Ms. Hawkwood’s letter was published without references and some details added about Danielle Smith: Letters to the editor – Not all climate-change advocates are extremists by Nielle Hawkwood, Jan 23, 2020, The Western Producer
Ms. Hawkwood’s unedited letter sent to The Producer with references & links:
It is ironic that Ms. Smith warns of “Extremist Propaganda” while appearing to use the same type of propaganda, classing all “environmentalists” in one extreme category.
Not everyone concerned about the climate and environmental losses we are suﬀering and will suﬀer is an extremist; most people today realize that changes must be made. A 45% reduction in human-caused greenhouse gas emissions does not mean the end of fossil fuels, but the beginning of renewable energy, which will benefit all of us. To suggest that anyone concerned about these pressing issues must be a determined vegan or must not recognize the hard work and the positive changes being undertaken by farmers seems very extreme indeed.
The other outstanding irony in Ms. Smith’s presentation is the recommendation that farmers speak on behalf of high pressure, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This process has been banned in a growing number of countries, states and provinces and has been proven by more than 1500 peer-reviewed articles and studies to be a threat to human and animal life, to contaminate air, water and soil and to cause earthquakes which can be very damaging and whose continuing damage is impossible to predict. These wells also flare, vent and leak methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, wasting this valuable resource (http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/). Rural Albertans whose lives have been disrupted following fracking in their neighbourhoods know these eﬀects all too well. Our governments and regulators, however, have done little to clarify what eﬀect fracking is having on Alberta. The Alberta Energy Regulator conducted a highly vaunted “Flowback Study” four years ago, meant to disclose what toxic gases may be emitted from fracked wells during the flowback period following fracking. Despite promises of speedy disclosure of the results, the public has seen no results or conclusions of this study.
The suggestion that industry is being massively attacked by environmental agencies is laughable, when compared to the determined and extremely well-funded eﬀorts by the fossil fuel industry, over more than 40 years, to deny the eﬀects of fossil fuel extraction and burning on our climate and environment. These denials, along with fracking, have delayed the development of renewable resources.
Ms. Smith is correct that we currently depend on oil and gas for farming purposes; the pressure for increased fracking, however, is in aid of export of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG), not local needs. When we export our natural resources, we are denying our descendants access to these resources in future, when there may be a truly safe and economical way of extracting and using them.
Farmers and ranchers can apply to be exempted from the carbon tax on farm fuels. Certainly, Government must pay more attention to the financial needs of the farming community, and more public knowledge of the positive impacts of agriculture is an important goal. We need to continue to approach these goals in a thoughtful way, while continuing to move, with the rest of society, toward more sustainable living.
References and Suggestions for further reading:
- Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald, The Real Cost of Fracking, How America’s Shale Gas Boom is Threatening our Families, Pets, and Food, Beacon Press, Boston, 2014
- Andrew Nikiforuk, Slick Water, Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry, Greystone Books, Vancouver/Berkeley, 2015
- Kevin Taft, Oil’s Deep State, How the Petroleum industry undermines democracy and stops action on global warming – in Alberta, and in Ottawa, James Lorimer and Company Limited, Toronto, 2017.
- Maude Barlow, Boiling Point, Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis, ECW Press, Toronto, 2016 Maude Barlow, Boiling Point, Gov Crisis, ECW Press, Toronto, 2016 qqt
Smith warns of pressure by environmentalists by Barb Glen, January 9, 2020, The Western Producer
“First they came for foresters. Then they came for the oil sands. Then they came for the cattle producers. Now they’re coming for you.”
Danielle Smith gave this ominous message to farmers who attended the Dec. 11-12 Farming Smarter conference in Lethbridge.
The talk radio host and former leader of Alberta’s Wildrose political party said farmers are not immune to attacks from environmental activists who have targeted other sectors and they should prepare to defend themselves.
“I think at the moment the crop producers might be feeling like they’ve got some allies in the environmental community because the allies are picking on beef right now and saying that everybody should become a vegan,” Smith said in a later interview.
“But the vision that they have of veganism is a veganism where you’re growing your food locally. You’re not doing industrial food production. You don’t need fertilizers or chemicals. And I think that’s going to bump right against reality.”
In her speech, Smith said activist-led calls to halt the use of natural gas, once lauded as the cleanest-burning fuel, is a threat to the farm sector because, if successful, it would curtail fertilizer production. Beyond that, the “demonization” of that fuel is part of a far larger campaign to halt the use of all fossil fuels, with some saying that should happen by 2050.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year said a 45 percent reduction in net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030 would limit global warming to 1.5 C. Many environmental groups have since made that a goal.
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, named Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, has demanded that Sweden’s government cut emissions by 15 percent per year and has become the face of a global movement designed to halt human-caused climate change.
Farming without fossil fuels — drying grain, running farm equipment and getting product to market — will be impossible to achieve in 10 years and maybe never, Smith said in her talk.
