Weather Forecast


Do we have the right to wreck Earth?

To the editor:

Your recent article “Farmers face unpredictable and volatile future,” (Echo Press 11/27/13, Page 8) quoted University of Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley’s report to farmers that they will see increased wind and water-borne “soil erosion, more floods, higher insurance risks and the need to change how they handle irrigation and other water programs.” Seeley said farmers will have to change from business as usual to coping with climate change as we get hotter and wetter, but also have more prolonged drought. Like the seven plagues visited on the ancient Egyptians, you can add vector-borne diseases and crop damage from invading pests.

Three years ago in these same pages, Dr. John Abraham predicted a hotter and wetter future for the Alexandria area. He might as well have said all of Minnesota will face warmer winters, longer summers and weather volatility unseen heretofore.

What no one has said is that farmers themselves are part of the cause for the climate change they now have to face. Bullied by the seed companies and encouraged by federal farm policy, industrial farmers will have a tough time changing from mono-crops, deep tilling, copious pesticide and fertilizer application and the profligate use of water. In some areas of the country we are already seeing rising conflict between cities and farmers over water.

Yet, those who practice farming with methods called sustainability are not eligible for the farm insurance program, which favors big farmers producing cotton, sugar, corn, soybeans and rice. Surely job one is creation of a farm policy that effectively protects our food security.

Enlightened religious leaders remind us that we are dangerously misguided if we think we can divorce ourselves from nature, enjoy its benefits and not care for it as we care for ourselves, because, indeed, we are inextricably part of nature and we wreck it at our peril.

Jeanne Johnson

Alexandria, MN