All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.
BARACK OBAMA, speech, Apr. 3, 2006
After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study. Whenever farmers clear land for crops and till the soil, large quantities of carbon are released into the air. But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases.
-Michael Pollan, “Farmer in Chief,” New York Times, 12 Oct 08
The models that have been constructed agree that when, as has been predicted, the level of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases doubles from pre-Industrial Revolution concentrations, the global average temperature will increase, and that the increase will be 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius or 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit... In Dallas, for instance, a doubled level of carbon dioxide and other gases like methane, would increase the number of days a year with temperatures above 100 degrees from 19 to 78 each year.
-Bill McKibben from The End of Nature, 1989
Calls of Canadian Geese always bring me to my feet and I gaze out on the sky and landscape in hopes of finding the tiny V formation migrating north or south as the season dictates. Often their honks correspond with the rising or setting sun inspiring me to linger and watch as hillsides become awash by the first or last golden rays of light . . . early morning or nearly night. Migrating birds are heralds of Spring and Fall they bring us news of change though most of us are already anticipating their arrival or departure by the time we chance to hear them. Today there is another type of migration occurring . . . a displacement of peoples due to climate change . . . these migrating populations are heralds of change that cannot be ignored and they must be protected. As the geese fly closer overhead I notice they seem confused as to where they are going. . . the formation breaks up. . . but then perhaps with the aid of their leader . . . they find their way and head south. We too depend on skilled leaders to help us find a way out of the crisis we face today. Each of us can act independently however, as if we were all in a formation moving in unison with a common goal to curb our carbon footprints. So many millions of small changes add up to large change and we cannot afford to wait . . . the cost is far too high. When looking out over the beautiful New England fall landscape I cannot bear to imagine what it would look like without those trees that make our Autumn so unique. With rising temperatures trees too will be displaced . . . rituals will be lost such as our spring Maple Syrup Season for there is great concern for our beloved Rock Maples. So on this Blog Action Day for Climate Change I join thousands of others in acknowledging our plight but with hope for all those garden bloggers and others who will help make a difference. We are the stewards of our Earth . . . for all those now living and for those of the future . . . we must act in earnest.