Year 3, Month 10, Day 8: It’s The Pits

The San Joaquin Record Net (CA) reports on local agriculture and the regional preponderance of denialism:

Today: cherries and the Valley mind.

In the past few days, the media reported that climate change threatens Valley crops. What is interesting about this is most Valley farmers don’t believe in climate change.

Farmers are realists; but most Valley farmers reject (what I believe to be) global warming reality. Something in the Valley’s conservative mindset impels them to.

“The climate does change,” said cherry grower Bruce Fry. “It’s not, in my opinion, because of humans. Look what volcanoes can do.”

Fry does not believe greenhouse gases are causing the greenhouse effect. Rather, he believes the Earth’s vast weather cycles bring changes naturally.

It doesn’t change his mind that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has warned Valley farmers to prepare for climate change by finding warmer-weather crops.

“The problem is I don’t trust Uncle Sam,” Fry said.

Government alienates Valley farmers mainly with its regulations. Farmers resent regulations as intrusive, ill-conceived and bad for business – which sometimes they are.

“These guys up at their offices in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., need to get out of their offices and see what is reality, not according to their spreadsheet and the book,” Fry said.

Nor does it persuade him that the overwhelming majority of scientists agree the Earth is warming.

The state Department of Water Resources, for example, said spring runoff has declined 10 percent over the past 100 years; double that in recent years.

A recent University of California, Davis, study found Valley “chilling hours” – cold temperatures required by many crops (including cherries) – have declined up to 30 percent.

“Usually there’s two sides to the scientific data, too,” Fry said. “Just like in statistics, you can manipulate that one way or the other.”

Cherries and the Valley mind. Sheesh. Sent September 30:

Of all the assaults on reason perpetrated by conservative politicians and their collaborators in the media, their relentless campaign of disinformation on the issue of global climate change is certainly the most damaging. While their ideologically driven policies on practically every issue may cause huge amounts of harm (whether it’s more people lost to gun violence, more people living in poverty, or more unnecessary wars), but there is always the hope that given enough time, our species can find solutions and resolutions. Given another millennium, who can believe humanity won’t figure out a better way?

But when it comes to global warming, the Right’s misrepresentations and anti-science rhetoric may have ensured that we won’t have the time we need. We’ve known about the greenhouse effect for more than 150 years; scientists have been urging American presidents to act on limiting CO2 emissions for half a century — and conservative media and politicians have been blocking meaningful action for just as long. But the kicker lies in the fact of “tipping points.” Climatologists predict that when certain temperature thresholds are exceeded, planetary climate systems will trigger rapidly escalating feedback loops of civilization-ending power — and we’re currently exceeding those thresholds, right now.

This year’s cherry crop may be a good one, but unless all of us recognize the threat and act rapidly and decisively on a global level, the long-term forecast is for a bitter harvest indeed.

Warren Senders

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