Urban media and green groups lash out at land sale

If one is to consider the sanctimonious outrage of city media and green groups over the proposed sale of of 6,500 hectares of public land, located north of Bow Island, to a private farming company, it shows the usual misguided perceptions city folks have of agriculture issues. Certainly in this case, one needs to look beyond the government bungling of the sale and look at the bigger picture. It would seem once again that city folks still cannot understand that food is grown on land and does not magically appear at grocery stores every day. Those opposed to the sale insinuate, that if the land is sold, it will be lost forever to agriculture. Really, since when is more food production in a starving world considered a loss?

Although changing from grass production to crop production may seem like a wasteful fate to some, it would seem to be a much better fate than the annual permanent loss of many more thousands of hectares of land to city housing developments, bigger highways, transmission lines, mines, oil and gas exploration and development, landfills, and wind farms. None of those land losses are mentioned much by media or green groups. Where is the sanctimonious outrage over the permanent loss of endangered species habitat from all of that lost land every year?

If you want to preserve land for non-food production perhaps you need to start by advocating for a world with fewer people. In the meantime real land will have to be used for real food production for real people. Those making derogatory comments about the land being used for junk food production may want to heed where such comments can lead to. Perhaps much holier than that, though, folks may also want to champion the return to the rainforest of the millions of hectares of land that is now wasted in the production of coffee and cocoa – perhaps the two kings of useless junk consumables. Need I mention the further millions of acres wasted to produce alcohol – shouldn’t all that land be returned to grassland and wildlife habitat? Perhaps I am cutting too close to home.

It is rather shallow to base a viewpoint almost entirely on the conniving outrage of self-righteous lobby groups. The gall of hunter groups in this case is particularly deceitful; sure, they want to preserve critical habitat for wildlife, just so they can have the fun of hunting and killing wildlife on that habitat. Other groups lament the loss of several endangered bird species if the land is farmed. How noble of them!

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, a check of their websites shows no outrage by them against the spread of windmill farms that probably kill more endangered bird species in a month than the land in question produces in a year. I would suggest that in the devious world of green politics, donation-dependent environmental groups are not keen to offend their politically correct, coffee-sipping, chocolate-eating, wine-drinking donors by mentioning any possible hypocrisy in their selective pious outrage.

Having said all that, the Alberta government has not helped matters by its obstinate, ham-fisted approach to the sale process. It is true that the sale of public lands has gone on since the day the first settlers arrived. Substantial tracts of land, particularly grazing lands have for years been sold to rationalize adjacent land holdings and agricultural uses. Those that are now protesting the sale of these lands are latecomers to the process. It causes one to suspect that perhaps the size and intent of the land sale make for much easier sensationalizing, a much desired outcome for publicity hungry lobby groups.

To be fair, the government is correct that the land is presently already being used for agricultural purposes, that being cattle grazing. The only honest group in this controversy are the cattle ranchers who should be well compensated for their economic losses from this land sale.

There is some delicious irony in that we constantly read of city folks clamouring for more local food from local farms, but when we see a proposal to increase local food production, we see it condemned by green groups and the media.