Friday, January 18, 2013

Global Warming Leaves Me Cold

Each morning one of the first things I do is to start the coffee pot. I admit it; I am addicted to my coffee first thing in the morning. I find few things as satisfying as that first cup of coffee, watching the morning news while next to the woodstove. Well, unless it is my third cup of coffee next to the woodstove after morning chores. In any case, here lately I have found it hard to pull myself away from the woodstove and coffee to go outside into the cold air.

That is why I scratch my head when I hear people talk about global warming, I mean climate change. I understand that last year was one of, if not the warmest (depending on who you read) year on record. I really don’t doubt that, facts and figures don’t lie. I know last summer was beastly hot and last winter was unusually warm. However, I am not sure I really believe that, we humans can really change the climate of our planet. I know that temperatures and precipitation patterns have changed and fluxuated as long as we have records.

I will not get into an argument about climate change; my opinion really will not do anything to add to the conversation. Although from my earlier comments, you probably know where I stand. All I know for sure is that this past month when I step out into the sharp winter wind, it is really hard to believe that our planet is warming. People with PhDs may tell us we are getting warmer but my toes beg to differ.

I have heard “environmental groups” pontificate about the evils of cows. They make claims that the methane gas produced by my bovine in the process of turning grass into beef adds to the greenhouse gases. Again, I doubt that it really has any effect global temperature, but I am pretty sure my cows were hoping it was true while they stand huddled against the wind. On a related note, they have requested beans and broccoli instead of hay.

I don’t know anything about the polar ice cap, but the reduction of the ice bergs in my stock tanks would be a welcome sight. I hear the ice caps are retreating, well, I found out where they retreated to. The ice in the horse tank alone would sink the Titanic. I know tank heaters would take care of the problem. However, that would take electricity and my electricity is coal powered, so by not using tank heaters I am both reducing emissions and cooling the environment on two fronts.

OK, I know this cold front will pass also and soon it will be the dog days of summer. Temperatures will hit the triple digits and talk about climate change will hit high gear again. To be honest, I really have no idea what will happen with temperatures next week, let alone in the next ten years. While I do not know how warm it may get, I do know that we, farmers and ranchers, will adapt to the changing conditions to produce the food and fiber we all need.

New technology will be developed to help us produce more food, no matter what the conditions. We will adapt our production methods to utilize the climate we are given. We will work to conserve the water and soil we depend on. There are many highly educated intellectual types researching and discussing climate change, but there are just as many brilliant people developing new production methods.  We, farmers and ranchers, will take those developments and they will help us adapt to an ever changing climate whether natural or human-aided.

While I do not know much about climate change and the reasons for the previously mentioned changes, I do know one thing. As farmers and ranchers we have continually adapted and changed to steadily produce more food for an ever growing population. However, just in case the predictions of continued increases in temperatures are right and the polar ice caps do melt and the ocean levels do rise, I am prepared to make you a great deal on some future ocean front property just outside of Westmoreland, Kansas.

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