Displayed on New York City’s 14th Street building during Climate Week 2020, the Climate Clock ticked toward a global deadline.
The Climate Clock is based on calculations by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin. It reflects our two-thirds chance of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, a goal set by the international Paris Climate Agreement. If we don’t meet the mark, scientists and climate experts expect life on earth will become much more perilous.
Climate change isn’t just a concept— it’s a harsh reality for the agricultural way of life. Increasingly intense wildfires, droughts and rainy seasons have the potential to spell disaster for many farms in the U.S. and around the globe. Farmers have a lot to lose, and so do the rest of us.
Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University, illustrated the anticipated impact of increasing global temperatures on Ohio’s climate.
“We are seeing a shift in our climate to more southern states' current climates... The key changes include warming temperatures — particularly during winter and at night in all seasons, increasing precipitation — especially in our fall, winter, and spring, with flat to negative trends in our summer precipitation. Precipitation intensity and the frequency of heavier precipitation events are also increasing.”
Higher temperatures will impact pests, diseases, pollinators, farm workers, livestock and plants themselves. In turn, this affects not just the produce purchased at your local grocery store but any products made with corn or soybeans. Literally everyone on earth needs farmers to feed and fuel our lives.
Farmers are one of the most trusted groups of people in the United States. More than scientists and government experts, the American Farm Bureau found that 88% of Americans trust farmers. This is all the more reason to not just be aware of the issue — but to speak up. President-elect Joe Biden had the right idea when he tapped a Michigan cherry farmer to highlight the importance of taking action against climate change.
Farming is already hard, but climate change will make it that much harder. We need farmers to start talking about climate change and help us demand improvements at the corporate level to protect our planet — and farmers’ way of life.
Climate change isn’t a political issue — it’s a matter of life and death.