Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, shows that global warming is rapidly altering the world. As I watched this movie what stood out for me was the impact that rising temperatures have had on glaciers—these huge chunks of ice that seem so invincible are one of the most obvious casualties of global warming. Glaciers throughout the world are literally disappearing as they melt back due to high temperatures. Shortly Kilimanjaro will be no more. Glacier National Park will have to find a new name because glaciers will soon no longer be a sight one can see at this park! It is dramatic and indisputable—they’re going, going….um, almost gone.
The area of Oregon that I live in also has glacier mountains—Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. From my living room window I can see the majesty of Mt. Hood--still snow covered in July. I am struck with how different the community will be if those two mountains were no longer covered by a glacier. There goes the ski season and the water we depend on for irrigation of the pear and apple orchards as well as the small farms in the area. Without the glaciers, Hood River, the Columbia and White Salmon Rivers as well as several others would no longer provide the water necessary for the fun and recreation activities that currently take place on these rivers. We are the windsurfing capital of the world--but would that matter if we don't have a river to windsurf on?
Some days, the thought of global warming and environmental degradation becomes overwhelming to think about. To believe that we can have any impact through our actions seems like a quantum leap—but every small step (piece!) helps. At the end of the movie, he encouraged people to get active. Drive less, buy hybrids and walk more were just a few suggestions.
But one that I would like you think about is eating locally. Food is being shipped all over the world—it requires tremendous amounts of energy as trains, planes, trucks and cars move this vital requirement. Yet, in most areas our food needs could be grown locally through a network of small farms, backyard gardening and container gardening. I'm not suggesting that this could happen overnight, but here in the Gorge, a group of concerned citizens have been actively working since January to do this. We've initiated a Farmers' Market and begun building a network (check out gorgegrown.com) to connect consumers and farmers. All of this happened as a result of just a few folks talking to each other and now it is building towards a regional impact.
We all have to eat--that's a given. But we don't have to eat food shipped halfway around the world! We can eat out of our backyards, balconies (see Earthbox.com), and local farms.
Today, take a moment and think of one little thing you could do to eat more locally. Some ideas: You could look for a CSA to join, you could buy an Earthbox, you could look for small, local farmers in your area and talk with them about how you could buy directly from them. But do something!
Remember, Life Puzzle making--every piece impacts the whole. The benefits of this choice goes far beyond impacting global warming. Eating locally builds the community and environment piece of your Life Puzzle! Eating locally improves your nutrition piece because food value is greater the sooner you eat food and when food is shipped--it averages 8-10 days before you even get it home! Locally can be the same day. You support your local economy too. And when you look at your 'finding meaning" area of your Life Puzzle...the act of eating locally leaves the world in a better place after you're gone. Bon appetit!
While I tend to lean towards the idea of global warming, I also know that our earth has had much more severe warming trends long before fossil fuels were know to exist and severe cooling when the earth was awash in fossile fuel. Many respected climatologists state we are in a mormal predicted cycle and others are no so sure. But, being the selfish types we are, we still drive our fossil fuel SUV's, buy products made from or by fossil fuels (as does Al Gore), so we have to accept the role of hypocrite and go forward.
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