Note: Please see the end of this post for an important update!
My “WTF?” moment yesterday came from something in Ursula Vernon’s journal. The National Wildlife Federation has entered a partnership with ScottsMiracle-Gro, the manufacturer of lawn care and garden chemicals and fertilizers, to support an initiative to get kids to play outside in more natural spaces. Granted, getting kids to go outside and experience a little nature is a good thing on the face of it. But lawn chemicals and fertilizers have a pretty big negative effect on wildlife and habitat when they runoff into the ecosystem away from where they were applied. That’s the sort of thing the NWF would crusade against, maybe.
The NWF issued a press release last week. Ursula’s post is http://ursulav.livejournal.com/1483411.htm (as well as her blog on her website). Her post links to another blog that opposes the deal, and there are quite a few other blogs commenting now.
One of Ursula’s commenters suggested that nonprofit groups are having a worse and worse time getting financial support, and maybe the NWF needed this money. I hope they got a little extra to pay for top-notch P.R. because this is the sort of thing that really needs a good spin to work for them.
I like to say that when all the landscape looks like a lawn, all the birds will be robins. By this I mean that as more and more natural landscapes are flattened and seeded with grass, more and more different species of plants and animals will go away, and we’ll be left with a sliver of the ecological diversity we enjoy. Most people won’t realize the difference. Most think all feathered flying critters are named simply “bird.” They don’t care about field sparrows and ovenbirds and shrikes and quail. That’s the sort of thing the NWF could affect, but how much can they do when a large amount of support comes from a lawn care company?
But am I part of the problem because NWF hasn’t gotten money either from me or on my behalf since I got Ranger Rick in the early 70s?