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Lawn Guy Feels Earth Day’s Pain


Tom Kelly says he knows how Earth Day feels. The organization really wanted to believe it was doing something right by helping to promote earth-friendly landscaping, and only unwittingly got caught up in what we’re calling TruGate — a rather scandalous attempt by TruGreen/ChemLawn to greenwash its tawdry business practices at the expense of Earth Day’s reputation.

Kelly, who lived on what I’ll jokingly call the dark side of the green industry for two decades as co-founder of the Lawn Dawg company, has since founded Fire Belly Organics, a company offering a 6-step lawn care fertilization plan.

This week, on his company’s blog, he wrote an open latter to Kathleen Rogers pledging 15 percent of his company’s sales to Earth Day through May 15. Here is a passage from the letter to the Earth Day Foundation president: “I am writing to applaud you for your move to discontinue your relationship with TruGreen as I believe it sent a strong message to environmentalists AND the common person that the use of chemical fertilizers and dangerous pesticides simply is not appropriate in today’s environment. The fact remains that there are safe alternatives to lawn care solutions. With that being said I am well aware of the fact that the discontinued relationship has to be difficult due to the fact that TruGreen was a major sponsor of your organization. It must have been an extremely arduous task as you pondered the appropriate course of action. After all is said and done I am certain that your move will be nothing but beneficial for everybody involved.”

With that, Fire Belly has created a link specifically for folks who want to support Earth Day: by purchasing its products.

It likely won’t amount to more than a small percentage of what Earth Day had to give up went it renounced TruGreen, but the symbolism is strong. it wouldn’t be a bad idea for other organic suppliers to follow suit.

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
  • James Willis – Organic Gringo

    I think Firebelly’s intentions are spot on! I applaud Kelly.

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