The award-winning journalist Alex Migdal, this guy…
… knows, apparently his Google, and works for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for whom he recently wrote this:
‘Huge amount’ of carbon in soil
Irrigation — the watering of land to prep it for agriculture — might not seem synonymous with climate change. But researchers at UBCO want to know how it affects the storage of carbon and nitrogen in soil.
This is a pure example of White privilege in the Canadian Indigenous context. Think of what he wrote there:
Irrigation [is] the watering of land to prep it for agriculture.
By Alex’s definition, a few things are important:
- Irrigation, water, land and agriculture are separate things.
- Agriculture takes place on prepared land.
- Water is the instrument of preparation.
- No watering takes place during the process of agriculture, ie
- Agriculture is not farming or the production of food, a lengthy process, but the final harvesting of that food right at the point of its distribution in packaging, shipping, retail and manufacturing networks. (I might be wrong in this, but I can’t see what on earth else that sentence means.)
Not to mention this:
Irrigation might not seem synonymous with climate change …
but the way in which it is will be defined by researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, who
want to know how it affects the storage of carbon and nitrogen in soil
… which is a cute game, because it suggests that…
6. Irrigation affects climate change due to its ability to change the rates of carbon sequestration by plants…
…with no mention of food, or that irrigation is synonymous with climate change in a far more profound way than aerial carbon dioxide is, especially in local systems, which includes the farms Alex has his sights on. It used to be that journalism asked hard questions. Here it is repeating an elite (university) position, in a kind of dance of courtiers reminiscent of the Court of Louis XVI. None of the assumptions above are true outside of the boundaries set by privileged class positions in society. But, Alex, who presumably, judging by the respect shown in his interview of a Tsawassen elder below, knows better…
… has nonetheless the privileged authority to define water, agriculture and the social relationships between them and land, as granted to him by his position within an elite cultural institution, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (perhaps as a series of powerful colonial forces within a medical or oil industry metaphor or perhaps just out of ignorance of water, plants, the earth or how any of it fits together, both inside or outside of Canadian colonial contexts). In the end of this display, only the privileged authority remains, and the earth, and her people, loses. More than that, a much-needed discussion about water, culture, ethics and power is off the table, because of the weight of the CBC, and nothing changes that must change. The people who are not of the earth also lose at this point, and the authority of the CBC is diminished.
That is simply not good enough.