Climate Change

Can We Have Our Cake and Eat It?

I recently posted a MacLeans Magazine article “Life is Good: though fixated on threats, humans have never been better off”. The thesis is that: “When we fixate on visceral but unlikely threats like terrorism or child abductions, we ignore the intangible but genuinely dangerous risks such as climate change.” If you missed that well-reasoned article you can find it here.

So assuming the veracity of that thesis how do we deal with climate change in a feasible and acceptable way.

First we need to recognize that there is an economic cost to climate change. Fortunately this reality is being more and more discussed. The spruce budworm is controlled by prolonged cold winters. Climate change in BC has removed that natural control mechanism for this pest and these trees have been ravaged. ” According to the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, as of 2012 the cumulative area of provincial Crown forest affected was about 181,000 square kilometres, an area of timber more than five-times the size of Vancouver Island. The value of these trees is in the billions of dollars.”

Second we need to recognize that a major cause of climate change is the destruction of the world’s precious soil. 2015 is the UN International Year of the Soil. 

The UN notes that “Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person will in 2050 be only one-fourth of the level in 1960.” Take a deep breath and think about that for 30 seconds.

There are some very effective steps that can be taken to improve the soil, specifically the humus. That will not only help address the issue of soil fertility but will also have a significant impact on controlling climate change. Humus is an excellent carbon sink, or storage site. As the Secretary-General of the UN noted “Soil is also the largest pool of organic carbon, which is essential for mitigating and adapting to climate change. In an era of water scarcity, soils are fundamental for its appropriate storage and distribution… A healthy life is not possible without healthy soils.”

I have written about this in my October 7, 2013 article "Humus - More Important than Hummus?"


That article explains a lot about humus and how we are destroying it, or more correctly, the organisms and micro-organisms that create and maintain this key source of soil fertility and nutrition, while storing massive amounts of carbon world-wide. Over-tilling, mono-culture (repetitively raising the same crop on the same land), herbicides and pesticides and especially the growing of genetically modified (genetically engineered) crops that inevitably require ever increasing amounts of pesticides and herbicides, are all raping our soil.  You can find a more detailed explanation of these factors in a Graeme Sait article "The Soil Solution".

We can’t wait for the USA to lead us out of this because their Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission provided a huge loophole through which millionaires and businesses can fund election campaigns.  In the case of soil preservation, this case created a huge loophole for the huge chemical companies which control GMO crops, herbicides and pesticides. But we can follow the lead of other countries like China and the countries of the European Union. So let’s wake up and begin to address these issues in Canada. The rest of the world is waking up. Why not Canada?

Yours in health - on a healthy soil,