Sunday, March 14, 2010
Slinging 'green' mud
TruGreen, with more than 2.5 million clients and 250 branches, recently announced that it’s the “exclusive U.S. organic and sustainable lawn and landscape care sponsor” of Earth Day Network and that it will participate in Earth Day Network’s Earth Day event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 25.
The announcement drew strong comments from anti-pesticide campaigner Paul Tukey. “It’s all sickening, misleading and yet another example of an unfortunate sellout. Can the consumers see through this? Let’s hope so,” Tukey posted on his SafeLawns.org/blog.
Tukey, in just four short years, has emerged as a white knight leading the charge to slay what he and people in activist organizations see as the irresponsible, pesticide-using lawn care empire. As such, he travels the United States and Canada bashing the lawn care industry for its chemical use (pesticides and synthetic fertilizers) and promoting his book ("The Organic Lawn Care Manuel”), his documentary film (“A Chemical Reaction”) and the Connecticut-based lawn service franchise he co-founded.
Tukey, on his website, writes he once operated his own landscape company and used the same chemical herbicides that most companies use. But he claims they made him ill and a doctor advised him to quit using them, which he did. This revelation, like Saul on the road to Damascus, led to his conversion, only in this case to organic gardening. Building on the communication skills he acquired earning a journalism degree from the University of Maine and his experience as a newspaper reporter he’s attracted an enormous amount of positive press with his anti-pesticide activities and developed what appears to be a nice cottage industry for himself.
But back to TruGreen’s “greener” posture.
“Homeowners want to get the most out of their lawns, but often lack the time and expertise to create a lawn they can truly enjoy,” said President and COO Stephen M. Donly in the recent release. “At TruGreen, we’re not only partnering with homeowners to create a healthy, green lawn that’s easy to care for, but we’re also helping them do so responsibly.”
As part of its collaboration with Earth Day Network, TruGreen is also helping elementary and middle schools green up this year, the release said. Supporting Earth Day Network’s green schools project, TruGreen will help America’s youth enjoy green spaces, learn about the relationship between healthy turf and a healthy environment, and create gardens and landscapes.
The press release went on to encourage readers to call 888/901-LAWN to talk to TruGreen green specialists “to provide assistance in creating an organic, healthy, green lawn.”
(Hey, might as well round up some leads, right?)
Opined Tukey on his blog: “Earth Day is selling out to ChemLawn, the world’s largest lawn care company — and therefore the world’s largest purveyor of poisons around homes, schools and daycare centers.” — Ron Hall
Oh, I also came across the following article "Memphis' ServiceMaster on 'green' road with hybrid vehicles," Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 13.