In his first major interview since becoming U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu did not ‘mince’ words with regards to the status of California’s agriculture. The state is in its third year of drought, which is compounded by higher global temperatures preventing snow accumulation. That runoff is what feeds our rivers and reservoirs, ultimately leaving our farms high and dry. With California as a producer of half of all U.S. vegetables, the future of our food chain could be severely impacted by the end of this century. How can we help?
No matter where you live, begin reducing water consumption at home as soon as possible. Even with drastic rainfall in the next few months, there will undoubtedly be water rationing as we head towards summer. Take shorter showers, flush the toilet less often, turn off the faucet when brushing teeth. And the lawn can take a break in winter (or better yet, go ‘forever green’ with artificial turf. NO water needed and it looks SO real!)
Learn about the crisis with another influence on agriculture: the honey bee. As if the drought isn’t bad enough, there has been a significant drop in their population with colony collapse disorder. These little guys are responsible for pollination of a majority of our crops and their demise is seriously devastating.
Support local farms. Know the source of your food and the methods of farming. Small farms are in dire need of support to ensure food safety and sustainability. Remember, we are what we eat – and drink – which may be one in the same before long.