Year 3, Month 8, Day 14: The Horns Of A Dilemma

The Coshocton Tribune (Arkansas) runs a column by Gene Lyons, noting that while humans may still be pretty clueless, cows have it all figured out:

Of all the ways nature has to kill you, drought might be the cruelest. The desiccation proceeds day after punishing day. The afternoon sun pounds the earth like a brazen hammer. As I write, the temperature here in Perry County, Ark., has reached 108 degrees.

The countryside is dying. There’s nothing green in my pastures except inedible weeds. Even pigweed is drooping. Our pond dried up six weeks ago. The ground beneath is bare and cracked. Up on the ridge, some hardwoods are shedding leaves and going dormant; oaks are simply dying.

When I’d turned my cows into their new pasture last year, they kicked up their heels and frolicked like calves. So much fresh grass! Last week, they tore down a low-hanging limb from the persimmon tree they rest under most afternoons. They herded in and stripped the leathery leaves within an hour, the first green thing they’d eaten in weeks.

Lucky cows. Mine is basically a hobby farm, so I can afford to keep my small herd intact. Because spring came a month early, I had enough hay left over to see them through the summer. Neighbors who operate close to the margin have hauled thousands of cows to the sale barn — animals they’d planned on breeding. Pastures stand barren and empty throughout the region.

I don’t know about Buddha nature, but they’re smart enough to come in out of the drought. Sent August 3:

When the vast majority of people are totally disconnected from the food they eat, it’s unsurprising that many still can’t find a reason for concern about global climate change. After all, milk and corn both come from the supermarket, right? Eventually, of course, the reality will start hitting home; once our grocery bills go up to reflect the destructive droughts and heatwaves that have devastated American agriculture, we’ll have no choice but to acknowledge that the consequences of a century’s consumption of fossil fuels may well include an end to the abundance we have long taken for granted.

Or will we? We shouldn’t underestimate the strength of denial. The corporations whose profits hinge on our continued use of fossil fuels are working hard with a complaisant news media to ensure that Americans and their elected representatives never learn what a herd of cows already know: climate change is real.

Warren Senders

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