Dear Environment Canada: Please Use Canadian Stats

You’ve likely seen Environment Canada’s Tweet celebrating #WorldFoodDay and thanking farmers…well, some farmers. If not, here it is:

Seems nice enough, yeah? Well, then you follow the link. It doesn’t lead to an Environment Canada page, though. It doesn’t lead to a Canadian page at all, actually. Instead it links to this page from the FAO entitled: Climate is Changing. Food and Agriculture Must Too.

The page lists plenty of helpful, wise, wonderful things to help curb humans’ impact on our natural resources, such as saving water and decreasing food waste, but where the list has irked many is in two points: reducing meat intake and going organic.

While many are irritated just by those statements, what gets me is the reasons given for doing so, namely: beef production happens on slashed rainforests and organic production is better for the soil.

Your choice to choose meatless for a few meals a week will certainly help your pocket book, and goodness knows I enjoy a good chickpea dish, but to tell Canadians that their beef consumption is tied to rainforests being slashed and burned? That’s a little rich, Environment Canada. The truth, easily accessibly and handy online, through social media and more, is that a large portion of Canadian beef production happens largely on grasslands (many of them native rangeland), and on marginal land unsuited to crop production.

What’s more, the beef industry just released an extensive, transparent, and very honest sustainability benchmark report that does a great job of explaining the social, economic, and environmental beef production footprint. Environment Canada could have linked to it like we did here.

Then there’s the other point many are upset about — buying organic. I know there are many in farming who simply cringe at the thought that organic agriculture should be celebrated for its improvement or protection of soil, but that’s somewhat disingenuous. The actual fact is that there are amazing soil conservationists in conventional farming, just as there are über tillers in organic systems. The opposite is also true.

Bottom line: soil conservation and health promotion is not unique to any one production system, and beef production in Canada most certainly does not come at the expense of rainforest growth. Finally, consumers deserve better from their government departments than a quick link to a listsicle that’s not Canadian-centric.

If you think the same, you can follow cattle rancher Adrienne Ivey’s lead and write to Environment Canada with your concerns. It would seem that’s been helpful as the account has since Tweeted this: 

 

3 thoughts on “Dear Environment Canada: Please Use Canadian Stats

    1. Change Amazon to boreal forest and welcome to the north where I sit watching and smelling smoke and carbon going into the air from piles of wasted wood beening burned to enlarge farms not to mention the eradication of wild life shelters and wetlands

      There has to be a better way to feed the world or at least have better controls over it.

  1. Government is the biggest waste of our environment going. To high of a percentage of employees use energy and paper, computers etc. and drive around and at the end of the day produce nothing. But agriculture that does produce a not very needed product called FOOD is always at fault. I wish every pound of my product would be exported, Canada has way to much FOOD and nobody respects it.

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