I don't think we win over new fans by demonizing the 'evil corporations' or those who don't denounce them.
When I first started to go organic it was with some trepidation - it was a science based decision rather than a cause for me. Over time I've become a more serious advocate. I'll patiently spend 30 minutes helping someone who wanders over from the chemicals to the organic shelf in the lawn and garden section at Lowe's if I happen to notice them as I am shopping. Once natural methods are explained people like the explanation.
I'm also honest. Folks, there ain't no organic solution to Nutsedge that works anywhere near as well as Sedgehammer or whatever they call that c*** these days. I mean that stuff WORKS with a vengeance, one and done, end of discussion. It took me three years of pulling, digging and generally harassing that c*** to get it out of my yard and gardens. Organic did NOT work better. a 0.9g packet so toxic they put it into a dissolvable envelope to keep you from having contact with it scares the manure out of me though and I'll admit that I've chosen a non-toxic solution rather than a toxic one. Most people will shrug and use the chemical, a few will take my invitation to go research what's IN that 0.9g packet and then they call me back and ask "So what's the best way to pull that c***?"
If we want to see more focus on organic gardening, lawn care and agriculture then we need to be very careful about the rhetoric. When discussing it with people who ask about my yard I simply point out that it works and that when I have a choice in solutions I go with the least toxic one.
I'm also a cancer survivor, I've done a lot of research into the nutrient profiles of food that is grown by the mass production methods and food that is grown in my garden. There are a lot of carcinogens in lawn and garden chemicals. I'm not suggesting that it isn't fun to have the surgical scars or undergo that PET scan every now and then but truly, playing in the yard is more fun than having a tumor cut out. go figure.
When bashing the chemical companies I am careful about it. I don't think they are evil, I think they have some legitimate goals and I think they are often wrong in their conclusions. There is a way to approach that and a way not to approach that. I've spent many years in marketing, packaging and messaging products and you can easily alienate key constituencies if you don't keep your message focused. I've also had the opportunity to do some lobbying work and the same rules apply.
Like it or not, the words organic, environmentalist and green cause some rolling of eyes in many people who instantly associate such concepts with screaming, wild-eyed activists. In truth, most organic gardeners are nothing of the kind. I'm a right wingtip libertarian conservative who thinks global warming is a socialist plot... I also compost, grow my own veggies and do my extensive gardening using organic methods. Sperry can make some reasonable arguments for situations where a purely organic solution might not be ideal but he should not bash the organic movement. Likewise, if we wish to see that organic endcap at Lowes expand and we want to see more produce in the stores with a proud "ORGANIC" sign over it we need to advocate wisely.
Organic food, or as our grandparents called it - FOOD is an easy argument to make. Toxic pesticides aren't appealing to anyone. The flavor of a garden ripened tomato kicks the c*** out of the watery flavorless variety mass produced. When my neighbor's kids are rolling around in my lawn because the grass and ground are soft and spongy I quietly point out that there is nothing more dangerous than a grass stain lurking in the soil. Let Sperry have his say, then point out things he either got wrong or went overboard with.
Organic methods are inherently logical and don't need any further help than a good, reasoned, scientific explanation about how things grow and how nutrients can become depleted by feeding the soil a 'junk food' diet. For example - when a neighbor throws down a bunch of ammonium phosphate and points out that his lawn greened/jumped up overnight I gently point out that a coke and a snickers will have the same effect on his kids.... then I explain why my lawn looks lush and green all of the time.
It's annoying when people bash something you are passionate about but it makes better sense to out reason them than it does to bash them.
....or, I guess you could compost them but then there are a whole set of other legal/moral issues involved
BTW Doug - not bashing you, I'm sure my views are much more aligned with yours than with Mr. Sperry's. I'm suggesting as a friend that you go easy with the rhetoric and focus on specific points these guys get wrong, then beat them over the head with logic.