Why Obama should ask a farmer to lead on climate change

The acerbic Timothy Egan of the NYTimes has an interesting idea, re: the politics of climate change:

It’s one thing to persuade hipsters in Portland, Ore., or Brooklyn to grow organic — hey, how cool is an artisan radish — in their rooftop gardens. It’s a much tougher push to get Big Ag, made up mostly of stubborn older men, to change its ways [re: climate, especially since it may be costly].

But imagine if a farmer led the cause against climate change. Franklin Roosevelt chose Hugh Bennett, a son of the North Carolina soil, to rally Americans against the abusive farming practices that led to the Dust Bowl. Big Hugh was blunt, smart and convincing. “Of all the countries in the world, we Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race of people,” he said, without apology.

Egan goes on to highlight Oklahoma rancher Clay Pope, who in a YouTube plea to the president points out that FDR took on the Dust Bowl in his l938 State of the Union address. FDR warned that farmers did not have an inherent right to devastate the future by mismanaging their lands. Pope sees the same lesson today.

"It's not our inherent right to burn up our natural resources while altering the very climate that allows our civilization to thrive," Pope points out.  

So encouraging to hear such good sense from a man of the land.

Speaking of climate change and ag, here's a graph of the risks seen in this state, from "Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in California Agriculture," a report put out last year by Louise Jackson et al of UC Davis. 

Report finds that the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Salinas Valley, the corridor between Merced and Fresno, and the Imperial Valley were at greatest risk in California. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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