What’s your story? I bet you have one — a story you tell yourself. About your role in the world. Why you exist, and why your actions matter. Most likely you are the hero in that story.
Farmers have this story too. It goes something like this: we feed you. We produce food, and without food, there is nothing, so we farmers are the backbone of society. And we should be treated with respect.
In The Netherlands, in the past week, we have been hearing this story in one form or another, multiple times. Because every single day, farmers are all over the news here. Our government has decided that emissions from farms have to be cut back drastically, which will likely force farmers to reduce their lifestock, or shut down their farm altogether. And so farmers are blocking highways with their tractors and visiting our government officials’ homes in droves, to ‘express their displeasure’.
They always thought they were the heroes, and now they feel like villains. Were they really always the heroes? Yes, food comes from farms, so farmers do feed the world, it’s true. But that’s not the whole story. They don’t just produce food, they also produce massive amounts of nitrogen oxide, methane and ammonia — emissions that by now we all know are bad for the environment and the climate. That’s reality.
So just because a story is true, doesn’t mean it’s real. The stories we tell ourselves are just that — stories.