It is human nature to have something to believe in; something to have faith in. We all need it. Historically, for many people religion has filled that human need.
50 years, maybe even 30 years ago, Sunday was family day. You went to church together and then you caught up with extended family or friends. For those in the city it might have meant a picnic in the country. Or perhaps you donated time to helping with maintenance of the school grounds. People were a part of a community.
A lot has changed in a short time and advances in technology have meant that we can access information where and when we want. We can communicate with others anytime and anywhere. There is Saturday and Sunday shopping. Cities and rural centres have continued to grow, transport has improved; the list goes on.
All this is great, but it has also increased demands on work commitments and schedules. Sunday might still be family and friends day, but it is not community or church day like it was in the past. Despite this, as humans we still need something to believe in, something to feel a part of.
For some people the hole is filled by a footy team, paying a membership, feeling the highs and lows of games won and narrowly lost. For others who are not sports fanatics, their interest might be gardening or perhaps music.
For the likes of ACF and PETA, along with other extremist environmental groups, the human need to feel they are contributing to a higher cause has filled the gap. With modern technology, multimedia, emailing etc it is not hard to send images of wildlife or forest or rivers in need. It is easy to get the latte set with their deep pockets to resource their “cause” which may or not be completely as black and white as they claim.
It is easy for these organisations to use data and “facts” to suit the message they want to portray. And for those not directly impacted, do they thoroughly research their donation or petition signing to a cause which may have dire consequences for those directly involved?
Recently on a river tour I sat and listened to the tour guide tell those on board that irrigators were the cause of river turbidity. There was no mention of the introduced species (carp), which has degraded the river bed making the river muddy and destroying the native vegetation which once harboured native fingerlings. Nor was their mention of the fact that farmers are not permitted to put water back into rivers, or that some town sewerage systems may not be adequate to ensure the quality of the water returning to the river. How many people walk away from those tours now supporting a cause that does not have a factual basis?
Our food and fibre producers are totally out-resourced by a machine that has endless campaign donations, supported by people trying to find their cause, but are too busy to research for themselves to determine if they actually believe in it.
So, to all those who love rural communities, love producing world’s best food and fibre, those who love the jobs that Aussie farmers create, let’s keep believing in our cause. The truth is out there and we must continue to expose it.