We farm with love, compassion and a deep sense of awareness and respect for the environment. This is the message I preach to every carbon monoxide producing, milk guzzling, vegetable munching, meat eating, farmer bashing hater, evidenced at this election campaign. Never before have farmers felt like all gun barrels were firmly pointed at us.
Now I completely respect that the environment sits at the forefront of most people’s minds. The likes of me are surrounded by it. We live it. We breath it. That’s why we get it. But the vile hatred spewed out to us over the last few months has left a gaping hole in my heart. Social media brought the very worst out of every perfect environmentalist human being.
Thousands upon thousands of comments on every political party’s environmental policy blamed farmers for hurling chemical drums into waterways; fencing waterways to keep stock in them, not out of them; and planting trees only to cut them down. Meanwhile, farmers gleefully stuffed hundred dollar bills in their back pockets.
One punter that sticks in my mind referred to farmers as “disgusting excuses for human beings”, another “the greediest people on the planet”. No doubt these people were writing these comments sitting on cheap teak chairs milled from rainforests in Java, burning the midnight oil, while drinking unethically produced coffee from South America.
But wait, this hatred is not only confined to the hidden realms of social media anymore. On a night out at a bar in Ponsonby recently, two complete strangers asked my husband and I what we did for a living. When we replied that we were farmers, they retorted, “You’re the people that are ruining the environment,” and they grabbed their drinks and moved away. I presumed they thought we had an infectious disease.
I just don’t know why we farmers are so greedy and stupid? Why on earth are we not planting those money trees? Then we could all sit back and gaze lovingly over the landscape sipping Moet Chandon. Oh hang on, that wouldn’t work. Grapes come from horticulturists. They are intensive too, and they use free water for their own greedy purposes.
The fact is every single one of us has a hand to play in this world, and it doesn’t release any of us from our contribution to environmental degradation by sticking the boot into one sector. I appreciate that these haters do not speak for all Kiwis, but the ones that do speak are loud and mean. So I say enough of you haters out there. If you are a consumer of anything in this world then I invite you to come talk to us. Take the journey toward a greater more sustainable planet; with us and not against us.