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Random Thoughts About Farming

What can I say about farming? It’s pretty important. Farming is why people eat. Farms produce everything from our salad ingredients to the meat that goes with it. Whether you are a standard omnivore, a meat-eating freak, or a strict vegan or vegetarian, you rely on farms to feed you.

 

Farming brings up throughts of the environment.
Harvester

I am honestly surprised how many city dwellers I’ve run into who don’t understand where their food comes from. They seem to think it just magically appears on the shelves of the grocery store, not that it took months of careful tending and processing to get there.

 

I remember encountering a city environmentalist who very emphatically told the whole world that people who live in rural areas are selfish and they need to move to the city. Um, exactly how do you survive without rural people, sir? How do you eat? How do you dress?  How do you use that expensive organic oil that you swear by? The bare bones of all of it is produced on a rural farm somewhere, not in the middle of the city.

 

I’m glad that most environmentalists are not like this man. Unfortunately, it’s the crackpots and naïve idealists who get the most attention, thus hurting the environmental cause. What are you going to pay attention to more, the group of individuals who are working around the clock to remove the garbage patch from the Pacific Ocean or the team from Green Peace who desecrated the Nazca Lines to talk about climate change? Most likely you’re going to get pissed at Green Peace and ignore the major operation that is saving our oceans.

 

I remember when I was a preteen the subject of climate change was just starting to come out as a topic of concern. This is when we got things like "Captain Planet" and "FernGully". There were commercials for toys such as "G.I. Joe: Eco-Warriors." Every adult had some campaign encouraging kids to pick up litter. It, of course, did not occur to them to pick up their own damn garbage and stop making the kids clean up the messes they refused to deal with.

 

Anyway, there was another fad at the time that involved exaggerating the results of climate change without really following it up with facts, even if the facts were available. I remember I had a conversation with my mother about the blatant lies that were being told. She said that it didn’t matter if they were lying as long as it got everyone’s attention.

 

This was a common belief of the liberal set back then. I heard it a million times over the next several years. Each time I warned that lying about climate change would only make people not believe. Well, we’re in a big mess today because there is a large portion of the country who doesn’t believe in climate change and cites the lies that were told to them as children. Who saw that coming?

 

Getting back to farming, the environmentalist culture wants to move to organic farming and eating more plant-based. There is nothing wrong with this, but you still have to do your research. Some organic dairies are very cruel to their cattle. Free range chickens may be ranging freely over the farm, or they may be packed into an open-air pen under an aluminum roof.

 

Don’t even get me started on the vegan and vegetarian options. Palm oil is a popular alternative to canola oil in some circles, but it is associated was rainforest deforestation, among other problems. Quinoa, soy, and coffee are associated with some ethical and environmental issues. Coconut products are considered healthy, but you better make sure they are ethically harvested. (Google “monkey labor” if you don’t believe me on the coconut. Please don’t get coconut products from Thailand.)

 

I once saw a meme on social media talking about how corn crops were beneficial to the environment. It was shared by an environmentalist who thought it was neat that corn crops grown in the Midwest helped lower temperatures in the area and served as carbon sinks. What he didn’t realize is that corn crops use a great deal of water and pesticides, and that runoff from these corn farms is contaminating the Mississippi River and leading to a dead spot in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Many environmentalists support geothermal power as a form of green energy. The problem with geothermal power is that the method is very water-intensive, no matter what method you use. It has been known to destroy ecosystems that rely on local hot springs. It also produces a large amount of water vapor (a greenhouse gas) and several toxic chemicals. There is nothing green about it!

 

Just like there is nothing green about molten salt solar. The method involves using the sun to create molten salt, which then boils water to steam to turn turbines. Though some engineers are working on a way to do so, the method does not currently recycle the steam, it simply blows it into the air, another greenhouse gas to add to the mess. Worse, it means the water itself is simply being wasted. Most of these plants are in the desert and mine fossil groundwater sources until they are dry, and there are no plans to change that.

 

Don’t even get me started on the toxic chemicals used for coolant at these plants. I remember seeing another meme that said something about us never having a problem with a “solar spill.” Um, yes… Yes, we have. In southern California, a flash steam solar plant was fined for having a toxic coolant spill.

 

Then there is the issue of birds with wind farms. I always hear the statistic that more birds are killed by cats and cars than wind farms every year. However, a good portion of those are song birds, not the raptors that get caught in the wind turbines. A raptor has a much slower reproductive rate, and it takes longer for a population to come back if it drops. This is why so many raptors are threatened or endangered. (And if you really want to get angry, Google the term “taking clause.” Any animal lover should be enraged.)

 

In a given breeding season, songbirds may produce two clutches of up to five or six ages apiece. An eagle, on the other hand, may not produce every year. When they do, they lay two eggs in a single annual clutch, and one of those chicks probably won’t survive. Stop using a statistic that can be so easily disproven to defend your unethical wind farm practices.

 

It is, of course, possible to produce wind energy ethically. Many people are trying to do so as we speak. There are new designs of wind turbines that don’t slaughter raptors and tear up grassland and desert ecosystems. Engineers have also developed methods to place wind turbines and solar panels within the urban landscape. So, despite what some environmentalists say, yes, there are other options.

 

Always do your research when it comes to the environment. Are you really being sustainable or just following the latest trend? I know it’s complicated, but we all have to do it. There are things we all do that damage the environment, even in the course of trying to save it. With the proper knowledge, we become aware of those things and can stop them.

 

One of the most dangerous things out there is a warrior activist who thinks they are doing the right thing but their quiver is empty of knowledge. This is an idealist, not a realist, and an idealist causes more harm than good.

 

I particularly hate the rich idealist. They see nothing wrong with everyone changing to an electric car because they can afford to replace an $8,000 battery, they can afford to have an electrician install a charging station at their house, and they can afford to have their car sit somewhere and charge for hours. They can afford food at $20 a pound. They can afford the installation and upkeep of solar panels on their roofs. Worse, they look down their noses at anyone who can’t.

 

I know one of these people, and I can’t stand her. She came over to my house once and the first thing she did was criticize the ingredients in the items in my refrigerator, complained that I feed my cats on the countertop, and told me that I should eat a keto diet because it helped some friend of hers. She then proceeded to tell me that I should build a grotto in my backyard because she read about it in some magazine. A grotto? Really? Are you willing to pay for that for me, you snob?

 

The other day she posted a meme criticizing people for complaining about higher prices when they should be worried about climate change. Um, people have a hard time thinking about climate change when they are worried about their kids starving. You may be able to absorb the inflation, lady, but there are those of us out there who have to decide between what month we go to the doctor because we have to eat.

 

Speaking of being poor and the environment, helping the poor is actually good for sustainability. If you provide African mothers with solar cook stoves, they don’t need to pick the desert clean looking for firewood. If you improve the economy of a Southeast Asian country, children don’t have to rip apart polluting electronics and contaminate the ocean in ship-breaking operations. Poor people don’t hurt the environment by choice.

 

Another contributor to environmental degradation is overpopulation. Elevating Third World women from reproducers to respected members of society would go a long way to fight climate change. So would providing birth control and family planning to the poor.

 

As you can see, climate change and the environment are complicated issues. We can’t fight it by just changing what we eat or changing a few light bulbs. If you really want to be an activist to help the environment, you need to see the whole picture and all the details that go into it. You need to review your own actions carefully, and you need to research what you are doing. If you’re not willing to do these things, you are no friend to the Earth. You may be an assassin without knowing it.

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