As I write this, the Climate March is happening in New York City. My heart is there, in Manhattan, even as I go through my usual weekend routine: Emmaus farmer’s market, supermarket, second half of the Man City vs. Chelsea Game (it was very emotional), lunch, and playing outside with my daughter—the same daughter who insisted we NOT go to the Climate March since this was the only day we had together at home between some very busy traveling weeks for me. (I let her make the final decision.)
And that’s the problem with climate change in general, isn’t it? None of us really wants to change our familiar routines to solve the problem because change is inconvenient and often difficult. And yet…what if it weren’t? What if the answer were actually very, very simple? Usually, the best answers are truly simple, but for some reason, people don’t quite trust the simple answer. In this case, we do have the answer to climate change right now: convert every farm, every orchard, every golf course, every lawn, every highway roadside and even every national park to organic.
How can I advocate this? Because the scientific evidence and research has been done. Then done again. And again. And real farmers have proved that not only can it be done, but that it’s a better, more profitable, and YES, more productive way to farm. But it’s not just about food and farming; it’s also about carbon. Organic soil stores carbon. Organic soil can store enough carbon to reverse climate change immediately. If you don’t believe me, check out this report: “Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change.”
In fact, starting October 1, the executive director of the Rodale Institute will be hand-delivering this very report to the White House. He’s walking there—from Pennsylvania. It’s 162 miles. (If you want to support his efforts, you can at https://www.crowdrise.com/OrganicPlanet. And you don’t even have to get up out of your chair!)
I’m sure that to many people going organic just seems like too easy and simple an answer. Why is that? I had a sharp insight as to why last week, when I was very fortunate to be invited to Google Zeitgeist in Arizona. It was a day and a half of incredible—and incredibly diverse—speakers presenting on everything from cloud appreciation to health care for all (the latter given by the CEO of the Mayo Clinic). Presidents Jimmy Carter and Clinton both spoke. As did Snoop Dog, who was shockingly wonderful and relevant. This deep immersion in chaos created a sort of clarity for me, and here is what I realized: Technology (take Google, for instance) has brought so many wonderful things into our lives. And technology can make people very, very rich. But at the end of the day—or at the end of time—technology is no substitute for love. Technology is no substitute for nature. And no amount of technology can protect us from pain and being human—as much as we may try to protect ourselves from feeling, from living, and from having to deal with reality (virtual reality at its best is still just an advanced form of escapism).
You can fiddle with DNA and the human genome all you want, but it’s not going to decode love and nature—and why the hell would you want to, anyway? Well, I had another insight when I saw the man who did decode the human genome get teary describing his time in Vietnam and watching friends die. It made me think of the line from Tennyson’s poem:
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed
“Nature red in tooth and claw” reflects the fear we have of nature. And yet, one of the highlights of the Zeitgeist conference was meeting the Lion Man, who, through love and understanding, has learned to befriend the greatest “beast” alive today, the lion. While no one, especially Lion Man, recommends going out and getting too friendly with lions without knowing what you’re doing, what love is really about is the willingness to try and understand, to “know” in the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual sense and, ultimately, to respect and honor someone and something even if you don’t understand it.
And that’s the magic of organic. It isn’t artificial technology (although technology can be a great help to it); it’s nature at its best. It isn’t domination and destruction; it’s love and learning. Love + Nature = Organic.
And here’s the great thing about organic—besides that fact that it can stop climate change from killing us—it can also make you rich, if that’s what turns you on. Organic Valley, for instance, is now a billion-dollar company. Whole Foods is now a 12-billion-dollar company. But even better, it’s the kind of rich that feels good. Anyone who has a lot of money will tell you that money doesn’t buy happiness. And it certainly can’t buy love.
Here is what money can buy: politicians, islands, advertising, television, radio stations, and newspapers, and a few important people who are willing to deny climate change.
How do you fight this? How do you create change? The answer is simple, because here is what your money can buy: organic.
Love + Nature = Organic