Human survivability is based on three things: clean air to breath, clean water to drink and healthy food to eat. Survival of the human species is surely in doubt if you do a quick inventory of the resources of planet earth.
This should be a wake-up call for all humans. Life on planet earth today is not a road map that we should continue to follow into the future. We are heading toward the edge of the cliff at supersonic speed. Very few are even aware of the pending danger.
I was raised on a small organic farm in Montana. For me it was like the Garden of Eden. We had birds in profusion, large old trees and soil filled with earthworms that seemed to draw your hands toward it. It was the most idyllic environment I could have imagined.
I was farming when chemicals were first introduced as the new way to produce abundant food for a hungry world. I bought into this idea. So I went to Montana State University to earn a degree in modern agriculture practices, and with this training I became an agricultural chemical junkie.
There was no doubt that my yields increased and weeds became easier to control. I was sure I was on my way to becoming a major agri-businessman. I became aware of the birds and the trees dying and I thought it was just a cost of modern agriculture. But when I noticed the change in the soil and the loss of earthworms, I became very concerned.
Following chemicals was the rush into genetic engineering and the manipulation of plant cells. This rush into genetic engineering and chemical agriculture was almost unstoppable. To raise your voice in opposition was to be labeled as Un-American. The parade of agricultural genetic engineering and chemical lemmings was almost endless.
The land grant colleges became corrupted by multinational corporations’ monetary grants. Organic agriculture became a forgotten practice. Genetic engineering and chemical resistant varieties were the only practices endorsed by the universities and their spokespersons.
When I first began speaking out in the public arena about these problems I was branded a turncoat and traitor to my roots. It was a very difficult period of my life. I know that I am not a world-class scientist, but I also know that I’m a very observant farmer. I pay attention to how the critters react to their environment, and their actions today are not normal.
Monarch butterflies have been eating corn pollen forever. Today, feeding on genetically engineered corn pollen, they have been reported to be dying, rats being fed genetically engineered potatoes have died and cows given a choice of conventional corn or genetically engineered corn express a preference for conventional corn. How do they know?
These actions alone are not cause for banning genetic engineered products, but they are, in my mind, cause for an in-depth study. This is not being done. I believe we are now conducting the largest experiment on mankind that has ever been attempted by feeding unlabeled genetically engineered food to an unaware public. I do not believe consuming these products is safe.
My concern about survival of the human species is much larger than just the food we eat. It also encompasses how we are treating Planet Earth. We should be terrified about the overfishing of the world’s oceans, the climate change due to human actions, the massive reduction of mature trees and the loss of worldwide topsoil.
Established farming practices could almost eliminate topsoil loss if we were to implement organic crop rotation and soil restoration. Growing food for humans rather than for animal feed could provide enough food for every human on the planet, many of whom are currently starving to death. This would be a great step forward toward elimination of conflict over scarce resources. Harvesting only mature
fish and eliminating by-catch caused by today’s indiscriminate use of gigantic nets would allow the oceans to repopulate to sustainable levels.
Eliminating the massive discharge into the atmosphere of the byproducts of energy production and manufacturing must be a worldwide priority. We have the capability to produce a significant percentage of our energy from solar power, wind power and other technologies, replacing fossil fuel plants.
The toxic discharge from manufacturing plants must be stopped. If a product can’t be made cleanly and efficiently, don’t manufacture it. Recycling products must be the first order of production. If it can’t be recycled don’t make it.
Protection of mature trees, which are the lungs of the world, should far surpass our need for cheap building materials. Clearing rain forest to grow grass to feed cattle is a practice that must cease before the content of oxygen in the atmosphere declines to a level where humans can no longer survive. This issue should be addressed immediately.
The changes needed to ensure the survival of life on planet earth are all possible and within our reach. We have technology and known practices today to substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the main factors challenging our survival. All we need is the will to implement them. The support of governments will always lag the implementation of any process by an aware population. In other words, we can’t wait for bureaucrats and government policy to fix things. The change has to start with us, and the quickest way to affect change is to stop buying products that endanger our environment. We need to live our lives as if the future of our children and grandchildren depends on the choices we make today, because it does.
In my seventy-four years of education on this earth I have learned from the past. I try to implement today’s best available knowledge and be willing to change when better information becomes available. I have often been part of the problem, but I earnestly try to do my part to assure survival for those who will follow me. I hope to leave things better than they were when I arrived.