Climate Change

In Heated. More on Medium.

With zero incentive for change, big agriculture will always get bailouts

Racism, environmental decline, animal welfare, and human health are tied in a Gordian Knot around the issue of food. Common sense would suggest untying it be left to people with demonstrated expertise in its varying facets:


The romance of neoliberal peasant farming blinds us to our collective power

Photo: Texas Co-Op Power

Let’s get this out of the way, first:

  • I am a small farmer, operating on 40-ish acres in Virginia’s Northern Neck.


Agriculture

Here’s why it matters

Aerial view of five farmers harvesting Chinese cabbage in Thailand.
Aerial view of five farmers harvesting Chinese cabbage in Thailand.
Photo: Anucha Sirivisansuwan/Moment/Getty Images

By Dr. Lewis Ziska

Balance is, without question, important in plant biology: Too much or too little sun, the right amount of rainfall, the right temperature range, and the necessary soil nutrients are critical to maintaining a healthy and diverse plant community.

But that stability is being threatened by climate change; in part because of peripatetic changes in climate, but even more by what is happening with carbon dioxide, the primary global warming gas. For the recent geological past (a couple million years, perhaps longer), there hasn’t been enough carbon dioxide in the air to maximize photosynthesis, growth, and yield…


Kat Taylor and her former-presidential-candidate husband are using their vast resources to address sustainable agriculture

Inspecting soil. Photo: TomKat Ranch via Facebook

Kat Taylor is excited to talk about carbon sequestration and perennial grasses, but one of her favorite topics is the “full assemblage of predators” that now calls TomKat Ranch home. “It’s an indicator of [ecosystem] health all the way down the food chain, because you can’t support mountain lions and bobcats…unless the rest of the world is pretty healthy, too,” she explains.

Taylor knows this because while voters across America watched her husband — billionaire Tom Steyer — run for president on televisions across the country, researchers at the ranch had been tuning into a very different broadcast for some…


Want to help? Stop eating it

Photo: Maarten Wouters/Stone/Getty Images

At gas stations in central European towns known for their goulash, salmon sushi rolls sit in black plastic containers, peering out from under clear covers in refrigerator cases next to blended coffee drinks. Before the salmon made its way to the gas stations, it almost certainly lived in farms situated in the chilly coastal waters of Norway, Scotland, or Chile.

Nearly all of the salmon we eat — from gas station sushi to luxurious salmon steak — started life in such farms. The business of raising salmon on farms started 50 years ago in Norway after overfishing made Atlantic salmon…


Properly managed livestock can help reverse the effects

St. Croix sheep on the author’s farm. Photo: Marissa Wilson

Livestock is destroying the world’s land and climate through overgrazing and greenhouse gas production. Reduce their numbers, and save the world. Eat only a plant-based diet, and save the world.

Turns out, ecology is more complicated than one-line phrases: We’re learning that livestock can be part of the solution to many environmental crises. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that properly managed livestock can be a crucial tool in the quest to improve ecosystems, store carbon, and reverse climate change. The key phrase in that statement is “properly managed.”

Animals raised in the current industrial feedlot systems…


Q&A

The chef talks about the fires in his homeland and how Drought Angels is making a difference

Curtis Stone at Maude. Photo: Ray Kachatorian

Australian native Curtis Stone is devoting this year to helping farmers devastated by the bushfires and partnering with Drought Angels — a female-founded Australian nonprofit that provides resources for farmers affected by drought and natural disasters.

Andrea Strong spoke with the Los Angeles-based Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur, television star, author, and culinary entrepreneur about climate change, the importance of second chances, and how Michelin makes him work harder.

Andrea Strong: In 2016, you started #Commit2One, where you devote one year to a different organization that is important to you. You have already raised money for the National Young Farmers Coalition, Chrysalis, AdoptTogether, and Share Our Strength. What inspired you to start this work?

Curtis Stone: We were getting a lot of requests from big amazing charities and also from local schools and community-based organizations. …


Injustice on the farm is passed on to farmers, workers, and consumers

During Hurricane Florence, toxic factory farm waste lagoons spilled out into the Cape Fear River and surrounding communities. Photo by Compassion Over Killing.

In 2018, a small poultry farm in Montgomery County, Maryland, that sold both meat and eggs was shut down for animal cruelty and filthy conditions. These birds were suffering from various medical conditions and had evidently been denied veterinary care. After officials discovered the state of the farm, more than 100 chickens were killed to alleviate horrific suffering and unsafe medical conditions. This wasn’t big news, and as farms continue to mistreat animals and workers, dupe consumers, and destroy the planet, that’s a huge problem.

The Maryland farm was a small example of animal cruelty, but this — and worse…


You might not believe this — some people are hopeful about the future

Witthaya Prasongsin for Getty Images

Perhaps you’re thinking that those idiots haven’t heard about the latest UN report, which states that until we dramatically shift the way we farm, climate change will clobber us and our food supply will be at serious and increasing risk.

But that’s just what these crazy people are hopeful about.

Beacons of Hope: Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Food Systems” is a new report out from a group philanthropies called the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, in partnership with the Swiss-based, Africa-focused Biovision Foundation. They insist that the revolution necessary to rescue climate stability and a reliable food supply…


An anti-plastic brigade is cooking their way out of the climate crisis

Photo by Andrea Strong

A few years ago, Dani Schuller started cooking. Not just dinner for her family, or packed lunch for work, or the occasional fruit pie. Anything she would have purchased in a package, she began making from scratch — cream cheese, yogurt, crackers, “Oreo” cookies, loaves of bread, chicken nuggets, even chocolate syrup.

She did this not because she was a particularly passionate home cook. She did it because of plastic. She did it because recycling is a myth. She’s part of a nationwide movement of climate change activists fighting the battle from their kitchens.

Of all the plastic trash we…

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store