Tragedy in the Heartland: The American Farm Bureau and Climate Change

On March 16, a bomb cyclone slammed the Mid-West, flooding over a million acres of farmland.

“We’re talking about an event here of historic proportions, circumstances that nobody ever recalls ever happening in their lifetime,” said Steve Wellman, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture director and third-generation farmer.

Many farmers are still not able to work their land, and many will not be able to plant their crops this year because the land is too wet or still underwater. It may be years before the situation returns to normal—for some, perhaps never.

Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, most farmers have been hoodwinked by the Farm Bureau and the fossil fuel industry. Inside Climate News published a thorough discussion of this tragedy HERE.

“In this series of articles, InsideClimate News explores how the farm lobby has wielded its influence to undermine climate treaties and regulations. In tandem with fossil fuel allies, it sowed uncertainty and denial about the causes of global warming and the urgency to bring it under control. Embracing taxpayer-funded subsidies to insure farmers against the mounting risks, it has nurtured an unsustainable consolidation of agriculture that discourages climate-friendly farming.”

Inside Climate News is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment.

Climate Change and Human Suffering

The words and concepts we use when discussing the negative effects of climate change―warmer weather, more intense storms, drought, sea-level rise—often mask the deeper reality of what these words entail. Especially when discussing the science—the statistics, numbers, graphs, and charts—we lose track of the deeper experience of what this all means. For, in every case, in every statistic and graph, there lies immense and unprecedented suffering for the human species and all sentient life.

Last night, we watched two news reports. The first was a BBC report about air pollution in Mongolia, the other was a follow-up report on Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Both videos are apocalyptic in scale. And both are harbingers of what is to come.

In his important book, Peace Is Every Step, Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh lists what he calls The 14 Precepts of Inter-Being. Number four speaks most directly to how we should relate to this suffering:

Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, and sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Erbarme dich

Though individual weather events are not the same as climate change, tropical storms are likely to become more deadly as the climate changes. Cyclone Idai is the worst storm ever in the Southern Hemisphere.

Paleoclimate perspectives of 21st-23rd centuries, IPCC projections and tipping points

Andrew Glikson
Earth and paleo-climate scientist
Australian National University

According to NOAA (2018) Arctic surface air temperatures continue to warm at twice the rate relative to the rest of the globe, leading to a loss of 95 percent of its oldest ice over the past three decades. Arctic air temperatures for 2014-18 have exceeded all previous records since 1900 and are driving broad changes within the Arctic as well he sub-Arctic through weakening of the jet stream which separates the Arctic from warmer climate zones. The recent freezing storms in North America represent penetration of cold air masses through a weakening and increasingly undulating jet stream barrier. This weakening also allows warm air masses to move northward, further warming the Arctic and driving further ice melting. The freezing storms in North America are cheering those who refuse to discriminate between the climate and the weather.” Read more . . .

Today’s Tonglen Practice: The Victims of Cyclone Idai

Today’s taking and sending meditation is for the victims of Cyclone Idai. . . . Including humans, animals and the earth itself.

Cyclone Idai, the tropical storm that ravaged Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, has been described as the worst weather-related disaster to hit the southern hemisphere, and the UN says more than 2 million people have been affected. Storm-surge floods of up to six metres have caused widespread devastation. Erbarme dich.