The Guardian (Charlottetown)
From farms to fisheries, we can all do our part
Today is Earth Day. It’s been around for more than 50 years, founded by U.S. Senator and environmentalist, Gaylord Nelson, on April 22, 1970.
I grew up on a farm, surrounded by people who had a great connection to, and appreciation for, the Earth’s precious resources. The world depends on farmers every day. Did you know that 90 per cent of our food is produced on soil? The nutrient content of food crops is affected by soil health and soil fertility.
To that point, I remember having a conversation with a co-worker a few years ago about farming, the environment and planet Earth. It got a little heated. There were insinuations that farmers were stripping the land with no regard for the environment or our future.
I can’t speak for every type of farming or farmer around the world. As a farmer’s daughter, I can tell you that the farmers that I’ve come across over the years have a deep appreciation and respect for our connection to the environment, and the steps we must take to make sure our planet stays healthy.
Our world population and its needs are constantly changing, so agricultural practices must also change. Technology has helped dairy farmers improve the quality of care for their animals and the environment. Research has come a long way in animal genetics, cow comfort and health, cow nutrition, crop management and overall farm management.
These improvements and innovations have led to a decreased carbon footprint for dairy and other agricultural industries. Farmers not only do a great deal to protect the land, but they also strive to make it better; every day is Earth Day on the farm.
I moved away from the farm many years ago, but the need to keep our planet healthy remains top of mind. Early this year, I met a passionate ocean warrior at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market in Dartmouth. Angela Riley was standing behind a table covered with a unique variety of intriguing items. It wasn’t until I had a brief chat with Angela that I realized the extent of our shoreline crisis. I also learned that the items on the table that stretched between us were all made from plastics and other materials collected from our precious shores.
Proceeds from the sales of these items go to buy supplies so Angela and her team can continue to pluck plastics from our waters. Not everyone can join shoreline clean-ups, but there as so many daily actions that we can take. It can be as simple as picking up one piece of trash every day.
For me, Earth Day is a reminder that we need to stay in a green state of mind all year long, regardless of our roots!