Week 18: Farmers For Climate Action
“Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do” -Wendell Berry
I read the other day that koala bears are in danger of becoming extinct due to global warming and habitat loss. Now, I've never seen a koala in the wild, but this really shook me to the core because I—and I'm sure many of you-- want to raise children in a world where koalas exist. I never imagined I would raise my children in a world where the Amazon, the honest lungs of the world, can be burning due to cheap beef production, and people ignore it. I never imagined that by 2040 the Arctic may have no ice and I'll have to tell my grandkids about a mystic creature called the polar bear. I never imagined a plastic island the size of Texas can be floating in the ocean, suffocating sea life, and people still feel like they need a plastic straw. I never believed people could ignore science and scoff in the face of evidence that our planet is truly in trouble. Climate change is real and as a farmer and a Momma, I am scared.
As farmers, we are in a unique position to feel the effects of climate change acutely and daily. It rained 300% more than average last year and for many it may feel like a lot of rainy days, but for us it means lost crops, muddy fields, out of control weeds and soggy pastures. We have had a 30 day drought this fall and for many, it feels like a string of sunny days, but for us it means out of control pests, constant irrigation and bitter lettuce. Storms are more extreme and frequent, dry spells are longer, and the heat is more intense. If you have ever doubted climate change, just ask a farmer. This has all happened in my lifetime.
On our little sustainable farm we worry about what all this means for our livelihood and our future as it is simply becoming harder to farm. I understand more than ever why people spray pesticides and herbicides when I have to watch crops be destroyed by armyworms due to the drought, or lose carrots to weeds because it is simply too wet to get in the fields. I have to remind myself that our style of farming does have an impact on climate change-- we are able to reduce our carbon footprint in many ways-- from reducing tillage, to grazing animals, to using cover crops- practices that sequester atmospheric carbon into soil organic matter. Our little farm allows all of us to reduce our food waste, our packaging waste and our emissions by supporting truly local food. While these seem like small things in the face of an overwhelming problem, we have the power to encourage others to do the same, too. And then they can encourage others and on and on...
It sometimes keeps me awake at night thinking about the world my children will inherit. We all often say we would do anything for our children and it is time for all of us to truly live this principle. Bring a reusable bag. Buy in bulk. Support your local organic farmer. Stop buying stuff. Fix things. Write your Congress. VOTE. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has just been introduced in the House with bipartisan support. This bill, while maybe just one small step, is at least a step in the right direction and will force more conversations about how to enact climate action. This Bill includes a Carbon Fee that will create a market-driven demand for cleaner energy and force us all to think about our actions and consumptions habits. Consider voicing your support. Tell Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton we support this Bill. This week we will have postcards at CSA pickup to make it easier to do just that. Let's make sure our children can see koala bears.
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