It amazes me, really, how many different views there can be on any one subject. Whether it's religion, the best-tasting tomato variety, or the right way to cook a chicken, disagreement is de rigueur. The urge to find disagreements about things is, I believe, human nature. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that climate change is still controversial, even as each year the global temperature increases and the glaciers melt and the snows of Everest thin and some rivers dry up while others flood.
The first mistake was calling it global warming. Even though, in aggregate, the planet is warming, in general, people like warmth. People don't move to Florida when they retire to hang out with alligators. They go to bask in the warm weather. And while we might be sad to see the glaciers melt, hardly anyone lives up there, anyway; and now they won't have to spend so much to heat their homes, right? Last summer in Pennsylvania, it was cold and rainy all summer long. So not only did it not feel like anything was warming, but it also blighted all of our tomatoes, which totally rankled!
A friend of mine who is a scientist said that a more appropriate term is "global climate chaos." Now, that sounds a bit more frightening, and it's a little more accurate. After all, scientists can model out different scenarios, but the truth is Nature usually seems to have a mind of her own--and will find a way to surprise us.
Of course, changing the name still doesn't mean that everyone will believe that climate change, or climate chaos, is a problem.
Take the American Farm Bureau. They are not only outright disbelievers of the science of climate change, but also are fighting vigilantly to prevent any government action from helping to solve the problem because they think farmers should be protected from being held responsible in any way. And yet, as we now know, chemical agriculture is a huge contributor to this alleged climate chaos situation we find ourselves in. One of my favorite books is Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. In it, whenever the heroine gets stumped on trying to solve the mystery, John Galt, the hero, cryptically states, "Check your premises." In this case, a common premise might be the belief that the American Farm Bureau truly supports farmers. In fact, it's mostly a mouthpiece for the chemical-agriculture industry--which is the biggest financial backer of the Farm Bureau and by far the biggest beneficiary of both stalled change and the continuation of chemical agriculture.
So what's a person to do? Go organic, of course. Whether you believe climate chaos exists or not, you are doing a world of good by not putting toxins into the soil, the water, and your family's mouths. Buying organic foods is critical. Ultimately, farmers will change to organic farming if we insist that they change, and the best way to insist in a capitalist democracy is to keep on buying. Last, but not least, get active! Write letters and send emails to your government officials, including President Obama. Go to the Rodale Institute's demandorganic.org and get involved in creating change and supporting independent organic research.
It starts with each one of us. We may not be able to agree on whether or not climate change exists, or is our biggest problem. We may not be able to stop it even if it is. All we can do is try to make the world a safer, healthier, and better place, one garden and one person at a time.
Oh, and watch my video. In it, I tell my story about why climate change really does matter...and it's not the reason you may think! Share it with your friends! Pass it along.
Happy Earth Day!
For more from Maria Rodale go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.
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