University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee adjunct assistant professor Susan Firer and her husband, writer / instructor Jim Hazard, wrote a letter to Kate Nelson, the university’s first campus sustainability coordinator, requesting that the university stop using TruGreen chemical lawncare on campus green space.
Firer and Hazard co-wrote the letter after hearing "UWM bragging about its green ethic" on WUWM.
Here is the letter:
Dear Kate Nelson,
I heard on WUWM today UWM bragging about its Green Ethic. However, the recent spraying of the campus by TruGreen has no place in anyone's Green Ethic. Reliable studies have linked pesticides to a six-fold increase in childhood leukemia (Journal of the National Cancer Institute and American Journal of Public Health), have shown that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides are four to seven times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association), and have demonstrated the link between long-term exposure to pesticides and neuron damage that triggers Parkinson's disease (UCLA study reported in Chicago Tribune).
This glaring contradiction between public relations statements and university actions is a very serious matter, affecting anyone who sets foot on the campus grounds and the surrounding community. Its effects extend beyond the immediate locale since the run off of pesticides and fertilizers does great harm to Lake Michigan's water quality and contributed to the dangerous presence of E. coli on area beaches: a strange policy given the information to that effect UWM's Great Lakes Water Institute has researched and published.
I hope the university will reconsider this irresponsible social behavior, change its policy toward harmful lawn treatment chemicals, and assume community leadership in this serious public health matter.
Susan Firer and Jim Hazard
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.