It’s hard not to read the news this week — Covid resurging, giant fires burning across the west, and a worsening drought — without a strong sense of deja vu. And without the politicking of last year’s presidential election to obscure the lens through which we view the issues, they seem much clearer: humanity is facing multiple crises that it is structurally disadvantaged at solving.
Throughout the pandemic, there has been a strong urge for a “return to normal”. But what if the most important message to be learned from the pandemic is that “normal” was the problem? Lots of pre-pandemic suppositions have been tested and found to be questionable, probably none so much as the idea that everyone needs to go to their workplace every day.
The recent IPCC report on climate change declares that the climate that many of us grew up with and still imagine as “normal” is likely a thing of the past. But humans are deeply optimistic, and immediate crises tend to accentuate this tendency. Most of us also find it easier to blame others for problems. So we deal with climate disasters by pointing the finger — at oil companies, plastic manufacturers, and other megalithic entities — while doubling down on rebuilding and helping individuals who have been affected. Until the next disaster distracts us. But with disasters happening practically every week recently, it will be hard to stayed focused.
Our consumer economy is not “part of the problem” of climate change — it is the problem. Humans in industrialized countries simply use too many resources and buy too much stuff, from too far away, using too many fossil fuels in the process. Right now due to the pandemic, all of this stuff costs more money, but that’s a temporary issue due to “supply chain problems”. Somehow, going forward, we need to put into place a method to lock those costs into place — a carbon tax would be one method.
Until that happens, conscientious consumers have to make their own choices to contribute less to carbon pollution. Some of those, like buying an electric car or solar panels, require a significant upfront investment. But subscribing to a CSA like Terra Firma’s remains one of the least expensive ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint. And short of growing all your food yourself, there’s no way to get fresh organic produce with fewer highway miles on it.
Going into our second “Covid Fall”, we are seeing that a majority of the new CSA subscribers who joined us when the pandemic began are sticking with Terra Firma. We’re hoping this trend continues through the fall and into winter. The virus is just one of many reasons to make our farm a primary source of your food.