The biggest threat from climate change has less to do with rising sea levels, shifting of agricultural regions, more hurricanes in the Gulf, or why the heck it rained so much during the dog days of summer.
It has more to do with the idea that a green revolution could very well beget another oppressive bureaucracy sticking its nose into the private lives of its citizens. To me, the most important issue our nation and the world faces today is not global warming. It’s how successful we are keeping the government out of the process of dealing with it.
Recently, I wrote a light-hearted column (Gassy cows and greenhouse government) about rules the government might have implemented to mitigate cow burps, a primary source of methane, a greenhouse gas. Thankfully, the issue died right around the time I was writing it.
However, a Texas farmer who read the column on our Web site filed an objection to it. While he did not specifically address the main point of my column — that a benevolent cause does not necessarily require a government program — he did impart a solution that I did not discuss, that conservation and environmentalism in a free society can start from the ground up.
“I own a ranch of several thousand acres in the center of Texas,” he wrote. “I have implemented solar, geo-thermal, natural gas, crop management, biochar (a charcoal-like material that can sequester carbon), biodiesel, crop and grazing rotation practices and other so-called ‘green’ approaches to my operations. My so-called carbon dioxide footprint is dwindling. My costs of operation are dwindling even faster.”
The writer says the upfront implementation of his green practices was manageable “and I have already, in less than three years, made my investment back. I expect that when T. Boone (Pickens) gets my wind turbines up and running, I will have no cost of operation other than maintenance, implements, salaries and feed supplement.
“My pasture and field development, using natural organic compost and biochar has wrought virtual miracles in the amount of feed grasses and grains we produce. I do still plow and disk in some fields, but what I put back in the soil allows it to hold more moisture and resist wind and rain erosion.
“Make light of ‘green’ thinking,” he wrote of my column, “but it will, sooner than later, make us more competitive in world markets with our competition which survives off the subsidies of their governments, pays hands next to zero and who have crappy standards of living for their people.”
While world leaders continue to argue over who should sign on to cap and trade, which is essentially world governments’ solution to global warming, a Texas farmer has figured out — on his own — how to reduce his carbon footprint dramatically and economically. These are solutions we should look at more seriously.