Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fixing Major Problems on Earth

Above: My lunch (lamb rib chops and eggplant) on the day we arrived in Paris on a recent trip.
I had to hurry to one of my favorite restaurants in the Hotel Lutecia. I expand upon the caption
following this blog.

To fix some problems, it takes some sacrifice – some giving up things that we are fond of and used to – and, it appears, most people aren’t at all ready to do that. Am I?
by Charlie Leck

Let’s say, at least for the sake of this blog, that the scientists who are predicting bad things for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren on this earth are correct. (1) The temperature of the earth is changing rather dramatically and that will cause all kinds of problems; and (2) It is getting more and more difficult to feed everyone on earth.

I’m not arguing those two points. I’m accepting them as true after plenty of reading, consideration and hearing out both sides on these issues.

What could we do leave a health planet behind for our issue? I look at my grandchildren and wonder what kind of life their children will have. It is our responsibility to make sure they will have a healthy and wholesome place to live.

So, if we must sacrifice, why not?

The two problems mentioned above can be controlled and even eliminated; however, people all over the world are going to have to agree on a plan of action. By that I mean, people in China, India and America must become leaders on this issue. Then we must convince the nations of Africa, Asia and South America to come on board.

The corporate world needs to cooperate as well. It is a powerful giant in the affairs of Earth right now, both politically and economically. Our planet’s problems cannot be solved without corporate cooperation.

There are thousands of scientists from all over the world who have a grip on what needs to be done to solve the problems. How do we get the nay-sayers to listen to them, to be more cautious in their own attitudes?

A researcher at the University of Minnesota has recently been published on-line by the Journal of Nature, offering solutions to the question about how to feed a hungry world. Here’s a story about that research that appeared on the University of Minnesota web site. It’s worthy of your consideration.

Four giants steps need to be taken the researcher, Jonathan Foley says… in order to feed the world!

Stop Expanding Agriculture, especially in the tropics! The land clearing that is happening there is ruining a source that stores carbon, that recycles nutrients, that retains water and supports all sorts of plants and animals.

Increase yields from underperforming landscapes! There are many parts of the world that suffer from nutrient and water limitations that need to shift the crop varieties that are raised there. It could result in a spectacular increase in food production.

Increase the efficiency of the way we use water, nutrients and chemicals in agriculture! We in America and much of Europe use too much of these resources. A more exacting use of only the amount of these things that are necessary would make a major difference in the balance of resources that other parts of the world need. We need to mange manure more efficiently and we need to develop systems for recycling nutrients.

Shift our diets and reduce waste! This is likely to be the kicker and the biggest problem for us, as individuals, who need to cooperate to make this system work. We must reduce our appetite for meat and dairy products. Those two items in our diet require too much land to produce them. The report doesn’t ask us to become vegetarians, but it asks us to begin “dialing back” what we consume. It would make a huge difference in the world. I, for one, am trying!

The conclusions of the report point to possibilities in a very positive way. What they recommend could happen if international shifts could take place.

Yet, the first step is that we convince the world that there is a problem! This isn’t easy. A few rogue scientists can undo the message of thousands and thousands of outstanding scientists who are trying to warn us about the future – both in terms of climate warming and food scarcity.

Where are you on these questions? Don’t think of just yourself when you consider these matters! Think of your great-great grandchildren!

More about the photograph: I love rib chops of lamb. I love ribeye steaks. I adore grilled chicken and baked duck and chopped chicken liver and pork tenderloin. Yet, I am making a concerted effort to cut back on my meat consumption. My goal is three meatless dinners each week. The fabulous meal documented in this photo is a help to me. As wonderful as the lamb was, the side dish of eggplant that this chef produced was even better. It overwhelmed me with flavor and I enjoyed every bite. I'm trying to be more creative with vegetables and salads. I'm making progress and there is hope!


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