When the environmental phobia first became a movement, farmers wondered why the day-to-day activities they perform seemed to frustrate environmentalists. They still wonder, but they are beginning to “get it.”
Events such as the refusal by state officials to approve adequate funding for Temperance Flat Dam in Fresno County cause the farm community to look beyond and behind decisions largely influenced by those who believe their actions protect the environment.
Farmers generally believe that no group in today’s society provides as much day-to-day support and protection for the environment as they do. Their very existence depends on a robust and balanced environment, and they work daily to maintain and protect it.
What farmers are beginning to see more clearly is that the so-called environmental movement is directed by some of the world’s most militant and radical dissidents and malcontents. From their ivory towers and editorial bastions they proclaim what seems to be an unrealistic and glorified existence that can be attained only when the idealistic rules they dictate are followed.
What farmers are realizing is that the heart of the environmental movement revolves around those who dislike and disagree with the world around them. They want a new civilization, a new economy, a new pattern of behavior, a new world, and they believe their best chance of achieving it is through a movement with the innocuous purpose of maintaining clean air, clean water, hardier fish and game and more moonlight on the Ganges.
Basic to the environmental movement is a disagreement with and dislike for the kind of economy that has helped make America great – free enterprise, competition in business, self improvement, freedom to pursue happiness and freedom to worship.
In the lifetimes of most of today’s farmers, political movements have attracted worldwide attention in Europe, in China, in Russia, but not in America. Our Constitution and the lifestyle it outlines and establishes have prevailed.
The movements in other parts of the world have eventually joined with military interests to bring about painful change. Some have resulted in conflict that has enveloped countries far beyond the point of origination – worldwide conflicts.
Today’s American farmers wonder if a movement as strong and as widespread as environmentalism can avoid militancy. They sometimes feel that farms have already become battlegrounds where environmentalists have prepared to “dig in.”
Recently a widely-used weed killer applied by urbanites as well as farmers was listed on a schedule of “dangerous” chemicals. It became suspect a dozen years ago after 50 years of safe and effective use. It is obviously one of the primary items targeted by committed environmentalists for extinction, even as it remains available in hardware, grocery and specialty stores in steady demand and use by Americans.
The farm community has taken heart as the President has throttled the powerful Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by denying it some of its absolute power over some agricultural chemicals. But chemical manufacturers are not always anxious to re-tool and re-establish sales efforts for a product that has been banned from the market for six years.
The farm community is wiser after observing the environmental onslaught for years. It knows it might have to plant some new seeds that germinate well in mature, fertile minds. And when the crop of good sense develops, they hope their progeny and others who follow them can raise a banner over some productive farmland and reclaim the honor of being the original environmentalists.