Greening our blind spot
Dear Editor:We are now gathering to find solutions to global warming, fossil energy scarcity, and other converging trends that will greatly affect our lives in the coming years. I applaud all that are working on these crucial issues. This gives me hope, as these are real and urgent concerns for us. The development of sustainable systems is where we need to be putting our money, human resources and remaining fossil energy.But there is a great void in much of the conversation and in the plans being laid by most groups looking at these issues from the federal, state to the local levels. We are overlooking the impacts and the possible solutions related to FOOD, food for people. We seem to be far more interested in preserving our individual “right” to personal locomotion than having enough good food to eat. We are putting great effort into safeguarding our ability to tool around in our own vehicles and in moving things around the globe and back again for our personal amusement and spoiled palettes than we are with feeding our families the freshest, safest and most nutritious food with the lowest carbon footprint.Roughly one fifth or between 17 and 20 percent of our nation’s energy use is burned to produce and distribute our food. Another way to put it is that the average farm to table distance of our dinner tonight is 1,200 miles. These are signs that something is terribly wrong. Given the amount of attention we are committing to retrofitting our transportation system, how can we continue to miss the significant relief to the system, savings in energy, reductions in infrastructure and the related CO2 emissions that local food production brings to our dire situation? Our very sustenance has become the forgotten stepchild of post-petroleum preparedness.A BIG part of the solution is to relocalize our food supply chain; shifting our precious remaining resources to the reestablishment of small farms surrounding our communities, building a network of millions of local food producers across our country. Without this reduction of distance between farm to fork, we will keel over from starvation en route to our next appointment while bragging, on our “Cradle to Cradle” designed cell phones, that we are getting 80 miles to the gallon.In other words, if we don’t develop local sustainable agricultural systems, and soon, there will be no need to green anything else. We will go hungry long before our bellies can figure out how to digest the latest eco-friendly shoes, plug-in hybrid cars or “sustainably produced” bicycle racks.Brook Le VanExecutive directorSustainable SettingsCarbondale
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