For the climate deniers, last year’s record heat on Earth will be just another fact that makes it difficult for them to be taken seriously.
Climate change stopped being a scientific issue some time ago, it is now a cultural issue. Those who have benefited from the current unsustainable economic system will refuse point blank to acknowledge their privilege, and like a Tobacco Company desperately trying to ignore the links between smoking and cancer, are in total denial.
Rachel Stewart, one of the most courageous voices in NZ media when it comes to asking hard questions of the Dairy industry asked some harder ones yesterday in her must read column…
I watched Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Andrew Hoggard say last week that he was “shocked”. Yes, shocked by another big drop in the GlobalDairyTrade auction.
I’m genuinely shocked that he’s shocked. Clearly he’s only been listening to his cronies, and reading those farming papers, and not extending himself much wider than that.
Because anyone over the last half decade who’s written anything even remotely resembling the truth about the dairy sector has invariably been dismissed as either a nut job, a traitor, and in some more extreme cases, received death threats. Ask me how I know?
Throughout this era I’ve watched truckloads of provincial rural reporters do nothing more than suck, and grease, and fawn over the entire industry. With very few exceptions, nary a searching question has passed their lips.
What questions should they have asked? Here’s a random selection of thousands that could and should have been asked.
Why are we content to produce masses of low-commodity, low-value milk powder to the lactose-intolerant Chinese?
Why aren’t we actively pursuing value-added products to trade with the rest of the world?
Why do we think that high input farming – having to use imported feed like PKE – isn’t ‘factory farming’?
How sustainable is this industry given the level of intensification, outside inputs, environmental damage and debt required to conduct “normal” business?
Has the short-term boom been worth the long-term bust of our dying waterways?
Have farmers been doing enough to protect the environment while making that quick buck?
…we can not separate the demand to intensify Dairy farming and climate change. Gareth Morgan makes this point over at his blog…
supplements all cost money (even the relatively cheap PKE), and now that extra production doesn’t justify spending that money. So we will see farmers paring back, cutting stock numbers, farming fewer cows and making less milk. That means less income, but it also means far lower costs. As our farmers like to say – you don’t have to pay for the rain and sun – and we are blessed with both those in this land.
Luckily this is not only a more financially sustainable way to farm, it is better for the environment too. Fewer cows on the land means less nutrients end up in our waterways, which means our rivers, lakes and aquifers will be better off.
We need some boldness to tackle climate change and our reliance on Dairy. To date we have seen little of that.