Several weeks back it happened again. I remember it happening last year- coinciding with the warmth of Spring. They always start early in the morning. The trucks parade back and forth for hours. What these trucks are hauling is one of the most controversial substances on the American landscape -literally. Some folks call it ‘sludge‘ and some call it ‘biosolids‘ but the controversy is splitting small communities across the U.S. and some claim it’s sickening or downright deadly.

A brief history of sludge

It's time to tell the truth about biosolids (original image: NYCSludge.com)

Here’s a little video that suggests this isn’t merely an environmental or agricultural issue but a confusing array of smoke and mirrors that reaches far beyond this singular issue. Here is the intro:

“While advertising is the visible component of the corporate system, perhaps even more important and pervasive is its invisible partner, the public relations industry. This video illuminates this hidden sphere of our culture and examines the way in which the management of  the public mind  has become central to how our democracy is controlled by political and economic elites. Toxic Sludge Is Good For You illustrates how much of what we think of as independent, unbiased news and information has its origins in the boardrooms of the public relations companies.

PR critics include PR Watch founder John Stauber, cultural scholars Mark Crispin Miller and Stuart Ewen. Toxic Sludge Is Good For You tracks the development of the PR industry from early efforts to win popular American support for World War I to the role of crisis management in controlling the damage to corporate image. The video analyzes the tools public relations professionals use to shift our perceptions including a look at the coordinated PR campaign to slip genetically engineered produce past public scrutiny.

Toxic Sludge Is Good For You urges viewers to question the experts and follow the money back to the public relations industry to challenge its hold on democracy.” – [The Media Education Foundation]

Also here is a little history that maps the PR ‘transformation’ of sludge to ‘biosolids’:

It’s time to tell the truth about biosolids and develop new solutions for solving this systemic issue…before it’s too late.

What can you do? You can start taking action by telling your garden supply store not to sell sludge.

Common product names of sludge you can buy in the store throughout the country:

  • All-Gro
  • Granulite
  • Chesapeake Sunshine
  • EarthMate
  • Nutri-Green
  • ORGRO High Organic Compost (Baltimore, MD)
  • Bay State Fertilizer (Boston, MA)
  • GroCo (King County, WA)
  • TAGRO (Tacoma, WA)
  • SoundGro (Pierce County, WA)
  • Milorganite (Milwaukee, WI)
  • We Care Compost (NY, NY)
  • EKO Compost (Missoula, MT)
  • Glacier Gold (Olney, MT)

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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