In reply to Heidi:
In general environmental degradation from farming is attributed exclusively
to farmers, but there is little justification for that since the
exploitation of natural resources and people starts when the consumer buys
food on price alone. Most do. Farmers are as a consequence amongst the least
educated poorest paid most disadvantaged self employed people about. It
takes two people working very hard in difficult circumstances to make one
person's wage in agriculture. This is no excuse for ignoring progress in
improved agricultural techniques, but does severely hamper the genuine in
There is considerable evidence that the internal combustion engine, and the
use of fuel for heat are changing the climate of the world. Will those who
drive cars and heat their homes be prepared to clean up all the damage, as
the BIRT suggests farmers should?The damage of climate change could be
severe including massive loss of species and enormous damage to (imperfect)
food production systems.Who will be able to assess the costs and develop the
strategies to repair the environmental and human/cultural costs?
It is said that an average 1 degree C change in climate could ruin wheat
production in some areas. If this turned out to be the Ukraine which has an
east west wheat belt unlike the Prairies, who could price and pay for the
turmoil and suffering in the former Soviet republics?
In the end it is people who like to eat regularly who are the owners of the
food system and its main beneficiaries. They must shoulder the main
resposibility for the food production system. The farmers of today could
find other employment. Their sons and daughters are.
This doesn't give answers to your question but might assist in encouraging
you to think, and to consider in advance some of the arguments that the case
the negative might put.
David, Heather, and Matthew Hine
Atkins Rd, Cawongla
via Kyogle, NSW, Australia 2474
ph/fax: 61 066 337162.