[pesticides are] not really as big of a problem as other issues like industrial pollution and fracking, because those are the main sources of toxic chemicals and I thought maybe this proposal wasn’t as effective in dealing with that,” Gangasani, a con speaker, said.
This argument contrasted to the pathos-filled speech given by pro-speaker Justin Greisz, who described the negative health effects of inorganic pesticides on animals and humans as well as his stance on the importance of environmental protection. Greisz talked about the effects of DDT, a controversial chemical in the ‘60s that was eventually banned by the EPA, and Antisense, which are both inorganic pesticide methods. After mentioning the thinning effect DDT had on the eggshells of bald eagles, he said, “I just want you to remember that inorganic pesticides are killing our national symbol of freedom.” This drew some laughter from delegates in the crowd, and Greisz went on to say, “I know the switch from inorganic to organic pesticides may not be easy, but as said by the famous scholar Kermit the Frog, ‘it’s not easy being green.’” This final statement left the delegates cheering and howling with laughter as Greisz exited the stage.
Although the proposal was seriously considered by the delegates, Greisz chose to use humor and emotion in his speech to balance the facts that were important to the pro argument. “I had the pathos in there to get people feeling like they needed action, but then the humor was to help wind down so it could transition better to the next person,” he said. “It makes the change positive in their minds even though the information is negative.”
The pro and con debate was followed by a series of amendments specifying details of the proposal and addressing some of the opposing arguments. “The chief opposition was that organic pesticides aren’t as healthy and good as they may seem,” Busbee said, and an amendment proposed by Karen Chen addressed this. “Inorganic and organic fertilizers can both have a negative effect on water quality,” she said. “My proposed amendment was to replace ‘organic fertilizers’ with ‘safe alternative organic fertilizers’ because there are some proven by the CDC that are indeed safe and don’t cause negative impacts, like some organic fertilizers do.”
This amendment allowed Chen to vote for the proposal, and changed the minds of other delegates like Gangasani. “Actually I did vote pro for this proposal because one of the amendments was approving certain organic pesticides, because a common misconception is like, organic pesticides are 100 percent safe, 100 percent natural; they can’t do anything bad. But that’s not true, and one of the amendments rectified that,” she said, referring to the amendment Chen proposed.
While the amendments changed many of the delegates’ votes, Busbee’s stance on the issue remained the same. “I believe it is worth the lives that we will change and the lives that we will save to protect ourselves, to protect the environment and to protect our future generations,” Busbee said.