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Green and mean

From all the praise and adoration that organic products receive, you may think that by consuming them you’re the next best thing next to Rachel Carson. Not so fast, my amateur environmentalist. It has been shown that organic products may be better for health, that is true. But a recent study has shown that when it comes to being eco-friendly, organic farming may be sub par. Research from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, reveals that in some instances, organic pesticides can be more detrimental to the environment.

The study says that it is wrong to assume that just because pesticides are organic, means that they are better for the environment. In fact, the opposite may be true. Oftentimes, growers have to use larger doses of the organic pesticide to get the same effect as using synthetic ones. The study measured the effects of six pesticides used to kill soybean aphids: four pesticides were synthetic, two were organic, one mineral and one fungal. Using criteria such as toxicity to humans and wildlife and leaching rate into soil and water, the study concluded that the mineral and fungal pesticides were less effective and more destructive. One particular harm noted from the organic pesticides is that they were harmful to ladybugs and flowering plants which are necessary controllers of aphid population.

This example is only one of hundreds in which organic products could have an unexpected flaw. It is important to pick products that are natural, but they should also promote environmentally friendly practices. This case illustrates perfectly how the end product could be deemed organic, but the practices in place to attain the product are less than green. Moral of the story: organic doesn’t always equal eco-nice. It’s best to evaluate both the product and how it is made, cultivated, etc. in order to make a more green decision.


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