“You realize it’s not going to work. It can’t work. It was never designed to work. So why are we pretending that that is the solution?”
Smith outlined environmental activists’ successful attack on the forest industry, followed by the attack on Alberta’s oil sands. Then came the attack on the beef production industry because of greenhouse gas emissions, embodied in the EAT Lancet report calling for lower meat consumption.
The beef industry has successfully fought back against the latter campaign, said Smith, but the forestry and particularly the oil and gas industry failed to react when initially and then laboriously targeted.
“I’ve talked to energy industry executives and I’ve asked them, ‘why didn’t you fight back against this campaign that started in 2008?’ And they said ‘we didn’t think we had to. We thought everybody knew how important energy was to their lives. We thought they knew how important it was to have a cheap supply of gasoline. And they didn’t.’
“And that really took them by surprise,” said Smith. “I think that food producers are very much the same.”
Farmers know they provide all the food for people in urban centres as well as elsewhere, but the disconnect between farmers and the bigger number of urban dwellers is a major one, Smith said.
“I think that understanding how to communicate to an urban audience needs to be their next goal. Because at farm conferences I think (farmers) get energized talking to each other about all the great work that they’re doing. They get the agricultural press talking about all the great work that they’re doing and then the urban consumer doesn’t hear any of that. The urban consumer is getting a steady diet of extremist stories from the environmental lobby saying that the world is coming to an end.”
Smith wondered aloud why farmers aren’t more vocal about attacks on natural gas and about carbon taxes, given that her calculations put carbon tax costs, based on a tax of $50 per tonne of carbon emitted, at about $6 per acre. That is a cost none of their competitors must pay.
“Is that not a big deal? Or is it a big deal,” she asked. Given that some factions say $50 per tonne is insufficient, higher rates could dramatically increase farm costs as well as the cost of food for consumers.
Smith encouraged farmers to better explain the impact that carbon taxes and criticism of natural gas will have on their livelihoods and by extension, consumers’ food costs and quality of life. Farmers’ ability to produce food on less land than before, capture carbon in soil, plant trees on marginal lands and potentially operate net zero farms is a vision that would resonate with the public.
“I don’t see that there’s any reason why your industry can’t come out ahead, except for the fact that we have natural gas in the eyesights of the environmentalists. They want to stop it. They want to stop fracking. I think there needs to be a positive message in order to be able to counter that.”
Farming Smarter Conference 2019, list of speakers and sponsors, note the Alberta gov’t and Western Producer were sponsors:
Refer also to:
Are Danielle Smith & Western Producer working for Kenney’s War Room?
Most people voicing concerns about Alberta’s *dying, polluting (notably our toxic tarsands), propaganda-promoting, law-violating, contract-reneging, life destroying oil & gas industry are not “environmentalists” or “extremists.” Most are intelligent, courageous, outspoken tax-paying farmers, ranchers, home and business owners, mothers, fathers, artists, students & children watching the industry destroy their futures, ministers, doctors, scientists, carpenters, cooks, artists, teachers, plumbers, electricians, musicians, actors, etc. They are ordinary citizens, some brutally abused by oil and gas companies, especially thug Encana (name changed to Ovintiv), and law violation and pollution enabling “regulators” and pro-polluter courts and politicians, world-wide.
*The oil and gas industry is on life support, only surviving because of trillions of dollars in tax breaks, freebies, gifts, endless subsidies, and near zero royalties; ability to walk via intentional court-ordered bankruptcies without consequence from its many harms and significant negative poisonous cumulative impacts to start up new companies to pollute and harm and rape and pillage all over again until they bankrupt again and again enabled by courts again and again; and company and court ordered gags legally covering-up poisoning of homes, farms, rivers, food, air, people, pets and livestock, worker deaths, contamination cases – including of community drinking water supplies, and law violations.
I am an Alberta business and home owner, taxpayer and scientist. I am not an environmentalist or extremist; I am not an activist, criminal or terrorist; I am not even Alice in Wonderland (one of Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella’s smears of me in her ruling in Ernst vs AER) but I’ve been name-called such by many, including regulators, media, politicians, and our polluter-enabling money grubbing NGOs.
I live frac’d by Encana (now Ovintiv) with water that painfully burns eyes and skin, too dangerous to use to flush toilets and that my dogs backed away from in revulsion, while our “regulators” refuse to enforce our laws and regulations, only further abuse me and cover-up the company’s crimes.
My drinking water after Encana illegally fractured the aquifers that supply my well and others in my community.
I’ve been frac’d again and again and again by Encana, enabled by AER and the Alberta government breaking the law, with their enabling and law violations enabled by our oil-soaked lying courts.
If frac’ing was good for farmers, food and water, the authorities would not need to break the law to cover-up the endless losses, harms, earthquakes, rights violations and pollution it causes, and judges would not need to demean harmed citizens and lie in rulings.
Encana’s intentionally dumped, likely radioactive waste on foodland in my community at Rosebud, Alberta