Exploitation of Land and Water Resources Increases Greenhouse Gases and Food Insecurity
A new United Nations report warns that exploitation of land and water resources increases atmospheric CO2 and threatens our food security. Ironically, much of the degradation of these vital resources is a by-product of food production and misguided attempts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Some key conclusions from the report:
Our preference for red meat and our industrial practices for producing it require large amounts of land and water; they result in the emission of huge amounts of greenhouse gases
We produce too much food, distribute it poorly, and waste an enormous amount of it—resulting in the emission of huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
Higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reduce the nutritional value of food crops.
Degradation of lands (particularly high-elevation lands) increases the vulnerability of prime agricultural land to severe weather events—we are losing fertile soils at an alarming rate.
Energize Vermont has been arguing for years that our number one response to climate change ought to be protection of the natural resources that protect us from climate impacts. These natural resources include our forests, surface and ground waters, and agricultural lands.
Vermont—already striving to be a leader in effective land use regulation—should move to strengthen protections of our fields and forests. The time is right to toughen Act 250 (our primary land-use law) and eliminate the many exceptions to its application. Foremost among these is the exception that allows energy developers to operate under a different set of rules that are applied by a different set of officials using a different process.
Vermont should stop allowing some types of development to evade sensible land use regulation and place all large-scale development under the jurisdiction of Act 250.