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.