This afternoon, after the wet snow stopped and the sun came out, Pam and i planted the garlic we’ll harvest next July. If the time between now and then unfolds as it usually does, that is. We’ve been doing this for years, and we know what to expect. But we also know there are no guarantees, and that climate change is increasing the uncertainty that all gardeners and farmers have to cope with. Even if our garlic and other garden vegetables have a good year next year, food security is going to become a problem for us, sooner or later. Man does not live by garlic alone, and we depend on community food systems for most of the staples of our diet.
The prospect is worse for those who depend on industrial food systems. Large-scale agribusinesses, especially the meat industry, are major contributors to global heating, and it is already coming back to bite them in the form of floods, droughts, storms and heat waves. The situation is going to get worse before it gets better, even if carbon emissions can be cut in half by 2030. In the longer term, i think the only question is whether producers and consumers of food will change their habits drastically, or the whole industry will collapse.
Our local community is fortunate in that we can at least grow some of our own food in our own gardens, and even supplement it with hunting and gathering. Millions of other humans are not so lucky, and before long may be joining the flood of climate refugees. This is part of the reason why a practical response to the climate emergency calls for something like a “Green New Deal.” But I’ll save that subject for another post.