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.

Do you want to cut-back or even eliminate single-use disposable packaging?

If you are interested in cutting back or even eliminating single-use disposable packaging, read the following promotional material from a new venture that begins this spring in the United States and France. Though it’s product range is limited, I believe it has the potential for rapid growth and rapid increase in the number of products offered. Here is what they say:

Loop is a circular shopping platform that transforms the packaging of your everyday essentials from single-use disposable to durable, feature-packed designs. Not so long ago, the milkman delivered reusable bottles and later picked them up to be refilled.

“Loop is the milkman re-imagined – honoring our past from a modern perspective. A revolution in design from your favorite brands – your everyday essentials are now available in durable, functional packaging that’s beautiful enough to display. No more hassle from trash and recycling – simply drop your used empties back into the Loop Tote and schedule a free pick-up from your home. Instead of getting a box every month, we’ll automatically replenish the products you send back so that your favorites are available as you need them, in the first subscription model that manages itself.

“Loop hygienically cleans and sanitizes the empty packaging you send back so they are ready for reuse, instead of ending up as waste after a single use. The Loop tote is a breakthrough zero-waste delivery system that eliminates wasteful single use shipping materials (say goodbye to that stack of cardboard boxes and ice packs). Loop is launching in Spring 2019 in the United States and France.”

Thanks to my daughter Michelle for pointing me to this link.

Saying Grace: The Five Contemplations

Though many people no longer ‘say grace’ before meals, it can be a meaningful practice even for those who no longer pray or believe in God. What hinders many people is the superficial speed of their lives and their movement away from the traditions of their youth.

Here is our version of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Five Contemplations. We adapted them to speak most directly to our own lives and situation. They are contemplations, rather than prayers or supplications. As such, we quietly steep ourselves in them, allowing each one to saturate our being. We recite them everyday before breakfast, taking turns reading, and allowing a few moments of silence between each contemplation – a few seconds, two or three breaths.

If we are well-steeped in these five contemplations, they carry us through the day with tenderness and grace, and with a deeper connection to each other and our world.

The Five Contemplations

This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.

May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.

May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.

May we keep our compassion alive by eating in a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.

We accept this food so that we may nurture our bond with all humanity, strengthen our community, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

Deep Adaptation: New Zealand Blue Winter Squash

New Zealand Blue Winter Squash

Inspired by Alistair McIntosh’s post on Extinction Rebellion and Jem Bendell’s discussion of Deep Adaptation, I arose early this morning and prepared a nine pound winter squash for baking. It has been resting in our cellar since October (It is now January 22). Alistair speaks of XR as a ‘joyous call’, and that is what I felt this morning when I began working in the kitchen at about 4:30 a.m.

I love to rise early and work in the kitchen for an hour or two before breakfast. I usually light a candle, burn incense, and listen to Gregorian Chant at fairly low volume, as if the singers were in an adjacent space. One does not have to be Christian to appreciate Gregorian Chant. It is a balm for all. I have three volumes of chant. I also love to listen to Deva Premal’s Moola Mantra , or, on occasion, shakuhachi music.

This squash is baking as I write this. I’ve also put three Japanese sweet potatoes in the oven. We love Japanese sweet potatoes and eat them almost every day for lunch.

This is the day that has been given. Rejoice and be glad in it.

How to eat the diet that will save the world

Melon, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and chard, harvested from our organic garden.
Melon, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and chard, harvested from our organic garden.

Though our diet is completely planted-based, a more modest, and for many people more manageable, global recommendation came out yesterday as reported in the Guardian:

“By 2050, there will be about 10 billion of us, and how to feed us all, healthily and from sustainable food sources, is something that is already being looked at. The Norway-based think-tank Eat and the British journal the Lancet have teamed up to commission an in-depth, worldwide study, which launches at 35 different locations around the world today, into what it would take to solve this problem – and the ambition is huge.

“The commissioners lay out important caveats. Their solution is contingent on global efforts to stabilize population growth, the achievement of the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change and stemming worldwide changes in land use, among other things. But they are clear that it depends on far more than just these basic requirements. The initial report presents a flexible daily diet for all food groups based on the best health science, which also limits the impact of food production on the planet.” Read more…