HLN: “Factory farms bad for the environment?”

Ask any marketing professional, and they will tell you that as it relates to non-profits, developing a public awareness campaign is a necessary part of selling your group. This awareness, as the reasoning goes, helps your stakeholders understand not only who you are and what you do…but why they should care.  This increased awareness and personal connection to you and your life is essential for achieving their cause and raising money. 

For those opposed to livestock agriculture, the battle has been uphill…but they have made significant progress.  And as it relates to public awareness and communicating “why you should care” – they have the attention of major media outlets.

For example, Jane Velez-Mitchell (HLN) recently spoke to Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary.  In the interview, Mr. Baur discusses his “findings” in his book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food.

In speaking about livestock farming and presumably about large livestock farms in particular, Mr. Baur says, “…it’s bad for animals, it’s bad for people, it’s an industry that needs to be stopped…it’s (manure) getting into our waterways and destroying our environment.”

So, there you have it, in these brief excerpts, Mr. Baur is telling the stakeholders (i.e., consumers) why they should care; if you care about animals, if you care about people, and if you care about the environment, join our cause.

Yes – the recent environmental regulatory wins (duty to apply and the NPDES proposed rule withdrawal) are significant – but this battle for the hearts and minds of all consumers is one that continues regardless of the current regulatory rulings. 

To see the brief interview (“Factory farms bad for the environment?”) on HLN click here http://bit.ly/P3lzfW

If you have questions or need help with an environmental issue, contact Matthew Schroeder, P.E. (mschroeder@dragun.com), Christopher Paré (cpare@dragun.com), or Amy Owen, EIT (aowen@dragun.com) at 248-932-0228.

Environmental Remediation Seminar: London Ontario

Don’t miss our next environmental remediation seminar, this time in London, Ontario.

Our goals at each of these seminars are to educate, share ideas, and help you reduce the time and money you are spending on remediation.

We think we are successful in our goals, because as one of the attendees (now a client) said after attending our remediation seminar:

“I was pleasantly surprised by the seminar. I usually attend this sort of thing with some degree of trepidation because it is usually 90% biased sales pitch wrapped in 10% useful information. Your seminar was almost 100% useful or potentially relevant. I wish I had seen it seven years ago, before we started our remediation.”

For more information about our next seminar, click here http://bit.ly/Ot4EjX

The Politics of the Environment

It’s all about getting along, living green, and saving the planet. This is the naïve view of many of the young college graduates whose only exposure to the environmental consulting world is the college campus and an internship with a local environmental group.

In reality, the environmental business is extremely political, tends toward the “ugly,” and can devastate individuals and companies.

Case in point is the video that surfaced earlier this year, where the (now former) EPA Region 6 Administrator drew an analogy between Roman crucifixion and EPA enforcement action. Here is an excerpt from this now infamous video.

“It’s kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law and you hit them as hard as you can and make examples of them.”

While there has been plenty of backpedaling, apologies, explanations, and at least one resignation, this comment or perhaps more appropriately, this attitude or ideology, reflects a part of the real environmental challenge faced by businesses.

Is this attitude shared by every regulator? Clearly not – but when companies are facing site closures, remediation, or compliance issues, especially those involving enforcement, they cannot afford to have a naïve viewpoint or to simply follow the orders or dictates of a regulator. To do so, could mean no end to the regulator’s “requests.”

Taking a tough stance and using good science to back our position is something we have done consistently since we began, nearly 25 years ago. In fact, a paper mill company we worked for many years ago set the tone for how we approach projects on behalf of our clients. The “no action” we were able to negotiate was critical for our client. A recent update by the EPA further vindicates the science we used to design our approach.

As for getting along, living green, and saving the planet – if it’s backed by science, logic, and reason, we’re right there. However, we’ll have to descent on the approach of crucifixion as a means of enforcement.