My best friend is a bride to be and I have been asked to be one of her bridesmaids. Part of my duties as a member of the bridal party is to assist with planning and to find unique (and affordable) ideas for the special day. I take my bridesmaid role very seriously–lately I’ve been watching a lot of wedding-related TV to collect inspirations.
Surfing the channels the other day I flipped to the program “Gorgeous and Green – A Martha Stewart Wedding.” The TV show followed Martha’s assistant, Liesl Menning, as she planned her green wedding. As a Monsanto employee, and just someone who cares about the environment, I was excited to watch. I wasn’t disappointed; the program had a lot of great tips for staying green like how to make your own bouquet from local blooms and e-cards for save-the-dates.
Weddings are generally big affairs that require a lot of resources so it’s great to see ideas to make a wedding that is environmentally friendly. The show had a good focus on using sustainable products–sustainability is an important aspect of living green. Monsanto has made a commitment to sustainability and we have an award-winning internal publication that features sustainability facts and ideas for green living.
Sustainability is something that I’ve become very passionate about and I think that it is the future of agriculture. “Gorgeous and Green” frequently mentioned organic products and, while I am certainly not here to try to argue about whether organic is sustainable, I do wonder if it can be considered the only sustainable form of agriculture. Organic products have certainly marketed themselves well as green goods but there is more than one method to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and related products. Biotechnology often gets overlooked although it continues to make environmentally responsible practices available to farmers.
Conservation tillage is one sustainable practice that has been made possible (and profitable) by biotechnology. The use of herbicide resistant crops means that herbicides can be applied to weeds after they’ve emerged (without tilling or turning over the soil). The plant residue is then left to cover the fields – protecting it from wind and water erosion. The ground cover also provides home for small animals, such as birds, mice and frogs. The practice of conservation tillage has reduced soil erosion by 1 billion tons. In addition, no-till can capture carbon in the soil and the reduction in fuel use decreases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – helping to control greenhouse gases.
Another sustainable attribute of biotech is resistance to unwanted insects. Since biotech plants are resistant to harmful insects they need very little, if any at all, pesticide applications. This means fuel and energy to manufacture and apply pesticides are reduced or eliminated. It also allows beneficial insects to live in the field (which can serve as food for local birds and other insect eaters).
The cumulative reduction in pesticides due to biotech for the period 1996-2006 was estimated at 289,000 metric tons of active ingredients. The ability to decrease pesticide and herbicide spraying has resulted in reduction in the release of GHG emissions, from machinery fuel, by 14.8 million metric tons (2006).
So if you, like my friend, are planning a green and affordable wedding or just want to live a little greener then it doesn’t have to mean going with just organic. There are plenty of sustainable sources for products and sometimes a little bit of research can uncover several green options for your needs.
Kate works on the corporate website for Monsanto in the public affairs department. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Truman State University. Kate grew up in an Air Force family and has lived in sevaral states and countries but spent the majority of her childhood growing up in Iowa. Kate enjoys art and photography as well as horseback riding.