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Connnecting your garden to the 'cosmic influence'

By Ben-Peter Terpstra - posted Thursday, 21 December 2006

I’m concerned. Why? Because the ABC’s hysterical Organic Gardner magazine features more junk science advertisements than Amnesty International’s Christmas catalogue.

In the Spring issue, companies placed adverts for so-called earth skin foods (“rosehip and carrot moisturiser”), waterless toilets (“You could carry on flushing … or … you could put the water on your garden”), sonic mosquito repellents (“Clips on a belt or pocket”), infrared saunas (“Now with colour therapy … Available in Canadian Hemlock and Canadian Western Red”), mineral water (“We get old and sick because of excess acid accumulation in our body”), and of course, biodynamic soil activators (“connects the soil to cosmic influences”).

This is beyond insanity.


Come to think of it, I’m very concerned. Where are Media Watch’s watchdogs when you really need them? And what, pray tell, is colour therapy? Or cosmic influences?

Stunningly, the scientific purists at the ABC maintain the debate over “global warming” is over while their magazines promote infrared saunas with colour therapy! Perhaps Andrew Bolt is right after all.

It gets worse. The Organic Gardner’s resident chief hysteric, Steve Payne, writes, “I’m a bit of a sports fan, so I’ve also been thinking about all these matches getting played at night under lights. How long can we afford to keep them on?” He isn’t joking.

“Everywhere I look,” observes Payne, “there are big and small examples of luxurious energy consumption that we [have to] accept as natural …we are deluding ourselves to think it can go on”. Ignoring rape statistics, he rails against “city lights left on for aesthetic effect”. He also fumes over “a packet of biscuits imported from the other side of the world” because of his deep energy concerns. Forget the solar panels imported from Denmark, if you can ignore the advert on page 19.

The ABC’s Organic Gardener is terrifyingly unscientific. Indeed, such magazines seem designed more to get readers worked up. Strangely, in Organic Gardener, the ABC promotes a constant stream of fear-based articles with links to Greenpeace, of course.

David Suzuki, the environmentalist, also warns readers about “our energy crisis” and argues the “lavish mansions being built in North American suburbs, [with] usually three or four occupants that drive three or four cars, and that are filled with stuff, have got to go the way of the dodo”. So, communism is on the menu?


Suzuki urges ABC-types to visit his website in order to find out “the ten most effective things that individuals can do to lighten our impact on the earth,” and tells us he “bought the first Toyota Prius (hybrid-electric car) sold in North America”. Guess capitalism’s in then.

Suzuki, of course, knows what he is preaching about. After all he has really been clocking up the frequent flyer miles since his two-month tour of Australia. Now that’s progressive. Drive your hybrid car to the airport - but don’t worry about burning jet fuel.

Besides making many references to modern transport modes, overpaid gurus want to meddle with our eating habits too. Take, for instance, Peter Singer, the philosopher, ethicist and activist: “You can be ethical without being fanatical,” according to his piece in the ABC’s Organic Gardener.

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About the Author

Ben-Peter Terpstra has provided commentary for The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.), NewsReal Blog (Los Angeles), Quadrant (Sydney), and Menzies House (Adelaide).

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