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Poisoned Playgrounds: We All Need To Do What We Can

The film critics who watch our film, A Chemical Reaction, until the end all seem to comment on the same line. Delivered by the heroine Dr. June Irwin just before the epilogue of the movie, the message goes something like this: “It wasn’t about me, it was about us. Interested parties made pamphlets. Others did what they could do. It was a community effort. In the end, that was the joy of it. It wasn’t about me, it was about us.”

When I reflect back on 2009, in what was undeniably a difficult year in many ways, I know that what I’ll recall the most in years to come were the new friendships and relationships. So many of us are united in making a positive difference for the planet that we can now safely say going green is not just a trend; it’s a certifiable movement. And organic lawn care and landscaping is most definitely in the thick of things.

With this being a working weekend as we prepare for all the public lectures and movie screenings in the weeks ahead, I’m amazed at all the emails still coming in from folks who are thinking about 2010. Two photographs from Wisconsin really stopped me. Sent in by John Weiss, the owner of the company that is sponsoring the upcoming Midwest Organic Lawn & Landscape Conference, Chickitty Doo Doo,


they’re proof that pictures really are worth a thousand words. “I thought you might find these attached pictures interesting — and ironic, if they weren’t so sad!” he said.

Should there really be a day, a week, or even a minute of the year when a playground needs to be closed so a poison can be applied?

I firmly believe that if we all work together — as June Irwin says, we call do what we can do — then we can at least stop playgrounds from being sprayed. I’m certain we can get at least that far.

Spread these photos around and ask others this question: Should we allow playgrounds to be poisoned for the sake of killing weeds?

The answer is quite clear.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Margaret Sawyer

    These signs sicken me when I see them in the neighborhood in the spring and summer. But, you’re right, to see them on a playground is just insidious.

  • Risa Edelstein

    Paul, You need to constantly let us know what we need to do out in the field and in the blogosphere to make a difference. I am sickened by the fact that we continue to pollute our water and poison our pets and our kids. We see a movement towards organic lawns, but we really need a law just like in Canada (I lived in Montreal when the rule changed) to make it a reality. Lawns there aren’t really that bad and frankly, no one notices the weeds when everyone has them. I’d love to see that change in my lifetime.

    • Paul Tukey

      We are showing the film to several state legislatures in the coming months. We will very aggressively take that approach in the months ahead. Organize a community screening and invite your local elected officials. This is the way the film will really make a difference.

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