Nonetheless I've been a closet believer in anthropogenic climate change for a while. Following a January Series lecture by Paul Douglas, I've decided its time to come out.
Nature is a largely systems of negative feedback loops or controls which limit excesses. Too many aphids? There is a corresponding predator population explosion which eats the aphids till their numbers settle back.
So many of our human activities have been absorbed by nature, like punching a huge waterbed. Sometimes though, we can go past a tipping point and do real damage, maybe even initiate a positive feedback loop.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is high, higher than its ever been if your a young earth type. If not, then its higher than its been for a long time (the last time was caused by tons of volcanoes)
This triggered some positive and negative feedback loops including more plant and ocean uptake of CO2 and, on the positive side, huge Arctic ice melts, which result in exposed (darker) ground which then uptakes more heat and causes further melt.
What are the consequences? well, for one we're having heavier rains and longer droughts as the Jet Stream slows...That means farmers like me need better ways to store water, such as the famous Keyline Dams of Australia.
9 more days in Michigan growing season means we're on the brink of being moved into a different climate zone (5b to 6). So we can grow warmer plants than we used to. And this increased warmth is bringing invasive pests (Ash borer and Asian Longhorn Beetle) further west and north.
So what do we do? the most popular answer is drive a Prius. But I'd like to make a case for growing food sustainably and buying local.
The dollar cost of something doesn't represent its environmental cost. Buy local and more of your dollar goes to local business instead of to outsourced environmental destruction i.e. less fuel for transportation and more money for me.
But even while the rest of my green friends are practicing greenhouse reduction; we in natural pasture based farming are actually doing remediation. As we build (literally build) topsoil with humus, we put carbon into the ground for the long-term.
As trees and grasses grow, they grow about as much underground as above-ground. But as the grass is grazed and the leaves fall in the autumn, the plants slough off roots, made mostly of airborne carbon. The leaves, dead grass and manure also absorb into the ground from the top, trapping carbon into humic and fulvic acids which are very stable.
The man speaking on climate change made an important comment on the broader topic. "I don't believe in a silver bullet....but I do believe in silver buckshot!"
Be part of the solution - buy local from farmers who care, and load up that buckshot.