To the Editor:
Our area is fortunate to have a few farmers' markets. Local farmers are making fresher, more nourishing produce available to a growing number of consumers. Many of the vendors run 100% organic operations, which means they not only make us healthier individuals, but also make our area and our planet healthier.
Luckily for us there is a program Buy Fresh, Buy Local Cape Cod boasting 65 partners, whose goal is to educate us all about the benefits of supporting our farmers markets. They aren't just selling vegetables, but locally caught really fresh fish and shellfish, and home baked goods and jellies are also available. A new coordinator, Jesse Gunnard is steering the organization.
Increasing numbers of us have vegetable gardens. If we compost, mulch, fertilize with organics, we are going to have the benefits of healthier diets and also get plenty of exercise. We consider our 120' x 20' vegetable garden to be our free gym. Gardening is one factor in how my wife and I (both 87-years-old) stay in pretty good shape.
The food industry, including transportation and chemical fertilizer, is responsible for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions, including 18% for meat production alone.
Paul Krugman, economics columnist for the NY Times links droughts, floods, and food price surges to greenhouse gas emissions. World food prices have hit records in 2 of the last 3 years. Because climate change warnings don't seem to make us change our ways we will see food prices drive political and economic changes we may well abhor.
When one brutal heat wave and drought decimated crops in our Midwest breadbasket, American agriculture took a $40 billion loss. That year the Mississippi River got so shallow the barges carrying the surviving crops couldn't get them to market.
China and Russia traditionally export a lot of wheat, corn, and rice. Both have had huge food producing areas wiped out by climate change. If they go from near self-sufficiency in food production to become big importers of food, it would drive up prices worldwide. (That includes us!) We have to be concerned that for millions of people it's not a price problem --- it's starvation.
For more detailed information "HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth" by Mark Hertsgaard, just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a fascinating, easy-to-read guidebook to the future. It's alarming, but he proposes solutions. We'll get what we deserve. We choose.
Richard C. Bartlett