In regard to Tracy Aquilla's post of April 11th, I want to
note the following aspects of the "dialogue":
1) Several of the responses to the call for alarm originally sent by Tracy
have quickly surfaced as personal attacks on Tracy's credentials and
credibility. To her great credit, she has articulated well her qualified
background. Yes, you do not need to be a field expert of boll wevils to
understand its ecology! Most importantly, she is reminding us to not be
intimidated from raising these important issues, as either concerned
citizens or practitioners/researchers trained in other related fields.
2) One major dissappointment in the critical responses is the bias
towards a "nozzlehead" worldview even in this select audience of
sustainable aggies. Tracy has hit the nail squarely on the head when she
describes the efficacy and promise of IPM in dealing with boll wevils or
any other pest. We are never going to change our course "towards"
sustainability if we keep reaching for the poisons as first response
instead of our last tactic as IPM theory proposes. In other words, "WE
HAVE ALREADY BEEN THERE. WE HAVE ALREADY DONE IT". When do we
get serious about the full blown application of IPM methods/research and other
relavent fields, such as landscape ecology and agroecology? Why can not we
turn such a situation into an opportunity for real progress "towards"
3) Finally, it is interesting to hear Tracy's call for the use of
property rights against the widespread application of malathion. Just
several weeks ago, a message was posted about Ciba-Geigy's use of
grassroots tactics for corporate lobbying purposes. Here we have the
inverse situation where environmentalists are being asked to employ
corporate tactics. This might be a case of poetic justice or opening up
the proverbial can of worms. I understand its short-term utility but
wonder about it potential for compromising any future arguments for
sustainable development based on ecosystem management or rights.
Now for the responses...