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Archive for August, 2012

When we left for a vacation at the end of July, I had hopes–fervent but which I kept to myself–that when we returned the drought would be over. It’s the gardener’s version of magical thinking, I guess. Just turn away for a bit and stop thinking about it and the rain elves will come and fix everything while you’re gone.

But alas, things were just as crispy when we returned as when we left.

Crackly grass, shifting foundations, economic worries, global warming, the Mayan calendar.You can see where my mind was headed only a few days after our return. So I was happy when we turned on Real Time with Bill Maher last night and found someone with a little optimism about the climate.

It was Peter Bryck, whose 2010 documentary Carbon Nation looks at positive things people can do that will reduce our carbon footprint without asking everyone to “believe” in global warming.

I have not seen the movie. Somehow it slipped past us with all the other documentaries out there about the climate, electric cars, etc. It gets mixed reviews. But I still might rent it because it seems like it would provide some hope that we can reverse some of the awful climate trends we’re seeing.

We all could use a little hope right now. I especially¬† like that Bryck is on the same page with Mike and me about the incentives for making life changes that are more conservative (in the conservation sense). Make no mistake, we have some strong opinions about the existence of global warming. But Bryck was right when he told Maher that if we wait till everyone agrees on global climate changes, we’re all doomed.¬† There’s just too much politics involved now.

The better approach is to forget about ideology and talk instead about how saving energy can affect your own pocketbook. That is the kind of incentive that moves people.

We didn’t start our garden because we wanted to save the earth. Our primary consideration was wholesome food at a huge savings. The earth was on our list, but it ranked lower.

It is possible to make big changes. In fact, there’s even precedent for it.

Back in the 1930s, after drought and dust storms blew away tons of topsoil, farmers were convinced to adopt new techniques that kept more soil on the ground and out of the air. I haven’t seen a lot written about it, but I’m willing to be there was resistance to these new techniques. College-boy county agents telling seasoned farmers what to do? Yeah, it probably didn’t play well. (For a good comparison to Dust Bowl years, check out this Weather Channel story.)

Somehow, though, those drifts of black dirt got people’s attention. Just like the worst economic downturn of our lifetimes and a drought that covers two-thirds of the US is getting our attention now.

So maybe there’s reason to hope.

Posted by: Roxie

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