There’s a lot to consider in light of a Donald Trump presidency. Though his turns to the far right for reproductive rights and LGBTQ issues shouldn’t surprise me, they still do. But nothing is as surprising to me as his — and others on the right — insistence that climate change isn’t real. How can you deny the facts presented to us through science? It’s like arguing that blue is orange.
Perhaps worse than his own disbelief is the willful denial of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency appointee, Scott Pruitt. A vocal critic of the EPA, his work to protect the environment will likely mean a reversal of much of the work Obama put into curbing climate change. Rather than a defender of the environment, he will likely add to its challenges.
Scientists Weigh in on Trump’s Environmental Policies
Pretending climate change isn’t real is a little like playing peek-a-boo with a toddler — just because you close your eyes doesn’t mean the person in front of you disappears. But that is how this upcoming administration seems to be treating our largest global threat — which, by the way is much more dangerous than immigration.
Scientists are concerned — and that should concern all of us. Bill Nye breaks it down beautifully and without judgement. Unfortunately, the industries that are most affecting the environment are also making a lot of money. When it’s in your best interest to believe that problems disappear when you cover your eyes, you may be too tempted to keep them covered.
Andrew Hoffman, a sustainable development expert at University of Michigan calls himself a hopeful environmentalist. He believes that Trump, like Reagan, will soon face a real backlash over his environmental policies. It makes sense — science isn’t a political issue, and many republicans acknowledge the time to act on climate change is now.
Sustainable Farming as an Answer
As many economists have pointed out, denying the impact of climate change will hurt not only the environment, but the economy as well. What might not be as obvious to this new administration is that environmental protection is a long game — the more we practice environmentally friendly techniques, like conservation and sustainable farming, the better off economically the U.S. will be.
Sustainable farming is the crazy notion that our production of food and animal farming use techniques that protect the environment, animal welfare and people’s health. With sustainable farming, we can produce healthy food that doesn’t hurt future generations or the earth we use to grow crops and sustain animals.
Sustainable farming means:
These farmers grow crops and tend animals without chemicals or pesticides. They avoid practices that damage water, soil and other natural resources. The philosophy of sustainable farming uses science to promote conservation, like ensuring biodiversity for healthier ecosystems and easier maintenance. Crop rotation, pasture-raised livestock and cultivation with conservation in mind all work toward providing food without degrading the earth.
Protect People’s Health
The process of making something to fuel our bodies shouldn’t harm us, but hazardous pesticides do just that. Sustainable farms grow crops that are safe for workers, communities and those who eat the food. Sustainable livestock farmers don’t give their animals non-therapeutic antibiotics — drugs that are administered to plump animals or make them overproduce. They administer drugs carefully, and only as need to help an animal heal or recover.
Sustainable farmers shield communities from pathogens, pollutants and toxins by carefully and responsibly managing livestock waste.
Sustainable farming is, at least in part, about supporting the community. Workers are paid a living wage in an environment that promotes fair working conditions. Such practices bolster the local economy, create jobs and foster strong communities.
Humane Animal Treatment
Sustainable farmers who raise livestock are committed to treating animals with respect, including positive husbandry practices, humane living conditions and a natural diet. Animals raised on sustainable farms have the freedom to behave instinctively. Because of this, they experience less stress and illness.
Traditional Farming has Been Industrialized
Most farms today aren’t run sustainably. When the U.S. began to industrialize in the early 1900s, farming became mechanized. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers were introduced, the implications of which are still being discovered. Food production became similar to the assembly lines in cities.
Instead of regionally producing and sold food, it became mass-produced and shipped across the country — increasing the consumption of fossil fuels. Though it’s possible to ship food with an eye toward conservation, paying attention to food miles is one way to eat food that has less environmental impact.
Investing in Sustainable Farming Today for a Better Tomorrow
Climate change — despite what President-elect Trump says — is real, and its effects will continue to devastate the very earth that gives us sustenance. It’s poised to negatively affect crops and livestock throughout the U.S. and the world.
We can’t change the course of the U.S. food industry all at once, but we can decide to make small changes, that together, begin a shift toward a better world. Deciding to shop in places that engage only in sustainable farming practices is one way to do it. As the Donald would tell you, there’s not much mightier than the dollar. Use those dollars to protect the environment and the economy — here and globally.
Latest posts by Holly Whitman (see all)
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