Over the past couple of decades, those who make a profit off of the environment — farmers, ranchers, miners, and loggers — have seen a fair amount of negative publicity.
As people involved in some of these industries, we know the negativity isn’t always accurate, and Bruce Vincent with Environomics Incorporated more than agrees.
“The public in the last 50 years has grown increasingly concerned about the environment. Rightfully so — they want to protect the planet. We only have one. And some of the stuff we used to do had to stop,” explains Vincent in the video below. “They empowered an environmental movement, but what they don’t have is any sort of resource background. They have no touchstone to the ground.”
He adds the parts of pop-culture that tend to play a part in this movement is the popularity of Disney movies, and how they portray nature as “taking care of itself”.
“They’ve got 50 years of Bambi underneath their belts. And they think before humans showed up, wolves were raising orphaned rabbits in a sea of overgrowth. They have no idea how the real world works. The wolf eats the rabbit, and they definitely don’t have a party right after that.”
We’ve been given this information since we were kids, and it’s hard to change the way people think, but as Vincent says in his conversation with RealAgriculture’s Kelvin Heppner, we need to try anyway.
“Our role needs to be listening to the public, try to hear what they are saying. Understand what they think their concerns are — and we don’t have to agree with them — but their concerns are real to them. And they give us the license to operate. We only operate with their consent. If they decide that we suck, that they should no longer allow us to do what we’re doing, they will craft a regulatory policy regime that will put us out of business,” says Vincent. “So what we’ve got to do is listen to them, hear what they think the issues are, and then craft solutions that are acceptable to them, and acceptable to us.”
He adds that the way to save our rural areas, is to be the answer to their environmental concerns.
Whether you are talking logging, where the trees were managed for thousands of years by Indigenous Peoples; or ranching, where grazing land has been managed by ranchers, nature needs help taking care of itself. This is the message Vincent depicted in his keynote presentation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary, AB.
“The safest, most productive, efficient, and environmentally sound producers of beef in the world, live in places like Alberta, Manitoba, and Montana. If people want to make a free choice about where their beef is coming from, and have food safety issue on their plate, they should want it to be from Canada or the U.S. But we’ve got to be the ones to make that case.”