Looking At Climate Change Like A Farmer

This is the link to a post of the same name as my title above from Gene Logsdon (for some unknown reason I can’t seem to do a straight reblog of WordPress posts anymore).

Gene is a semi-retired farmer who scatters pearls of wisdom throughout his blog, The Contrary Farmer. I really like the way he views climate change from a farmer’s perspective in his latest post. Have a read and maybe re-think your own attitudes. I’m re-thinking mine.

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3 Responses to “Looking At Climate Change Like A Farmer”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    I have read what Mr Logsdon has to say and it appears to me that he has a limited, shortsighted and ill-informed picture of what climate change is all about. The fact that he concentrates on talking about weather should be enough warning to not take him seriously, on this particular subject at least.

    I could pick him up on a few points but I will just quote two.

    He says, “Traditional agriculture has learned how to cope with bad weather, not by standing around wringing its hands over possible tragedy a couple thousand years from now, but developing overides to survive it.”

    Firstly, traditional agriculture has not learned how to cope even with just bad weather, let alone the climate change that we have experienced so far. Any coping that they have done mainly consists of surviving on frequent government subsidies, leaving the land and getting out of farming, or the more drastic action of taking their own lives. Is that positive coping?

    Secondly, we are not talking about “possible tragedy a couple thousand years from now”. If we were, then what he says might be acceptable, but we are currently undergoing the first gentle ripples of a coming tsunami of climate disruptive events, the like of which no living human, past or present, has ever witnessed. Wait to see how farmers cope with that.

    The second thing I want to raise is his idea that “If California is inundated by melting glaciers, it will surely have a positive agricultural effect on the western deserts.​” He obviously hasn’t thought that one through very much.

    Now, I admit that I don’t know too much about California’s western desert other than that it is more or less a coastal plain backed by very high mountain ranges, and even that may not be a complete picture. If it is, then it would be very similar to the topography of the rather more densely populated Asian region lying in the shelter and enjoying the beneficence of water flowing from the Himalayan Mountain range glaciers. I wonder if he has heard of the prognostication for that area in the not too distant future. There are any number of references to this available. Here is one: http://www.navdanya.org/climate-change/in-the-himalayas Basically, the first problem with melting glaciers is flooding from melt-water overwhelming the local waterways. Such flooding could very well wash away any remaining Californian top-soil, even if there is any worthwhile material left there after years of drought. But the most damaging aspect of glacier melt is that it is a one-off event. When the water has gone, it is gone forever, or until the next ice-age at least. But all the farmers would be long gone by then also.

    OK, not to be too hard on Mr Logsdon, he does have some good points to make.

    “And if you think the problem is solvable, take a closer look.”, he says, obviously knowing that it is not solvable. Not in the era of Man, anyway. Good point. Then why so optimistic about coping?

    Haystacks are good too, but they tend to burn in wildfires (bushfires) and it is very hard to even build haystacks if there is no grass due to drought or floods or poor soil. And even if times are good, it is never going to be easy if the only tools at your disposal are scythes, pitchforks and horse-drawn wagons.

    Now, if farmers have no idea of what is what with climate change, how can we expect anybody else to know? Especially politicians.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I agree with everything you say, in fact I made a bet with myself that, “Bernie will have something to say about this”, and you didn’t let me down. LOL!

      It’s obvious he has no inkling of the real effects climate change is going to cause, but like everyone else, he’s thinking short term and so was I when I said I was re-thinking my attitudes. What will happen at first is that people will start to change the way they do things, in order to try and adapt. I’m doing it myself in the way I grow my food. I know we’re never going to stop burning fossil fuels; I know all the climate talkfests in the world will achieve nothing. I know that eventually all the adapting in the world won’t be any good; the problems are too enormous for the average person to comprehend and that there’s a very strong possibility that we and many other species will go extinct. That’s life. I’m thinking short term and trying to adapt as best as I can because I have the luxury of knowing I’ll be pushing up daisies before it gets too bad. I sure wouldn’t want to be any younger than I am!

      We just need to recognise that we’ve made a hell of a botch up of life since we started using fossil fuels and that the best part is over and the hard part is just beginning.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris Says:

    I was hopeful when first reading this article, but then it started to flip-flop towards the end. He wanted farmers to be proactive about change, then says we have to lie down as the bull charges? After further reading again, I realised, this sentence is what he was saying all along…

    “If some areas are opening up opportunities for increasing food production, start thinking about how to make friends with the mammon of climate change iniquity.”

    Mammon, has been worshipped as a deity in the past, but it can also mean the greedy pursuit of gain. Its not surprising then, the author mentions, he’s friends with a fast-food tycoon. Now that’s what I call making friends with the mammon of climate change iniquity.

    He mentioned the forces behind climate change, as some kind of distant, urban responsibility – where highrises and big houses get built, and planes, fly people all over the globe. Not a mention of the responsibility being at the farmers gate too. He danced around climate change as a mystical force which couldn’t be understood, but how we can all make friends with the mammon of climate change iniquity anyway.

    I almost wanted to praise his bravery for broaching the subject, as most conventional farmers believe its a load of baloney. But he didn’t really do anything with the subject except use barge poles to comprehend it. Over there has the problem. Over here, lets just do more of the same and make do as we’ve always had to. As if making do with machinery replacing people power, is the same farming tradition he believes has adapted in the past.

    Farmers of the past were heavily invested in their community, and wouldn’t let outside forces determine what was right for “their” family/community enterprise. Making friends with a business tycoon on the other hand, is only a short term reprieve from the reality of climate change, because tycoons easily move to different communities to milk, once the well goes dry where they are.

    Poor guy, doesn’t realise the friendship with mammon is a one way street. Once he’s of no further use, the bones of his land will be thrown with the rest, to burn at a later date.

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