In defense of organic
Posted by Tom Laskawy on 7/26/2011
As Grist readers know, "mythbusting" Scientific American
blogger Christie Wilcox took on organic agriculture recently in "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture
Now, I do agree that there should be no sacred cows -- we should
examine everything with a critical, if not jaundiced, eye. And indeed
Wilcox brings up issues surrounding organic ag about which many people
may not be aware. But sadly, her analysis goes quickly and seriously off
First the good points: Organic ag does use pesticides, sometimes in
large quantities. This is not a new revelation: There are a set of
pesticides approved for organic use, including copper and sulfur
anti-fumigants and the naturally occurring Bt toxin. Copper and sulfur
in particular are often overused, especially among fruit growers. While
these chemicals can be used by any scale of farmer, it's a particular
problem among so-called "industrial organic" farmers.
Today I was following a bright yellow Smart Car on my way to work at the econscious office. When we came to a stop, I noticed a small sticker in the back window that simply said…”Pesticides Suck”. For some reason that really struck me as significant and my mind began to race. The simple eloquence of this shout-out brought me back to the crux of the issue with regard to organic agriculture and organic cotton…Pesticides Suck and we need to keep them from spilling into our eco-system and causing irrevocable harm. While there are other reasons why we choose to use organic cotton in our products, doing our part to reduce the amount of pesticide used in the world is the most important priority.