A farming perspective on produce and the environment
It seems logical that, the closer you are to working with the earth the more of a connection you will have to it, in terms of respect and sustainability. I spent six days in a remote town, west of Sydney getting an insight of how farmers understand their land. The conversation started when I was offered a steak, and I kindly refused with the usual response ‘I don’t eat any animal products’. The comprehension of what I said always led to a long silence and a stunned look. The come back, in most cases a justification of how animals are just stock, a product, item of value… “i’m a beef farmer, you’re no good for my product” or the classic “there are so many animals, we need to eat them”.
Farming is a large production process with several millions invested. One machine that is used for harvesting crops, costs over $900,000 alone. As I sat in this harvest machine called a ‘header’ I felt I was in a space ship, with the latest technology including a GPS informing the farmer to cut to exact millimetre of crop. No crop is ever wasted. The farmer, Alan, knew everything about the conditions of the crop, from the soil, the health of crop, the humidity, and the weather impacts from sunrise to sunset. I asked myself why do they not see animals as beings who have feelings and why don’t they think about the environmental impacts of their business.
Its important that farmers understand the impacts of animal agriculture. I almost sneaked the Cowspiracy card under their face, but held back because in some respects thats not the way to change this behaviour. I found that farmers who raise their animals on pasture enjoy a number of benefits including being able to raise their families in a peaceful environment and eat nutritious, all-natural food. They are also spared the health hazards associated with factory farming. Just as important, many farmers are able to make a living selling their pastured products directly to consumers or restaurants.
Its all about survival, but with no understanding of the long term impacts to our planet. The disconnect between the farmer and what the actual impacts of its business to the environment is vast. On average according to Cowspiracy facts…
“Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transportation combined”
And our remote farmer friends are not aware of it, or choose to ignore this notion. Why? Because we are brainwashed in believing that we need to consume a lot of things. This consumption leads greed of wealth and power and as a result the imbalance of what is happening to our planet with the slavery of farming animals. Farming is a significant economic sector in Australia.
We need to know the facts about what the true cost of meat is to the earth. We are of this planet and we treat it like it owes us something. We humans have abused it no end. From mining, to allowing big ships to by-pass through the Great Barrier reef, to build dams for power preventing homes for other animal beings, to flooding areas like Jindaybyne, Australia.
If we are a meat eater we cannot call ourselves environmentalist. If we talk about sustainability in our businesses and then host BBQ’s with only meat on the menu, then we are hypocrites. If we promote healthy programs and then we order meat sandwiches during the break then we again are not listening to the messages. We cannot think like our parents, or gran-parents we have to think and live differently, if we want our great great gran children to see the greatness of this world.
Another statistic from Cowspiracy fact is…
“Livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions”
We have a choice on what we buy with our dollar. We can choose to be innovators and educate our farming industry on different ways to make money. We need to use technology to work with nature and go back to basics, or even live in a way that we are content with what we have but experience life instead of consume it. I have been invited to a farm near Dubbo to get a feel on how animals are treated, but thats not the issue, its the impact of animal agriculture on our environment that we need to consider and then plan for real sustainable change and the rest will come.