Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: climate change, environment, farming, money, no-till
I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Swaffar from the Kansas Farm Bureau. He wrote a great article about carbon credits and no-till farming and today I got to dig a little deeper into the subject with him and, more importantly, get his take on conveying a message about climate change to Kansas farmers.
Bless Steve’s heart for his honesty. I guess I secretly hoped that he’d give me a magic communication tool to help convey our messages. Sadly, it all seems to come down to “how much money will this save/make me?” His opinion was that no-till farming isn’t going to grow like wildfire over the fact that it benefits the environment (at least not right now) but more for the fact that it’s a time saver, equipment saver, soil saver etc.
Does this mean that we have to frame this idea of climate change around ways to save you money in the long run and then be a little sneaky and slip in the pieces that actually do help the environment? It almost feels a little like we’re tricking people into battling climate change. Not that it’s dirty and wrong, but it’s defiantly disappointing that money is the driving force. I suppose I really hoped it would be a warm, fuzzy, “We are the World” type thing where you just had to pull at people’s heart strings and talk about what earth would be like for their children and children’s children but it seems to be that, for now, it all comes down to a little green piece of paper.
Steve said farmers are really not seeing the greatest effects of climate change yet and, for now, things are still going ok. Unfortunately, reality won’t set in until it’s drastically affecting their livelihood. The challenge of communicating a concept that’s initially tied to their bottom line and will actually save their livelihood in the future is a daunting one. I suppose at this point, education is key along with a little bit of “sneakiness,” in a good way of course.
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