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Alarming weather challenges farmers Continued from page 7

We had it, too; on our farm, the sudden wet snowfall crushed our only greenhouse, snapping strong metal ribs into pieces. The engineers who designed our greenhouse did not anticipate the rapid onset of climate change, did not anticipate the many ways farming is being forced to change. My family drove 12 hours to come and help us rebuild. We replaced the greenhouse frame with something twice as strong. We were fortunate to have family support, to be able to afford to replace that infrastructure. Around the world, most people

Local fields are extremely dry due to lack of rain.

are not so lucky. It’s the inequality of climate change; we in the wealthiest parts of the world, who release the most greenhouse gases, are also best able to adapt. The small farmers and peasants who produce most of the world’s food, on the other hand, have the fewest material resources to cope with global warming. And the problem of global warming is not limited to rural areas. Sea level at New York City has already increased by a full foot versus a century ago. Sea level there is expected to increase another foot in the next fifteen years, along with higher storm surges and more intense hurricanes. Too often, climate change is framed as something gradual that our grandchildren will have to worry about. This attitude is not just a simple misconception, but also the result of ongoing PR campaigns. It was recently revealed that the oil and gas industry has known about climate change for nearly 50 years. But—much like the tobacco industry did in the 1970s—they’ve funded groups to deny or cast doubt on the reality of climate change. These well-funded groups have laid siege to climate scientists, inducing many climate scientists to release only conservative models, predicting smaller amounts of climate change to avoid charges of “alarmism.” But we should be alarmed; we are well on course for the future that climate reports a decade ago called

“the worst case scenario.” The problem—as we have seen this year—is not just the increase in degrees, but the increase in extremes. A year that can crush our greenhouse with record snowfall, and then give us record drought six months later. It’s easy to see why

some people prefer the term “climate chaos” over the more mundane “climate change”. In any case, it’s just the beginning. But it’s the time to act. Changes now can still make a difference. It’s certainly good to support sustainable farms and local infra-

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