Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Organics: Privilege or Responsibility?

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's All About Organics Page.

Recently Mark Bittman of the New York Times wrote about sending the wrong message in an op-ed piece called "Leave 'Organic' Out of It." I am fan of Bittman, who writes about food for the Times opinion pages and is the Times magazine's lead food columnist. The article talks about communicating around some of the more current food issues.

As my eyes hit the article somewhere midway, the first thing I saw was:

Eating organic food is unquestionably a better option than eating nonorganic food; at this point, however, it's a privilege. But that doesn't make it a deal-breaking matter. Reducing the overload of synthetic chemicals and drugs in agriculture and the environment is a huge issue, as is eating better, but neither necessitates 'going organic.'

I disagree. For me, eating organically is a responsibility, not a privilege. My commitment to organics is to make sure I do my part to leave my children with a better, healthier planet. It's not just about today and this moment -- rather, it's about doing things with expanded thought and an interest in seeing a healthier future. It's bigger than eating a healthy lunch -- we must insure that future generations have healthy lunches.

The science is clear on the havoc that some pesticides, including those intended for home, lawn and garden rather than agricultural use, have created in our waterways -- not to mention the impact they have on human health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports,

Approximately 1.1 billion pounds of pesticide active ingredient are used annually in the U.S., and over 20,000 pesticide products are being marketed in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among the approximately 2 million U.S. agricultural workers.         

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