Sunday, 25 August 2013

Agriculture and Climate change: the *other* Inconvenient Truth

Last week I watched a very interesting video talk the TEDEd youtube channel given by a rather relatively obscure chap (in the popular mind at least) called Jonathan Foley. He is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN, USA and in this video he talks about the issue of agriculture and its effects on the environment and climate change. The title of the talk is taken from the documentary An Inconvenient Truth which features former US vice president Al Gore talking about climate change.

I believe Foley's talk is very important for 2 reasons. First, in this highly misinformed age of ours, the media tends to focus on the hype of climate change which is unfortunate because it is such a technical problem (yes deniers, I'm talking to you) that the populace fails to follow the arguments and research and consequently ends up disputing findings because they applied common sense where one shouldn't, scientifically speaking. Climatology is a complicated thing and not something that should be abused by naysayers.

The second reason occurs as a result of the first; if you want to talk with the populace about climate change, start with the fundamentals. In this case it is the environment and agricultural practices which affects and is in turn affected by the environment. No climate change apparent at first but it is still there, its just being explained in the context of familiar human problems.

Here's the video. Enjoy!