Opinion: Why farmers can't ignore climate change
File photo / Brett Phibbs Opinion: When it comes to climate change and global warming, some farmers need to drop opinions driven by "historical prejudice and a wilful determination to ignore what's happening around them," retired farmer Geoff Prickett writes. Earlier this month, The Country's Jamie Mackay wrote about the He Waka Eke Noa proposals . The commentary included the opinions of Jim Hopkins, Jane Smith and a response from Rod Carr who Mackay described as the "controversial" chairman of the Climate Change Committee. I wonder if this discussion invites further comment. Yes, anyone who tries to change the baked-in assumptions and political prejudices of too many in the farming community will undoubtedly be "controversial" in those quarters. That's before you get to a raconteur, entertainer and political aspirant who latches on to a theme that serves all three pursuits. Twenty years ago, a previous Labour Government was trying to pursue the Kyoto climate change protocols. As usual, farmers were doing all they could to slow or block the process. A Labour minister [Energy Minister Pete Hodgson] at the time commented that "farmers should fear climate change, not Kyoto". That was then, and this is now. The consequences of global warming and climate change have arrived. Unprecedented climatic events are bringing huge consequences and changes to farming and life around the world, and it has only just begun. A central truth of climate change is that from the original science and its predictions, climate change has been a long time coming. That's because of natural momentum and nature's retained power to resist. Floods, droughts, heatwaves, fires and storms have ramped up to a new degree of frequency and intensity. And one thing is for sure - it's only just begun. We have quite quickly moved from a time when disbelief was an easy option to today, when it looks like an obstinate and dangerous delusion. Hopkins talks of the Dutch and their successful battle against the sea. The Dutch have been fighting their war for hundreds of years through a time of relative climatic stability and predictability. Today's calls to adapt to change are facing exponential change and today's solutions will be threatened and overrun by the unprecedented events and speed of that change. Too much farmer opinion is driven by historical prejudice and a wilful determination to ignore what's happening around them. Not all farmers by any means but certainly the noisy ones. - Geoff Prickett is a retired farmer living on six acres on the Kapiti Coast, after 10 years of farm work, mustering, meat hunting and tractor driving in Australia and 47 years farming in the Wairoa district. Phil Duncan, Finn Ross, Corina Jordan and Matt Holden.