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Your Views: Wisconsin farmers must face up to effects of climate change

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March 17, 2014

Your report Monday, March 10, that the majority of state farmers are still climate skeptics, while disappointing, is not surprising. As the article says, “It’s not a scientific issue, it’s a political position.” That’s sad because it could leave farmers unprepared for the future that awaits us, according to virtually all climate scientists.

And farmers are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Between storms, droughts, floods, fires and pestilence, success or failure over time could seem more like a crapshoot than the result of good judgment and a strong work ethic. Despite any doubts, farmers are adapting. But adaptations are going to become more difficult as extreme weather patterns increase, and the stress of weather-related decisions will only increase. At some point, ideology will come face-to-face with reality.

To solve the climate crisis, we must all adapt, in big ways and small, individually and collectively. We must also mitigate, through policies such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax, to break free from fossil fuels and dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. While I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical, I do ask that all of us be open to proof, check the science, check our values, and act on our values based on what we’ve found. We owe this to our descendents. We have a long row to hoe.

DAN SLICK

Madison



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