THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY

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The Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) had a very interesting article on the promise of sustainability in a recent issue of Passages their bimonthly publication. He addressed remarks by Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau, who said at a recent conference that the word sustainability was overused and  secondary to economic reality. Quoting Brian Snyder; ” So when we look at Government control over our food and farming systems, perhaps you can agree with me that regulations are created to serve the unwilling. I am very distressed to hear the Stallman Doctrine calling for an unwillingness to work as hard as we can to save this beautiful planet of ours, and for that attitude, I assume we will eventually be rewarded with more regulation.” These thoughts hit home to the writer who is a Conservative as the reason why controls are needed in a free society. The free enterprise system is the most powerful and innovation inspiring economic system the world has ever seen. I for one would not change it despite its shortcomings. The systems developed by Industrial Agriculture are brilliant in many ways. However as currently  structured they ignore too many important basic issues as outlined in our references. The most important of these is our topsoil destruction which will require centuries to renew. Other important unintended consequences can be corrected in decades but we must start restoration now. Stallman is typical of the short term thinking of Union leaders since Samuel Gompers who often destroy the very industries they serve and depend for their power. Trading short term economic gain for the long term survival of agriculture, healthy food, and our two most important natural resources, the current direction, is clearly unsustainable which best defines the word sustainable.

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