Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I’ve always thought that the best contribution Europe could ever do to combat global warming is to let all the farmlands of France, Benelux, Germany and Britain be reforested, just as they were before they were all leveled through human activity over the centuries. As the developing world is forced to denude its forests to feed its burgeoning populations, the best thing Europe could do is step into the breach and cover for the losses.

The only areas in the developed world that should be farmed are those areas that have historically always been grasslands: the prairies of Canada and the US, and the steppes of Russia and Ukraine. The yields from these areas are more than enough to make up for the loss of British and Franco-German farmlands.

Those lands used to be so thickly forested that Roman legions truly feared them. The Romans were the initiators of the clear-cutting that was to come, which heralded the advance of civilization, and the wiping out of indigenous cultures. But today, as agriculture has long ago lost its status as the benchmark of civilization, it makes sense to give up the farmlands back to nature.

And, just to be fair, it also seems that the previously-forested lands east and west of the Appalachian Mountains could also be given back to forests. The only difference between America and Europe is that it’s already happening through market forces, as there are more abandoned farms in America, because of less state support for them, unlike in Europe. In other words, the market is already giving up unneeded lands back to nature. Active reforestration programs, funded by environmental charities, would hasten it, though most environmentalists are too confused in their priorities to understand that.

There is so much overproduction of agricultural goods in both America and Europe that the state still has to intervene and buy up surpluses: a sure sign that there are too many farms.

I’d bet Vanhanen would have a fit, though.


Anonymous Mike said...

Yep, state subsidy of farming is a great annoyance. In the US at least, concerted special interests manage to be a loud voice, but it's just not the type of issue to awaken any interest or alarm from the 99% of us who do not benefit from the largesse. And so it goes on, overcapacity continues, and people wonder why the family farmer seems to have trouble making a living.

Hard to criticize anything that seems to benefit the farmer, because people have this strange romantic notion that there's something special and good and above reproach about tilling the earth and growing food.

But isn't the guy who makes the sheet metal for the tractors exactly as important? Isn't the chemical conglomerate that makes the pesticides? (Now THAT's politically incorrect).

Anyway, you know there has been a great deal of reforestation in New England especially, but also in outher parts of the nation. Read a blog recently in which someone told of growing up in New Hampshire, and never really thinking to wonder why rock wall fences were common in the middle of forests!

2:40 AM  
Blogger Editor-In-Brief said...

Very complicated issue : It is strange when Europe spends more than 40% of its budget for subsidies, but on the other hand invests less than 4% for future-oriented research. Of course, when travelling through a French or Italian or Polish or Greek or Austrian province you have to admit that the European Agricultural Policy has a positive impact: great landscape, delicious food! What would all those millions of people do without the EU-subsidies ?
By the way : Nice blog, I just discovered it over balticblog. Seems that the author has a strong interest in globalization, European politics, new political and economical concepts. So let me please suggest my own blog
I would love to have comments and feedback from Finnland. Besides, I just discovered and published an American survey, stating that Finnland and other Scandinavian countries are "World Champion" in creativity. Perhaps someone would like to comment on that ?

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Matti M said...

Subsidies, in general and in agriculture particularly, are a major curse. Their distorted effect in the domestic economies is one thing but their global one is a large contributer to the misery through out the third world.

The rich western industrialized countries fork over billions to their farmers thus artificially pressing prices down on agricultural commodities even to an extent that the poor nations and their farmers can't compete. There is something distorted in this picture where the nations in Africa, for instance, some of which used to export their farm products, are now getting fed by developed nations and, in the worst case scenario, getting their sustenance in the form of food aid. What really bothers me is the fact that this kind of,lack of better words, insanity, could only be widely applied to agricultural endeavours. Being unsustainable, unbelievably waistful, unproductive and down right against all the economic principles which most progressive nations profess, it is a crying shame that subsidies will continue and there is no real end in sight. In this light, may I boldly suggest to the Finnish Government to immediatly introduce a permanent educational programme in the Sibelius Academy for those citizens who suffer of tone deafness, subsidiced by the tax payers, of course.

In protecting interests of the few have we created a monster for the most of us and don't quite know how to get it off our backs?

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Matti M said...

This just in, via BBC World News; The American Government subsidies to the US cotton-farmers exceed the GNP of the all Western African nations, combined. Ouch...and out!

5:45 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Matti, you're pathetic attempt to portray the size of the US subsidy as massive falls apart when we remember that the combined GNP of all the western African countries is so pathetically small. It has no bearing on the argument at all and, coming from a European, points to a feeble attempt to cover up the fact that agri-subsidies in Europe, as a percentage of GNP, are far greater than those in the US.

It's the percentages that count. Not the amounts.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Matti M said...

I might be a pathetic person, at least my wife thinks so but, never the less, I know what I am talking about. Roughly a week ago Americans significantly reduced or totally abolished the sugar subsidies admitting to the insanity of it. Those vultures hanging in the corridors in Washington DC seem to be loosing their grip a little bit lately and there is, in the light of massive corruption that is mainly plaguing the Republicans, some hope of waking up the snoozing majority of the voting population in the USA.

This blog of yours has been dormant for a while now and the reason I made this addition is simply that I saw your comment on Finland for thought. There is no way that I can ever understand some one like you but, never the less, I find you intriguing, just like a car accident or residential fire.

I am looking forward to seeing your neocon rants and raves soon.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Matti M said...

I appologize for mixing up sugar for cotton; however, the statement is true for cotton.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

Have you ever heard of slash and burn method? It was in use in Europe long before the "new" continent was settled.
I really got lost in your point with this..

9:16 AM  
Anonymous schoenerleben said...

I think the Greek were the first to start large scale deforesting in order to build up their huge fleet ;)

11:19 AM  

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