Help get lawn pesticide documentary seen


Centered on the small town of Hudson, Quebec, the
first municipality in North America to ban common lawn and garden pesticides
nearly two decades ago, the 80-minute film explores a landmark case decided in
the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001. After the Court’s 9-0 verdict against the
billion-dollar lawn care giant then known as ChemLawn, most Canadian
municipalities followed Hudson’s lead and enacted pesticide bans of their own.
In 2008, retail giant Home Depot removed products such as weed ’n feed and
Roundup from its shelves in Canada.
..At its core it's the story of how a few people in one town could ultimately change an entire nation’s stance. (From the press release.)

Notice it's narrated by our organic-lawn-care-crusading friend Paul Tukey and funded by 

I'm guessing that environmental problems caused by the Great American Lawn are finally ripe for fixing – even here in the U.S.

Enjoy the trailer, check out the movie's website and the new Safe Lawns Blog, and coming soon is an Action Guide.  See, Tukey and the movie's director are thinking big, going for a lot of impact.  A writer for MovieMaker Magazine has compared Tukey to Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock.  I love it!

The movie's already successfully competed to be shown at the Sun Valley and New Jersey Film Festivals, but needs lots more exposure than that to really make a difference.  

  • Sponsor a fund-raising screening of A Chemical Reaction to help get the word out.
  • And contact film festivals in your area to ask them to show this important documentary!

There's a Contact link here.


  1. My hometown of Calgary, AB is currently dragging it’s feet on implementing the pesticide ban. It’s slated to be implemented around… oh 2011. I will definitely try to promote this movie.

    The other issue an article written locally raises, is enforcement. All the ‘banned’ chemicals are currently widely sold in major retail centres. I don’t think there’s pesticide police, so where does that leave it?

  2. I moved into a house a few years ago with a large (1/2 acre) lawn. I’ve been encouraging it to go to meadow, and have enjoyed (mostly) the diversity of plants that have moved in. However this year burr clover has taken over large swaths of it, probably bird planted and I’m at a loss as to how to protect my children’s feet and eradicate the burrs without resorting to herbicides. Any suggestions?

  3. Love it…..been pesticide free for a few years. Neighbors think I am a freak….but those bees and butterflies thank me everyday.

    Thanks for sharing the video….

  4. Just to clarify my previous comment, it’s only been more recently since two provinces (Quebec followed by Ontario) banned lawn and garden pesticides that you could say that many cities in Canada banned pesticides. Ontario’s ban went into effect this spring. Before that it was pretty scattershot, as individual city councils debated the issue. Some banned, some didn’t, some opted for more study. Now several more provinces, including New Brunswick and British Comumbia are considering bans.

  5. This is going to be a very important documentary because it will go a long way toward educating and motivating people about lawns. I believe it was Ms. Susan Harris herself who said recently ” We’ve got to find a way to make lawn issues sexy.” Well if this doc doesn’t do that – I don’t know what will. Bravo!

  6. I have way too many weeds. Tiny euphorbias, lots of yellow seedy composites, prick thistle, and an acre of Himilayan blackberries. I used 3 gallons of glysophate on dead headed weeds. In a very small area. I use 2 4 D to spot treat dandelions. I respect chemicals and critters.
    It feels good to go barefoot on a weedless green lawn. What a waste of water.
    What’s wrong with a brown lawn? Bet it’s green in the spring.

  7. Thanks, Susan, for posting this about our movie. The support is greatly appreciated.

    We figured a movie was a “sexy” way to get people talking about this issue.

    Is it “most” or “much” of Canada. From a population standpoint, about 65-70 percent of Canada will live under some form of pesticide ban by the end of this year and that number grows each day. As a percentage of municipalities, it’s probably close to 60.

    A lot of clover is typically an indication that your lawn is trying to create some nitrogen. If there’s already a lot of nitrogen in the soil, clover usually doesn’t colonize.

    And not to pick on anyone, but using glyphosate and 2,4-d is decidedly not terribly eco-friendly. These are two of the chemicals we rant against in our movie.

    THANKS to everyone for the feedback!
    Paul Tukey,

  8. Paul, that was quick response but unfortunately burr clover isn’t a true clover. It’s common to meadows and pastures and devilishly hard to get rid of. If I had it in a cow pasture, maybe I wouldn’t mind, but it’s painful on bare feet. All the info I can find says either pull it by hand (a little daunting for 1/2 acre) or 2 4 D. If anyone out there has successfully beaten this back without the use of chemicals, I would love to hear how.

  9. Carole, Start by keeping the area mowed to prevent it from going to seed (burrs). Corn Gluten meal can be applied in the early spring, February or March and again in the fall, October or November. Corn Gluten Meal is a natural pre-emergent weed control and also a nitrogen feed for your lawn. Water it in well after you spread it on problem areas. It keeps the weed seed in the soil from sprouting. You may have to dig out existing plants by cultivating or plant (not seed) something to take over and crowd out the undesirable one. I hope this helps and lets the kids run barefoot without fear of chemicals or burrs!

  10. When I first moved into my condo with huge grounds, it was infested with weeds throughout, despite PAR III application twice a year. Eventually some board members prevailed in reducing the pesticide application to once a year and allowing concerned owners to opt out. The substantial, weed-free lawn adjacent to my house has not been sprayed in many years. Yet it is completely weed free, in contrast to the lawns that have been sprayed religiously until the fall of 2006, at which time the owners voted to cease spraying altogether. I have been pulling dandelions by hand on the entire condominium property with substantial success. Not much is being said about plantain, which seems to be more persistent and difficult to get rid of than dandelions are.

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