Any therapist or self-help guru will tell you upfront, you can’t get into a relationship thinking that you can change the other person. They will tell you that this is an exhausting, destructive predicament that will lead to heartbreak rather than the outcome that you had wished for. They will warn you off of making a further commitment. So will your best friend, your mom, and your great aunt Jean.
Yesterday, I learned that the National Wildlife Federation has aligned with Scotts, the company responsible for manufacturing several garden and agricultural toxins, including Miracle Gro and Roundup. Those of you who are familiar with this beloved environmental protection group will likely have the same reaction that I did. How? How can they champion for the environment with a massive environmental polluter as a beneficiary?
Where was their great aunt Jean when they needed her?
I don’t always hold myself back before making snap assessments and judgements, and it was in the spirit of hearing how they could possibly justify this partnership that I tuned in at 1pm EST today to watch and listen as NWF CEO Larry Schweiger spoke live and online about the decision and what it means for the future of the organization forward. Although the presentation left me cold and disappointed, I can’t say I was surprised to hear a whole lot of spin as well as some pretty conflicting talking points. Like anyone that has entered into a bad relationship with the misguided assumption that they can affect change from the inside, it seems as if the NWF have their head in the clouds and don’t really know what in the hell they are doing.
To add further insult to injury, I was informed via Twitter later this afternoon that they had rearranged their Facebook page [note that my link takes you inside, beyond the splash page] so that you have to switch views to see the plethora of dissenting comments and making it a more convoluted process to add a comment. Tricksy. The message is clear, “We care what you, our members and supporters think about this partnership. Psych!”
So many people have already eloquently and passionately written about this debacle, including The Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens website that has published two very thorough posts on this case. [1 | 2]
I urge you to read the exhaustive background information that they’ve provided as well as some of the writers below. And as always your thoughts on this are very welcome in the comments below.
- Follow some of the discussion on Twitter via the #NWF hashtag.
- Margaret at Away to Garden has a discussion going. This comment in particular makes a good point about the state of the gardening industry as it relates to sponsorship by chemical giants like Scotts.
- Benjamin Vogt has written a very heartfelt summary of why this is important.
Today’s Columbus Dispatch has published a piece revealing that Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. plead guilty to charges that between 2005 and 2008 it sold 73 MILLION UNITS of bird seed coated in insecticides that are, “extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.”
All of this follows on the extremely well-timed heels of a Scotts & National Wildlife Federation “Save the Songbird” campaign that includes on location events and social media outreach that began to appear on Twitter just two days ago. Since Scotts knowingly sold millions of units of a toxic poison that was then unknowingly distributed across North American backyards, I wonder: Are Scotts really interested in “saving the songbirds” or saving their dirty image and making a buck?
This also leads us back to the National Wildlife Federation’s defence of this partnership as a chance to affect change within the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. How can a company that knowingly sells a product that is toxic to the very wildlife it claims to nurture and support, be seen as poised to make changes that could hurt their bottom line?
UPDATE (JAN 29, 2012.):
The National Wildlife Federation have announced via their website that they will be ending their relationship with Scotts, citing the Songbird scandal as the reason behind this action. Read their statement here.