griffin LLC, Lawn Doctor, LESCO, Syngenta, The Davey Tree Expert Company, The Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), The Scott s Co., The Turf &Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), The Toro Co., Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), Trusty & Associates, Turfgrass Producers International (TPI), and Weed Man USA.

The Foundation is planning to implement a consumer communications campaign in the fourth quarter of 2004 or early in 2005.

Pesticide producer and user groups have long sought to remake their image through association names and name changes. The National Agricultural Chemicals Association became the American Crop Protection Association and then transformed itself into CropLife America. Pesticide producers and the user community set up RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). The conventional, chemical-dependent lawn and landscape industry, whose leadership has closely allied itself with the pesticide industry, refer to themselves as the green industry and hold the "Green Industry Expo."

Environmentalists have long referred to these industry efforts as "greenwashing." The Oxford English Dictionary defines greenwash as "Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image."

In the late 1990's, environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, joined with those in the golf and landscape industry who wanted to develop environmental principles for golf course management. That effort resulted in the publication of Environmental Principles for Golf Course in the United States, which is being used by golf courses and landscapers throughout the U.S. Beyond Pesticides also works with those who are managing organic landscapes. For more information on finding landscapers who adhere to environmental principles, see Safety Source for Pest Management.