> We believe that informed individuals will
> make the proper decisions for themselves, their families,
> communities the environment, etc. To the extent these decisions
> are sustainable
> only time will tell as we really lack the knowledge to judge this
> short term. Moving in the right direction is what is
> U.S. agriculture really is moving in the right direction.
1) I disagree that people will always make the proper decisions for
themsleves, communities and environment, but I strongly defend the
right of individuals to make their own decisions in so far as
it does not infringe on anyone else's rights and responsibilities. I
also agree with everything you say in regards to the importance of an
informed citizenry. But...
2) If you lack the knowledge to judge what is sustainable in the
short term, I am baffled how you can claim to be moving in the
"right" direction, if by "right" you mean sustainable. And if we
don't have this knowledge, shouldn't we be devoting some effort to
aquire it so that people can make informed choices about moving in
the direction of sustainability? And couldn't part of that effort be
in clarifying the definition of sustainability?
I agree that there seem to be some positive trends in agriculture:
soil erosion seems to be declining, pesticide use seems to be
declining, and perhaps on farm fuel use per unit of product may also
be decreasing due to the use of conservation tillage (but I've not
seen documentation of this).
But there are trouble areas too. In addition to the continuing
loss of farmers and ranchers and rural communities, there is still
much more energy used in processing, packaging, and transporting food
than is contained in the food itself.
Thanks for sharing your perspective.
PS. I am familiar with and very sympathetic with Arnold Pacey's
work in the history and interpretation of technological transfer
(I think he prefers the phrase technological dialogue). I have
hosted him on our campus.