No. 08 // The Squeaky Wheel

I live just a short distance from a lovely little downtown area.  Plenty of little shops, restaurants, a library and several pretty parks.  A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were heading to the library which is situated across from a big park.  As we arrived, the area was abuzz with people out enjoying the warm sunny day. A big group of kids were sitting outside.

As we plunked our quarters into the parking meter right outside of the library, I noticed a very strong smell of lawn chemicals and fertilizer warning signs on the library lawn.  Just then, a man on a little utility vehicle drove by spraying all of the flower beds planted along the tree lined sidewalk.  It was a perfect morning-turned-not-so-perfect as we scooted into the building and away from the chemical-laden fumes.

Driving around later that day, I noticed fertilizer warning signs up all over the local parks.  I wish I could say that the town we live in is an exception but it's not.  The use of herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers is as pervasive as it is old-fashioned.  It is the unfortunate 'norm'.

I called the city, left several messages and after a few days, was contacted by the Parks and Rec Manager.  She explained that she dislikes using such chemicals but she receives complaints about weeds growing in the parks and the sidewalk cracks and so, she must act to satisfy the squeaky wheel.  We went on to have a friendly and productive conversation about natural weed control methods and she asked me to email her my natural weed control recipe which she seemed open to trying.

A few days later, she emailed to let me know she placed an order for horticultural vinegar and orange oil.  She said they were going to pilot this new method for the sidewalk cracks and parking lots.  Progress.

If we want change in our communities, we need to be the change and be willing to ask for change.   In my case, it's one very small step and only the beginning of the change I hope to promote within my community and beyond.  I hope you will join me. //




Vanessa Friedman