A Chemical Reaction
The documentary trailer
“A child of ten months old fell sick with vomiting, diarrhea, and fever and became comatose. The etiological inquiry revealed that her paraplegia was due to an intoxication by a derivative of 2-4D utilized to kill weeds.”
A Chemical Reaction, is a 70 minute feature documentary movie that tells the story of one of the most powerful and effective community initiatives in the history of North America. It started with one lone voice in 1984. Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist, noticed a connection between her patients’ health conditions and their exposure to chemical pesticides and herbicides. With relentless persistence she brought her concerns to town meetings to warn her fellow citizens that the chemicals they were putting on their lawns posed severe health risks and had unknown side effects on the environment.
Dr. Irwin’s persuasive arguments and data to back her findings eventually led the town of Hudson to enact a by-law that banned the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides. The most mighty chemical companies in North America put their full legal weight on the tiny town and eventually the case made it to the Supreme Court.
The town’s right to protect its citizens was upheld, and — like a row of dominos — other municipalities followed suit. The movement spread so far and wide that the entire province of Quebec enacted a ban and Home Depot stopped putting the dangerous pesticide products on their shelves.
Paul Tukey, one of the nation’s leading experts on organic lawn care has been following this story for years. After becoming seriously ill with acute pesticide sensitivity from applying chemical lawn products in his own lawn care business, he became an outspoken advocate for alternatives to chemical lawn care. He travels across the country lecturing on the subject and has written the nation’s leading book on organic lawn care titled, The Organic Lawn Care Manual.
This documentary follows his journey that leads to the doorstep of Hudson, Quebec. It’s an inspiring story of overcoming great odds and demonstrates the power of people coming together to effect great change in our society.
Here’s the documentary site link
Paul Tukey continued to build awareness and show that there are better methods for lawn care that do not harm. Please check out his organization SafeLawns.org for additional information.
To create a broad-based coalition of non- and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of environmentally responsible lawn care and gardening, and effect a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior.
In the spring of 2006, with water quality, chemical exposure and global warming emerging as mainstream issues, Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, contacted a group of motivated and qualified professionals from the for-profit and non-profit sectors to try and figure out how to take organic turf care and grounds maintenance in the United States to the next level.
Sixteen people gathered together at the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm in Alexandria, VA the following in July to help work out the vision that would become SafeLawns.org, and in the past four years, SafeLawns has touched literally millions through the Internet, print and broadcast media, and face to face contact at green industry shows, conferences and garden club meetings across America.
Other highlights have included a four-acre organic makeover on the National Mall, the production of more than 20 award-winning How-to-Videos about organic lawn care, and the production of a full-length feature documentary about the origin of the anti-lawn pesticide movement, titled
A Chemical Reaction.
Funding for the organization comes from private and corporate memberships and donations, foundation grants, and from Paul Tukey’s honoraria for public speaking, educational seminars and consulting.
Paul Tukey, Founder and Spokesman
Paul Tukey is the author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey Books, 2007). The companion DVD Making the Organic Lawn Care Transition recently received the 2007 Garden Writers Award for Best Electronic Media.
Tukey has won numerous other awards, including the 2006 Horticultural Communicator of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society and the Silver Medal of Honor from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for his contributions to regional horticulture. His 46 episode HGTV show – also called People, Places & Plants – has just been released as a boxed set of DVDs. As SafeLawns spokesman, Tukey is America’s foremost public speaker on the subject of natural lawn care. He also speaks about gardening, gardening photography, and environmental awareness. He often consults with municipalities and lawn care professionals about making the organic lawn care transition.