I saw this photo on Friday when waiting for my car’s service to finish. It was on the gate to a rural supplies store and I stared at it for a while before it’s shocking-ness struck me. I think it’s the violence of it that is so unappealing, the desire to KILL everything. Proponents will say ‘we only want to KILL the weeds’, but even though the main target will be such and such a weed, anything in it’s path gets KILLED – directly or indirectly. I am part way through Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, where she cites case after case of aiming poisons at one target but the damage affects the entire area’s ecosystem. Spraying to KILL a beetle that transported a disease within elm trees (which arrived due to humans), and within two years there’s no birds in the area. The birds didn’t even eat the beetles, they ate the earthworms that died because the poison’s residue decomposed into the soil after the leaves fell off in autumn. Nature is pretty complex, therefore we must KILL it.
I’m pretty sure a correlation or study exists somewhere that connects our use of chemicals in agriculture to the KILLING of ourselves too. [I just need to research a little more]. Slowly but surely our desire to rule nature is coming back to get us, through minute traces of chemicals that make it through to our position in the food chain. Or in the case of this ad, large amounts of synthetic chemicals that are applied directly to the plant that supplies our bananas and sugar.
Another thought comes to mind when thinking about the ad, is the relationship it has not just to our willingness in KILLING weeds but also relationships with others. Yes, weeds are not people it’s true, and I’m not suggesting anything to do with KILLING humans, but KILLING anything is a violent act, especially when there are other methods available. For instance, a saying to come out of the Permaculture course I did a few months ago is – “You don’t have a slug/snail problem, you have a duck deficiency”. Nature has a way to combat everything, and when you consider the entire system as a whole, what you originally perceive as a problem might actually be a benefit. There are good and bad weeds/insects/diseases for every situation, blanket application of synthetic chemicals to KILL them all is violent. People who spray are ‘trusting their killer instinct’, whereas I’m going out on a limb here and saying people who buy organic bananas are not making wars…just sayin’.
Here’s an angry paragraph from Silent Spring that I quite liked – “Under the philosophy that now seems to guide our destinies, nothing must get in the way of the man with the spray gun. The incidental victims of his crusade against insects count as nothing; if robins, pheasants, raccoons, cats, or even livestock happen to inhabit the same bit of earth as the target insects and to be hit by the rain of insect-killing poisons no one must protest.” This is from 1962. 50 years later and we’re still fighting a struggle of market domination and hippy-labelling just for buying organic bananas. When we buy synthetically-sprayed anything (which is almost everything), we are supporting those who made and promote this ad, and KILLING.
Small Habit Change – Buy no-spray bananas and sugar.