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April 22, 2011 in garden porn, notfood1 comment

this earth day, stand up for science

wheat after an april rain

Holidays aren’t big on this blog. You won’t see me doing a week of Easter recipes, mainly because I can’t be arsed to make dishes beforehand. However, I’d like to put in a word for today’s secular holiday, Earth Day.

Nearly 20 years ago, I took a biology class. It was an introductory course, so we looked at everything from cellular reproduction to continent-wide habitats. One topic that loomed large was climate change. We saw the papers and the data. Even back then, it was undeniable that since the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere has been rising exponentially.

For Earth Day, we split into groups to do a presentation project of our own choosing on the environment. No matter what topic the group chose, climate change affected it in some way — one group looked into rainforest destruction, another into the impact of melting polar ice on arctic flora and fauna. Our group looked at the unique lemurs of Madagascar; one part of that was their changing habitat.

That’s why it saddens and frustrates me to see the willful ignorance and often outright lying on the part of climate change deniers. Even 20 years ago, it was clear that something was going on. Scientists are apolitical by training. They’re simply reporting the numbers they see.

stand up for scientists

hoarfrost in february

I’m here today to stand up for the scientists. They’re what’s primarily in my thoughts this Earth Day. Attacks on science and reason wound my faith in the goodness of humanity — I have difficulty fathoming why anyone would oppose facts, data or logic. I’m Spock-like in that way: failure to comprehend logic is utterly unfathomable to me.

This Earth Day, Stand up for science. Stand up for scientists. Argue about policy and solutions, but accept facts — or disprove them using the scientific method.

spring-fed higgins lake

From National Geographic:

• Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

• The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennia, according to a number of climate studies. And the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.

• The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.

• Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.

• Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana’s Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.

you can do little things

Most of us can’t devote our lives to changing the world, but we can make it a better place to live in. Try doing some of the following this year:

• patronize farmer’s markets
• buy locally when you can
• purchase humanely-raised and slaughtered meats
• put food scraps into a compost pile or straight to the garden
• grow something you can eat — herbs or even cherry tomatoes or peppers can be grown in containers if you have no room (you still need light, though!)
• eat seasonal items

apple tree in april

We don’t have to be perfect, and our little changes probably won’t change the planet. But being mindful of our food and where it comes from can make a household, neighborhood, or city a happier, more environmentally-friendly place.

Be mindful of food, and stand up for the scientists!

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  1. Terry says:

    This post is absolutely fabulous and I’m glad that you took such care in writing it. It’s a message that needs to get out to everyone one. I work in an office full of people who are climate change deniers and it makes me want to scream at times in frustration at some of the things that I hear. Willful ignorance is such a great term to use when describing these folks! I certainly share in your frustration and it was refreshing to read this post this morning.

    Thanks for the great post!!!

    P.s. I cannot wait for the farmer’s markets to open. We plant a fairly large garden in our yard each year and I cannot wait to get started on that this year.

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