Oregon is the site of a conflict between food and energy, though it is a state that claims it loves both - but the people who love each primarily do so because it makes them money. You really can't love both anyway, because environmental activists are in a never-ending war against the bulk of society and its bad habits, and also in a war with each other. They not only love Gaia more than you do, they love Gaia more than other environmentalists.
Willamette Valley, which surrounds the Willamette River just east of the Coast Range and extends from south of Eugene to north of Salem, is a nice area to grow lots of crops, including those vegetables known as brassicas, like cabbage and cauliflower and other foods I won't touch. Organic stuff, of course, because it's Oregon, which is culturally like California, just with fewer people.
Like California, the conversation about right and wrong is dominated by social authoritarians. They love to ban stuff. California, which used to be the home of freedom and independence, leads America in banning things now but Oregon is not far behind. One thing they ban is a particular brassica, canola.
Yet green energy proponents would like for canola not to be banned. In watching that discussion you get to witness the dirty underbelly of both kooky anti-science activism and organic food. Organic cabbage growers say canola brings pests and that it will cross-pollinate with their absolutely pure plants that have apparently been untouched by outside forces for millenia. They invoke, of course, genetic modification as the creepy monster hiding under the organic bed. "This is an existential threat," farmer Frank Morton, told the Jonathan Cooper of the Associated Press. "If canola comes here, it's the beginning of the end of this industry."
Ummm, why again? Right now, wheat farmers have to burn their fields to interrupt pest and disease cycles. Doesn't that cause global warming? Sure it does and therefore burning is...wait for it, wait for it...banned. Planting canola as an alternate crop would accomplish the same result - naturally - and also provide more green energy.
Bureaucrats in Oregon agree, since the only other solution to curbing pests is evil pesticides but wealthy organic farmers, who, like rich progressives on the coast that see a proposal for windmills in the water and get a case of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard), are against canola. Green energy is great but it should be where poor people are, not where it works best, because it might interfere with yachting and the view.
Organic cabbage growers have one more argument they invoke as often as possible - every other farmer is dumb. Basically, they believe wheat and rapeseed growers who also want canola are too stupid to control the stuff they produce. Why isn't the entire area overrun with wild organic cabbage if these seeds spread so easily and take over entire regions? Are organic plants just not robust enough to spread like wildfire the way activists think GMO canola will?
That sounds like evolution at work.
- New And Improved Crop Protection: Oxitec Self-Limiting, Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moth For Brassica
- Aromatherapy Against Pests: Essential Oils Work To Protect Broccoli, If The Oil Is Garlic
- The Genomic Love Triangle Of Canola
- FrankenCabbage-Scorpion Chimera: Science Terrifies Anti-Science Hippies By Being Awesome Again
- A Genetic Solution To Canola Crop Losses