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Agriculture This Week: Earth Day should lead to environmental discussions

Talking about issues first step to addressing them
health harvest 8
What happens with the environment may well impact how farmers farm. (File Photo)

YORKTON - With days marking everything from broccoli to Remembrance Day, its admittedly more and more difficult to determine which days should matter and which are just a way to boost some sales via subtle advertising. 

Perhaps that is why Earth Day came and went last Friday with rather little fanfare, especially so locally where it was a rather subdued affair at best. 

That is rather unfortunate when one pauses for just a second to ponder that this ball of mud and increasingly polluted water is all we have, and if we as a species happen to destroy it, we as a species disappear too. 

For those completely unfamiliar Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection, first held April 22, 1970. 

Of course how threatened our planet is in terms of damage to the environment is the stuff which keeps social media firing these days. There are those who see it as some grand hoax perpetrated by ‘the media’ for some unknowable reason, and on the other end of the debate those who see the end of the world already etched into our collective future. 

In the middle somewhere is of course the actual situation we face as a plant. 

Certainly, there are some rather obvious issues we are facing, the question of course being are we doing enough – or anything at all – to address those issues? 

For example, the world population continues to grow, with little to suggest that upwards trend will slow. Where is the tipping point where there are too many people for the resources we have – in particular food, and how to we slow the trend before we get to that point? 

For farmers this is a rather crucial question as they will be looked to grow the food. 

And likely with fewer acres as growing populations mean urban spread which turns farmland land into asphalt roads, housing developments and big box stores. 

A growing population also creates ever-larger mounds of garbage, which in itself is a massive environmental issue. 

A solution has been to look at the vast oceans as little more than a garbage dump, hoping mountains of non-biodegradable waste is somehow not a problem underwater. 

Of course if that garbage happens to ultimately kills off tuna, lobster and other seafood sources, where do we replace the food lost? 

The answer of course would be back on farmers already facing issues (see above), and others of course. 

How will farmers operate as the society has growing concerns with farm chemicals and fertilizer? 

How do farmers balance being viable and dealing with carbon release issues in their operations? 

And, if we don’t control our emissions, what effects will that have on climate, and again the ability to produce food. 

With all the issues, perhaps Earth Day needs more focus moving forward as an annual day to focus efforts for change.