Letter to the editor – climate change

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Dear Editor,

Perhaps if Kelvin Hodges is going to lecture your readers about science and climate change and his claim that his vision will make EVERYONE’s life better, he could leave out his personal beliefs and unfounded remarks towards food and agriculture that aren’t based on science (cleaner, safer, health affects) as it only undermines his message about climate change and the science behind it.  The Federal Green Party, which Kelvin ran to represent recently, has in the past and present had populist policies or statements that go against science (wifi, GMO’s and nuclear energy as examples), so he should at least be familiar with the struggle of getting people to understand the scientific consensus around topics and why it is a consensus amongst actual scientists.  As a fan of science myself, I think he might enjoy this quote from my favorite agronomist, Nobel prize winner and the leader of agriculture’s Green Revolution, the late Norman Borlaug:

Even if you could use all the organic material that you have–the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues–and get them back on the soil, you couldn’t feed more than 4 billion people. In addition, if all agriculture were organic, you would have to increase cropland area dramatically, spreading out into marginal areas and cutting down millions of acres of forests.

At the present time, approximately 80 million tons of nitrogen nutrients are utilized each year. If you tried to produce this nitrogen organically, you would require an additional 5 or 6 billion head of cattle to supply the manure. How much wild land would you have to sacrifice just to produce the forage for these cows? There’s a lot of nonsense going on here.

If people want to believe that the organic food has better nutritive value, it’s up to them to make that foolish decision. But there’s absolutely no research that shows that organic foods provide better nutrition. As far as plants are concerned, they can’t tell whether that nitrate ion comes from artificial chemicals or from decomposed organic matter. If some consumers believe that it’s better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It’s a free society. But don’t tell the world that we can feed the present population without chemical fertilizer. That’s when this misinformation becomes destructive.

I’m quite sure Kelvin is not suggesting we let billions starve or cut down more forests in his vision to feed a growing population, but not all of us have the luxury of just pretending that science is on our side for a populist political movement or to green wash our choices.

Perhaps a different approach than being snide and laughing will get more on board with our fight against climate change than his current approach in the most recent article, the same can be said about the Federal Green party if you watched the agriculture debate for the recent Federal election.  If some are interested in hearing and questioning agriculture scientists speak, Kemptville annually hosts the Eastern Ontario Crop Conference every year, many of which speak of trials they ran at the research facility near Winchester.

Farmer and fellow EV driver, Jason Byvelds

1 COMMENT

  1. Jason Byvelds, I am happy to see my article extends the conversation.
    I have a few comments on your comments. First, I am surprised you would misrepresent my “tone.” I had people call me thanking me for the polite and forward thinking attitude my article brought. After all I am talking about the future and how amazing it is going to be.
    Putting words into someone’s mouth, this is called an ad hominem attack. I would ask the reader, why is this man attacking personal attributes instead of the actual words. Why is he saying I said something I didn’t say? This type of behaviour is best left to school grounds.
    What I am saying is, the coming transition is going to be of huge benefit to us all. And the science of how to do that in the best manner is available. Including at the the Eastern Ontario Crop Conference where conservation and species at risk management is on the program. I can point to a thousand studies and reports showing that farmers are leading on the climate change issue. Luckily for us.
    The real point is we need to act. We need to rebuild. When you rebuild an old barn, you look to see what can be improved for the way the barn is being used today. This is the opportunity ahead of us. We have a chance to build something better. Who doesn’t want to be part of that?
    At no time in history do we have a population richer, better educated, more technologically adept, longer lived and healthier. I’m asking that we turn the conversation to the future. Lets talk about possibilities. And then let’s build them. Heck, it’s going to be fun.
    Mine is a 100% positive message.
    Kelvin Hodges

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