What Do Pest Control Companies Want to Teach Our Kids?
OR Teach Kids About Butterflies Before Termites. I try hard to focus on positive ways to nurture nature, but when I learn about nature being disparaged in sneaky ways I linger a bit on the topic. Recently, when I was trying to find out more information about a spider, I learned about an 88-year-old trade organization called the National Pest Management Association that serves as an educational resource for the industry and the public.
Their alarming Vision Statement is Every household and business is protected by professional pest management services. This is a sanitized way of saying their goal is to have all 128+ million American households use services designed to kill wildlife. They are also actively contributing to the 1 billion plus pounds of pesticides being used each year in America.
The NPMA is everywhere and appears to rank high on the search engines. They have a site for homeowners and businesses called Pestworld.org where possums and bats are on the same pest list as lice and the Norway rat. As disturbing as the goal of painting wildlife as pests is, extermination is their core business, and being friendly and helpful to consumers is part of their marketing approach.
What strikes me as alarming is the NPMA’s devious site called pestworldforkids.org which is an educational resource used as a shameless way to prime impressionable kids to advocate for extermination services and become their future consumers. This is the opposite of teaching kids about environmental stewardship. If you search "sites for kids to learn about insects" on the internet, this is the second site that pops up!
The NPMA site has a child friendly Pest List: Bugs A to Z and randomly includes not only insects but all sorts of select critters they deem problematic in some way. Of course the only birds listed are pigeons, starlings, and woodpeckers, not bluebirds or hummingbirds. The only spiders listed are poisonous black widows and brown recluses...no barn spider orb weaver's like Charlotte here!
In the teacher resource section, there are lesson plans aligned with performance standards in grades K-2 for students to learn about property risks associated with termites, and how pest control professionals can solve termite problems. By grades 4-8 students are asked to develop a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for their school community to communicate the threats posed by pests and include when it is necessary to call in a pest control professional to address an infestation. Their educational videos called Pest Quest all open showing kids running away from hoards of scary and dangerous bad bugs.
This distorted view of the natural world where cockroaches follow birds on a list of pests, and termites not butterflies are profiled is not the one our kids need to learn. Feel free to share this information so educational sites teaching kids how to coexist with nature are the ones educating them, not sites contributing to its destruction.