The Climate Crisis Threatens Food the Most

Above are pictures of cabbage, kale, and squash.  All of them came out of a tiny seed.  Such a miracle.  Something we don’t usually stop to think about.  They all take water, sun, and soil to grow.  They look so innocent.  We take this whole process for granted.  But, we really need to rethink food. This food keeps us alive.

A little over a week and half ago, it finally rained in our area of Southwest Wisconsin after three weeks of no rain.  We all breathed a sigh of relief because those vegetables, along with the others in my garden, were struggling, because with a hand pump, I couldn’t give them the water they really needed.  The farmers in the area were also crying for rain.

Some areas of the country and world are already in the thick of the climate crisis.  They are experiencing droughts, flooding, forest fires, hurricanes, and heat waves.  Portland reached 116 this week.  Until now, the Midwest has not experienced the devastation that the coastal areas of the US have because of the climate crisis.  We have been lucky so far.  But, it was a little too close for comfort this June.  My neighbor across the street from me raises cattle.  He said he almost lost $100k if we didn’t get that rain.

Extinction Rebellion put out a video recently.  It was called “Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation.”  Roger Hallam, who did the video, talks about the warming of the North and South poles and how that will have an effect on how it will slow the weather down.  If the weather slows, then that three weeks of no rain will turn into 5 weeks, then 7 weeks, and then 12 weeks. 

Some day when you go into the grocery store and there is no food, you will know why.

Yes, the weather is always changing, and we all laugh about it.  Well, maybe it doesn’t change so much in dry areas in states like Arizona where the sun is out almost 365 days a year.  Here in the Midwest where a lot of food is grown, we don’t realize how the changing weather is crucial.  A constant thunderstorm each week waters the crops and our gardens that we have labored over and cherish. 

It is food.  Food is the thing most threatened by the climate crisis.

Let’s talk a little about the state of the CO2 in the atmosphere, which has a direct effect on the climate crisis.  CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels, and most all of our energy needs come from burning those fossil fuels right now.  According to CO2.Earth, on June 27, 2021, there was 418.29 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.  Only a year ago on June 27, 2020, there was 416.22 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.  That is an increase of 2.07 ppm.  According to scientists, 350 ppm is considered safe, and 450 ppm is considered unsafe.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we have 9 more years to drastically address the climate crisis.  If each year we are increasing the CO2 by 2 points, we will be very close to that 450 ppm in 9 years.

The increasing level of CO2 in the atmosphere is not slowing down.  We are basically doing nothing to address that.  Scientists say we have to stop using fossil fuels now.  In my mind, that means everything stops.  It is like the shutdown when covid hit last March.  That was our dry run for the shutdown we need to address the climate crisis.

But, not one talks about shutting things down . . . or degrowth . . . or a different economy.  The only thing I hear is we need to move to renewable energy, electric cars, regenerative agriculture, and jobs for everyone.

According to FinanceOnline, right now in 2021 the US has 289 million cars.  If we manufacture another 289 electric cars to replace those vehicles, that will mean extracting all the metal, oil for plastic, and other resources for the batteries.  It sounds like a good idea to reduce CO2 . . . but does it really?  Maybe in the long run.  But how many more holes can we dig into Mother Earth for those resources?

And, we can slap those solar panels up for electricity but there will be more extreme extraction for the resources for those panels and batteries.  Yes, in many ways it is better than extracting and burning coal, natural gas, and oil but we must ask where we are going with renewable energy. Let’s have some foresight here. Let’s have a little reduction in consumption, too!

Besides the homes where we live and our cars, let’s look at all the other buildings our lifestyle supports.  That is basically in the US. Other industrialized countries don’t consume as much as the US but it is still a concern. There are 100s of thousands of buildings that manufacture products we don’t actually need.  Those buildings burn fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and air conditioning.

If you go into the grocery store, you can see all the food we can do without.  We could eliminate the cereal, candy, cookie, snack, pop, and frozen food aisles to start with. 

We need to create a new way to live instead of manufacturing products that extract resources from the earth that eliminate biodiversity, fill the air with pollution, and get thrown away in a nanosecond.  It all contributes immensely to the climate crisis and threatens the food that we desperately need.  All the money in the world means nothing if we can’t grow food.

XR Video by Roger Hallam

CO2 in the Atmosphere

Number of Cars in the US

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