An American Tradition

We all embrace customs, some silly and small, some big and important.  Summer barbecues.  4th of July parades.  The Superbowl party.  Pumpkin pie.  An aversion to the metric system.  Ours is a culture with many traditions, some born of social habit, others shaped by our response to technological innovation.  All of them contribute… something to the patterns of civilized life in society and by now we automatically, unconsciously accept these habits as good.  But that’s not good.  Some customs, by intense over-practice, outgrow their benefit.  Here’s one screaming for modification: our vast over use of pesticides.  The United States accounts for roughly 22% of all pesticide use worldwide and an astounding 78 million households apply nearly 66 million pounds of these chemicals annually.  And it’s not just for suburban turf care.  It includes the fungicides that keep our ornamentals glossy, herbicides that so easily eliminate unwanted weeds, and the insecticides that terminate the insects we often unfairly judge as loathsome.  We’ve been taught that a perfectly lush lawn flanked by pristine shrubbery is a more essential part of the American dream than the white picket fence.  And these ideas can be passed from generation to generation.

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