Saturday, January 16, 2010

Destroy farmland to save the environment

Dean Smith, a regular contributor to his own blog and commentor on mine made several points as a comment on my nanny state post.  
" Bruce, I don't know about the rest of Western Washington, but Snohomish County has gone way overboard in the "protection" of wetlands. Salmon and Orca "protection" has been very expensive and has not been scientifically demonstrated to be very effective...."

I agree with Deans' point here.   The current plan to "restore salmon" is to destroy farmland.  Either by actively flooding it or by passively confiscating it - which i'll write about next week.

John Koster, a Snohomish county county councilman, wrote about this in an editorial on February 18th, 2007, and I quote: 

"...A particularly disturbing trend in our land use policy, however, is the seemingly unstoppable destruction of thousands of acres of valuable farmlands via "wetland conversions." The conversions are being done in the name of conservation for salmon or wildlife habitat, wetland banking and/or other environmental programs unrelated to farming. Projects are planned and carried out by government agencies with your tax dollars via federal, state and local grants, and it's happening under the public radar..."

The solution to any concern about our environment is to destroy farmland.  
Let me say that again, because it's important: 
The destruction of farmland is an important policy for our government.  
This destruction of farmland and its associated regulations are pushing food production farther and farther from our population in western washington.  This doesn't change the type of food produced, or, really, the impact of production, it just moves it out of the way, out of sight, out of mind.

  Similar in the way that Seattle, oh-so-green Seattle, ships all its garbage down to an Oregon landfill hundreds of miles and thousands of gallons of diesel away

Moving it out of sight doesn't make it any cleaner or better in a global sense.  We all eat.  We all drink.  We all deserve a clean environment.  It's time that the chickens came home to roost and we came to grips with the need to allow all sorts of activities without the destruction of any.  There are wetlands that should be preserved.  There are farms that should be, too. 

Back to Dean Smiths comment: 

"...I, for one, would like to see the county give food production, especially in close-in areas like Ebey Island, a lot more emphasis. Food production should be the priority over development, growth and most wetlands protection. We need to take as seriously as the Dutch the need to protect food production (not just houses and factories) with dikes. The county should be supporting you, not fighting you. As an active member of Transition Everett, I intend to argue that to county officials..."

The department of fish and game spent $6 million dollars to buy 800 acres next to my farm, and is now studying breaching the dike and flooding those acres to make more salmon habitat (the study will cost millions, and the breaching of the dike will cost many tens of millions).  Let's look at what just 50 acres does a little south of Seattle.  The Carpinito brothers farm grows great produce and has a thriving farmstand on their property.   That 800 acres that Fisthey are going to destroy (and don't think that their study won't conclude that the destruction of this land is the best use of it) is prime, commercial farmland that was first farmed in the 1920s. 

How much farmland must be destroyed before we realize that it's the population growth and attendant pressures that's causing the impacts.  Farmland doesn't vote, and a farmer is only one vote.  I'd like to see them propose tearing down a shopping mall to make a wetland, or a housing subdivision.


Chris Cliff said...

It is a very tough argument. We need to save the fish, but keeping farmers local is also very important. What I see us as a community as needing to do is shift what we produce to fit what would more naturally grow here.

Cows are not the native species. They are low on the energy return rate and are pretty hard on the environment. If we as a culture embraced eating smaller animals raised on smaller farms that had less of an ecological impact, I think it would make a huge difference.

In the end though, there are no easy answers. We have screwed things up far enough that fixing them is complicated.

damae said...

Where are you getting your information from Chris? Cows are actually pretty damn good for the environment, as cows graze, their snot actually inoculates the pasture with enzymes and probiotics for future digestion and enrichment of the soil. Maybe you ought to read this article: Http://
before you spew the pablum promoted by the global warming scam alarmists which has been proven to be a fraud because the records show that the rise in temperature precedes the rise in co2 which of course means that it is actually the rise in temperature that causes the rise in co2. Are cow causing global warming on Mars too? Is it because of them that the polar ice caps on Mars have been melting? Do your own research before parroting this hooey concocted by Al Gore and his ilk to make themselves rich.

Anonymous said...

Chris' point was concise and spot on. It requires a lot more energy: feed, space, time to raise X lbs of beef then raising X lbs of chicken, rabbit, goat etc. As for cown snot inoculating pastures...LOL.... they're a lot more effective ways to do that without cow snot.

As for your rant in the second paragraph... eeeeeaaasssyyyyy bessy! I didn't notice any "pablum spewage"!

Melissa said...

How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet
By Lisa Abend,8816,1953692,00.html

What say you to that?