Alternative energy key to saving family farms
A beautiful story about Kelley Canyon Orchards (Friday, A1).
We hope this fertile valley will grow fruit for many more generations. However, something is changing. Farmers know. Spring is starting earlier. Snow packs that renew the water table are shrinking. Wildfires are getting larger and droughts more frequent.
Past civilizations have collapsed because of things that people have done. Farmers in the Fertile Crescent invented irrigation, but it made the fields too salty to use.
Today we have scientists and doctors collecting measurements and telling us how to keep our lands and ourselves healthy. They say using oil, natural gas and coal overheats the climate. Burning fuels puts excess carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into air, which then holds more of the sun’s heat. Warmer air increases evaporation so we get drier summers, more rain and snow in winter, and other weather extremes.
Luckily, scientists have also provided solutions. Utilities, homeowners and businesses are now choosing solar and wind more often than they are choosing new natural gas and coal electric generation.
With clean energy heating and cooling buildings and also charging electric cars, trucks and tractors we could possibly see rising temperatures level off after a couple decades.
Wall Street is hooked on the profits from oil, coal and natural gas. The federal government gives those corporations tax breaks and permits for taking fuel cheaply from public lands.
Eight hundred Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers were in Washington, D.C., last week asking Congress to change laws so that American businesses can compete in fast-growing alternative energy. Let’s keep the $300 billion we spend yearly on foreign oil, and redirect investment from seeking new oil sources, and create U.S. clean-energy jobs instead. Let’s keep family farms growing cherries for our grandchildren.