Environmental policy has a large impact on how farmers raise their crops. When the policy is based on sound science, it can help guide farmers to wise farming practices. But when policy is based on fear or emotion, it can do damage to farming practices and the farm itself.
In fact, using fear campaigns has been found an effective tactic, according to renowned economist, environmentalist and former Greenpeace member and founder Dr. Patrick Moore. He said he helped found that particular environmental organization based on science and protecting humanity long-term.
“By the time I left, my fellow humanitarians were talking about humans as the enemies of the earth, as if they were not worth saving in the first place,” Moore said. “I think it’s a terrible idea to teach our children that.”
Moore, who bases his environmental philosophy on science and logic, goes on to say that much of the environmental movement is calling “nature good, humans bad” even as we are all part of the same system on earth.
The same movement is one that influences policy creation dictating farming practices and weighs in regularly and financially on GMOs. Those in the environmental movement, according to Moore, have taken a very broad term, “genetically modified”, and narrowed it down.
“Genetic modification is a tricky propaganda word,” Moore said. “They also use the words unseen and unknown to describe what’s in foods, words that are propaganda tricks themselves.”
Moore said that there is not a credible scientist or scientific organization that says GMOs are bad or unhealthy.
He believes the problem is ultimately a lack of understand among people not involved in farming. Moore points to what he calls “the propaganda machine called the environmental movement” as the reason for that lack of understanding. That same “machine”, he said, distorts the image of farmers, as well as loggers, miners, fisherman and oil drillers, into being enemies of the earth.
Even more alarming, the amount of money that organizations such as Greenpeace have to utilize is shocking. At his last estimate, Moore highlighted that Greenpeace itself receives about $400 million a year.
“It’s a direction that works for them and they get people to give them a lot of money every year,” Moore said. “And they only have to convince a small population they’re right to get that powerhouse of money.”
Ultimately, Moore said it will be hard to reason with people who fall for the fear campaigns. He likens it to superstition, pointing out that if people are dead set on believing what they have heard, you really cannot reason with them.
Moore went on to point out the difficulty those in the resource industry, including farmers, have in combating this type of thinking and campaigning because it is not the same type of industry as retail.
Moore spoke to farmers and industry leaders February at the 2015 Northern Soybean Expo in Fargo. He gave a very bleak look at what farmers face and must overcome as they continue to provide food in the future in the future.
It was eye-opening for farmers and agriculture industry leaders at the event, held by the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association and the North Dakota Soybean Council. The Minnesota Research & Promotion Council and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association regularly partner with their North Dakota counterparts, including this educational event.