Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

My mouth was watering  as I anticipated the “Sweetheart Brunch”. These volunteers are amazing, perhaps miracle workers! Imagine, ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, toast, fruit, cheese etc. All for $10/adult!! Small wonder this made the front page of the NGT!! But by the last page all was dashed to pieces as Mr. Gabell of the Green Party of Ontario indicates the evil we do by consuming such delicacies, perhaps with delight, and no concern for the biosphere. And then I reasoned, perhaps Mr. Gabell is in error. We are told that in early evolutionary history, man was a hunter/gatherer. And so he hunted the food he needed and as he did so, he realized he would be required to travel further to acquire enough, eventually killing most of the wild mammal food supply. And so man domesticated animals. During this “agricultural period”, man could feed himself and his livestock while being less nomadic. Since Mr. Gabell laments the livestock to wild mammal ratio, it appears that livestock is the very thing that keeps the wild mammals alive as the livestock reduces the hunting of wild mammals. This applies to poultry as well, in relation to wild fowl. Yet Mr. Gabell seems to have no sympathy for the 6,000-9,000 caterpillars that die each clutch, killed by chickadees. Perhaps chickadees should begin to grow their own caterpillars and leave the wild ones alone!  Mr. Gabell makes the claim that agriculture is responsible for 70% of global freshwater use, yet makes no mention that agriculture is also responsible for feeding 100% of the human population as well as 100% of the domestic animal population. In fact, it also helps feed the wild birds and animals. Mr. Gabell laments the use of fertilizers, but makes no mention of “land sparing” that has occurred due to increased crop yields since 1961. Actual croplands used today (2019 worldwide) is 1.09 billion hectares and calculations indicated that 1.69 billion hectares additional land would be required to produce the same food, had crop yields not increased since 1961 (ourworldindata.org), leaving much more area for wild creatures. To produce the same amount of crops as 1961, only 30% of the farmland would be required today, due to yield increases. Agricultural land (hectares) in the northern hemisphere has predominantly declined over the last decade, partially due to higher yields. Yet more land is being put to agricultural use in Africa and Indo China, largely due to fertilizer inputs and food security issues. Perhaps the “Greens” begrudge peoples of all nations their daily bread. Mr. Gabell is correct on the amount of agricultural land used for livestock, and so the Green’s would join Mr. Bill Gates who owns 270,000 acres of US farmland and is pushing “plant based meats” and has called for “policies requiring people in rich countries to eat 100% synthetic beef” according to “Beef Central”.  Mr. Gabell also laments “light pollution”.  I assume the “Green Party” would have the rest of the world follow the North Korean example and all sit in the dark at night as we cannot afford electricity. Personally I am so thankful for all the people who work hard (even at night with the lights on) and innovate to feed the world, even those “terrible” farmers that work from dawn to dusk to bless the town of Kemptville to be able to come together and share in a “Sweetheart Brunch”. All that food for $10!! Unbelievable!!! Even more astounding is the human cooperation and ingenuity to make such an event possible!  Perhaps, contrary to the Green’s disdain of agricultural workers that produce the food and truckers (that drive at night with their lights on) that move the produce, the real “sweethearts” are those very workers!! “Tip of the hat” to those very workers and volunteers who bless us so!!

Willem Van Dam



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