Farmers Needed In Climate Change Fight

Aug. 12, 2019 Editor, The News-Gazette:

“We need farmers and loggers more than ever ...”

Last week the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report entitled “Climate Change and Land,” addressing the role our current global food system plays in carbon emissions and climate disruption. A not-so-deep dive into the report along with some knowledge of farming systems around the globe informs there is a great deal more nuance to the report than the media soundbites chose to highlight.

I offer these five points in light of the most recent UN report:

1) The evidence is overwhelming that we are on the cusp of dangerous climate disruption for many parts of the planet and its cause is primarily due to the carbon emissions from a wide range of human activities, including food production.

2) The human species has the capacity to change this trajectory and it will be people actively working the land (farmers and loggers) that will be instrumental for reversing the catastrophic rise in carbon emissions.

3) Farmers, and the landlords whose land they steward, must open their minds to different approaches to managing land, animals, and crops. They should also advocate for the policies that will reward them for pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

4) Reversing the trend in carbon emissions will have significant costs for everyone. Rural communities should realize a net gain from this new economy for it is the farm fields and forests under active management that will expedite this process.

5) In our part of the world, we need the folks who have cattle herds and chicken houses and logging trucks. Because while the media and the doomsayers decry their current carbon emissions, it is these folks who, with the right incentives, can capture carbon for profit and, with their livestock, find a way to produce food and fiber and collect carbon at the same time.

TOM STANLEY

Agriculture Extension

Agent, Rockbridge County

The News-Gazette

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