Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Conference on global warming




Last night I attended a conference on global warming. Actually, I had also been invited to have an informational table at the conference. So, I set up a table with my posters, some handouts (a version of the brochures), some flyers, and a sign-up sheet for local people to be notified about classes and get involved in our local community. People signed up!

Wow. It was excited to hear the reaction from people. Most people agreed that this was something that could be done. Reducing our food miles and thus cutting our food emissions is something that most of us can do - by planting our own food, or choosing to shop at the farmer's market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I told people how I have eating within a 100-mile radius, preserved food throughout the summer and am sill eating locally. So many didn't know that it was possible to do this in Minnesota (in the winter). People were enthusiastic about this.

Some of the visitors to my table took materials to share with local groups. I was also invited to present at another conference in April, to get the Victory Gardens involved with the Land Stewardship Project, and to speak with some other groups. Look - one idea can have an impact. One action can make changes. We can all do something to make a healthy change for our environment.

One of the speakers at the conference was a local member of congress. He told us that we are making a difference. When we write to our legislators it does make a difference - they become aware that citizens are demanding change. He told us that global warming is a hot topic in Washington and that as we become active in cutting our emissions and demanding changes be made, that our voices are heard. We need to keep demanding legislation!

It is becoming clear that we can make a difference. We need to use our voices and write letters to the editor, write to legislators, make changes in our own lives. Some of the changes may be uncomfortable, but if we can think about our children and grandchildren and the benefits for them, then the changes can be less painful. I would personally prefer difficult changes now than a world that is difficult to live in in the future.

The problem with the topic of global warming is it is a topic that is "over there." We hear about it and think that it is something that the government has to do something about, or that is something bigger than us. It is big, however we are the individuals who can make a change that will make a difference. Every little change that we make adds up. The climate changes will affect us. Check to see how your local environment could be affected. Let's make a difference.

13 comments:

BurdockBoy said...

I'm glad the conference went well and peop were excited about your idea.

Next week I'm going to an organic/local food conference here in Ashland (there was a big one down in LaCrosse this last weekend). They're going to have workshops and lectures so it should be a good time.

I'd also like to concur on the writin members of Congress. I often write my Senators and Congress members and they often write back. They do care what the constituents think, as long as enouh are speaking out on the topic. Our local government up here is working on it, and a lot of the motivation comes from the community. Keep the ball rolling.

Anonymous said...

I hope more people join in the call to our government for more energy conservation such as greener building codes requiring new buildings leak less heat in the winter and let in less heat in the summer to higher MPG for all vehicles. Currently the ultimate gashog Hummers are exempt from fuel efficiency standards.

We need to cut the millions in subsidies given to dirty energy every year even when the recipients post record profits.

What we don't need is tax dollars wasted on ethonol (corn grown with petrochemicals, then processed in refineries powered by coal) and nuclear (only generates profits when subsidiesed by tax dollars, and then where to store the spent fuel or even low level waste after? Everyone is NIMBY and I don't blame them).

I have written to my Representative and Senators many times. Most recently it was to suggest they take away the subsides wasted on profitable and environment destroying oil companies and the like and instead putting the money into installing solar or wind on every suitable government building. Jimmy Carter did a bit of that back in the 70s and has been made mock of ever since. I don't dare hope it will be listened to now. I have more faith in every day people like those here taking direct action in their own lives. Bringing back the Victory Gardens is brilliant. Environmental groups should be all over it like white on rice since it addresses so many problems facing our precious planet with one action! We reduce pollution since we will buy less food (or not at all) that is from far away. We will grow it without petrochemicals. And we will be contributing to CO2 sequestration when planting perennials especially trees! Why plant a plain tree when we can plant fruit and nut trees that will feed us as well as reduce co2!

SimplyTim said...

Emme: I came across an interview which references agricultural shifts in Cuba after they lost access to Russian oil. Over time there was a dramatic increase in food growing in the cities. Source: http://inthewake.org/quinn1.html

The pertinent part is excerpted here:

"Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, upon whom Cuba had become dependent for its oil imports, Cuban society changed dramatically. Almost overnight Cuba, one of the most rapidly industrializing nations in Latin America, lost 50% of its oil, and the country was on the verge of starvation. Over the subsequent years, Cuba's GDP would drop by 1/3rd. In order to successfully weather the crisis, ideological and economic commitments became subordinate to survival. "Socialism or Death" became "A Better World is Possible," and Cuba became a model and inspiration to sustainability advocates around the world.

Because Cuba was dependent upon external energy inputs for its domestic food production, when Cuba lost their oil the system collapsed and many Cubans went hungry. In order to survive, they went from large scale, oil-intensive, chemical-industrial production, to small scale, local, organic agriculture. Petroleum-based food transportation from countryside to cities became increasingly supplemented with urban gardening. Roberto Perez of the Foundation for Nature and Humanity estimates that today 50-80% of Havana's food comes from inside the city limits.

In most cases, Cubans took the initiative themselves, setting up community gardens in their neighborhoods to provide fresh, healthy, and local foods. At the Organipónico de Alamar, a neighborhood community agriculture project in the city of Havana, a worker's collective runs the farm, market, and restaurant. Hand tools and human labor save petroleum, vermiculture (worm cultivation) creates productive soil, drip irrigation conserves water, and diverse produce creates a bounty of foods to provide the neighborhood.

When there is not enough land for such large projects, neighborhoods plant rooftop gardens, have backyard farms, and even put raised beds on parking lots. An organization called the Foundation for Nature and Humanity (FANJ) started a program on sustainable urban development, which now provides Cubans with tools and training to produce their own food. Permaculture, a design system which emulates natural patterns and maximizes productivity, is being taught throughout Havana. The FANJ facility located in the Cerro province of Havana is a living permaculture laboratory and education center. Integrated into the system are rubber tires as planting beds, gerbils for their meat and manure, and grape vines providing fruit and cool shade."

I believe this relates well with your work and the "food not lawns" project. The major limitation for most of the states in the northern half of the U.S. obviously is that it a lot colder than in Cuba. Nevertheless...

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