The Real Environmentalists by Marlene Black

Marlene Black

As part of a century old family farm where my husband still tills the land that his Irish ancestors before him did, we feel that we are true environmentalists. Sadly, this label has been stolen from us and stuck onto anyone who wants to call themselves that. There doesn’t seem to be any ‘test’ to see if you quality. There doesn’t seem to be any ‘evidence’ to prove you are indeed authentic and you don’t seem to need to have a well-rounded knowledge of life and nature and how we are all interconnected. I feel that these environmentalists have been indoctrinated in the schools, by the media and by books, starting in kindergarten where emotions are given to trees so they can be sad and miss you when you go off to school. It’s no wonder that kids today are horrified if you cut a tree down. I call these environmentalists, the ‘brainwashed, urban armchair’ variety. Making rules about wetlands without ever walking on the water. I call the true environmentalists the “true rural green” variety. You don’t have to be rural to be a real one though, just that when you live on the land, you live by the weather and have a deeper understanding of real climate change.

Now you may wonder how I’d think that a farmer could be a true environmentalist. Well, keeping the land healthy and productive is of utmost importance to anyone making a living off the land. We object to the continuous barrage of government rules and regulations trying to make sure that the farmer follows sound environmental practices. We wouldn’t mind if a little common sense was in the mix but this is sorely lacking. We hear continually that “we need rules so that farmers won’t dump oil in their wells or drain all their fields.” This is the evidence to prove that they have little or no understanding of how the real-world works.

Armchair environmentalists say “stop using chemicals” which at face value sounds good but it may not be based in understanding the dynamics of when and why they are used. Farmers know that it is always good to try and use chemicals which  aren’t bad for the environment and many chemicals developed from modern science have allowed us to grow bigger crops on the same acre of land with less tillage and compaction, less use of fossil fuels and less potential for wind erosion. These bugs and weeds can be devastating to a crop and affect our food supply.  Many of these urban alarmists don’t know the difference between herbicides and pesticides. One kills bugs and one kills weeds and they are used selectively when necessity warrants. Most farmers are always quick to adopt new technology that helps protect the environment.

Since we’re talking about polluting the land, where were these people when the gigantic windmill monsters started blighting our landscape, mounted on tons of cement, whirling dead birds through the air, spilling pollutants onto the ground and giving us very little electricity while they wait for the wind to blow?  Where was the outcry?

There is a very long list of what farmers do on their land to make improvements, but the urban armchair alarmists don’t know about this.  They look on with horror when a farmer fills in a low spot on his land but look the other way when hundreds of trucks fill up a wetland in preparation for a new subdivision, coffee shop or grocery store. Silence! This just creates an environmental frenzy that seems to land heavily on the farmers’ fields. The craziness became obvious to many of us when a property owner placed old cars in his ditch to form a bridge to get to the other side. He kept adding more old cars and debris as the water rose. Over time, he created a large lake behind his makeshift bridge which had become a dam. This created flooding on his neighbours upstream. When complaints were made to conservation authorities to have it removed, they were told that because it had been there for more than six months, it was now part of a wetland ecosystem and could not be removed.

I believe that the true environmentalists should speak out and push back somewhat against those who don’t know what they are talking about but seem to have the ear of the media. I feel that a true environmentalist looks at the evidence, reads and listens to both sides of the discussion and forms an educated opinion. If you read Dr. Tim Balls article, “Claim That 97% of Scientists Agree About Human-Caused Global Warming Is Fake News”, you will see how these climate conclusions were manufactured. The “urban armchair” does not tend to listen to established scientists who can show how the climate has always been changing and the “man-made” blame is really more about hysteria. They are more emotional, don’t listen to reason and follow the mob that says that the sky is falling.

Stan Rogers understood the farming way of life and wrote songs about it. It was hard back then, dirt poor, back breaking work but an honourable profession that most did not want to do. However, it’s a  new world now and the farmer seems to be feeling the wrath of these armchair elites who feel they best know how to protect our planet and who want to tell him whether he can cut a tree, dig a ditch, erect a building, drive his tractor through his lowlands or prevent him from farming due to a sensitive area or a heritage building that they have discovered on his private property.

Farmers are the perfect profession to target. The fake environmentalists and conservation authorities can demand and threaten us with fines and jail time for doing what we know should be done. Anonymous callers to these snitch lines will bring the law to your gate in record time. If aggressive bylaw enforcers get a report that a farmer has been cleaning up a fence row, cutting down a tree or filling in a low spot, they’ll arrive promptly, armed with stop-work orders. The reality for most of us in the farming community is that we are rooted to our land and can’t just pull up stakes and move to a more farm friendly municipality. Many of us hope to pass our farms on to the next generation and we don’t take lightly to being told that we are destroying the environment.

The Salt of the Earth

There’s a song about the field behind the plow

And farm life hasn’t changed from then to now

The men on the land, work from dawn to dusk

Trying to make a living, growing food for us.


Stan wrote about these hard-working men

Who carried on the love of the land,

They worked all day ‘cuz that’s what they did,

And they worked until they dropped into bed.


They call them the salt of the earth,

Which means they don’t get what they’re worth

The next time you’re looking down the end of your fork,

Remember someone, somewhere did a whole lot of work.


Their days are not ruled by a plan,

The God up above guides their hand,

They work with what comes from the sky,

And they work until they lie down and die.


If you’re rooted to the land, you can’t leave,

Your ancestors tug at your sleeve,

But the glowing red sunset as you finish your last round

Makes you glad you stayed rooted to the ground.