There’s never been a time when we’ve known so much about what must happen yet remain so incapable of taking constructive steps toward a better future. We see the tragic loss of topsoil and biodiversity; the rise of super-pests of all kinds, driven by technology unfettered with ethics; and the increasingly failed economic systems that enrich the barons of Big Food while leaving farmers quite literally “in the dust.” We see the rise of chronic illness corresponding to the nutritional diminishment of our food, and rural communities choosing to install prisons and landfills as “hopeful” strategies to achieve economic development. The condition of the natural environment is changing right before our eyes. We continue to invent increasingly efficient methods for extracting fossil fuels and releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.
However, we can’t seem to muster the necessary determination to do anything broadly effective about any of this.
We are afflicted with a lethal combination of chronic denial and willful avoidance that keeps the solutions we know to be tested and true relegated to the fringes of agricultural policy and practice. There is nothing more destructive in our lives together than these two regressive forces working together.
Urgently, we need to replace current practices with those we clearly understand to be more sustainable, and to engage in continuous improvement through additional research, experience and collaboration.
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It is clearly time, right now, for us to access our collective potential for discerning, deciding and actively defending the future of life on this planet.
The writer is the executive director of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.