We have eight years…
My husband and I have been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since 1974. Agriculture and winemaking have been our livelihood while as staunch environmentalists we realize that Mother Nature has been our best partner in both endeavors. Consequently, neither of us have ever felt that support of the environment and support of agriculture were mutually exclusive. Rather, as the climate crisis has negatively impacted our grape growing and winemaking, we are firm believers in Nature as the solution to our warming planet.
I am writing today because I’m struggling with our community’s conflicting opinions over land use, water security, tree removal, wildfire response plans and the issues that surround them. I am also struggling with the vindictive nature of some as they try to convince others of their inaccurate and self-serving “truth.” All it does is feed a non-productive process that totally misses the big picture that our leaders and community members must face. That big picture is the Climate Emergency and the need for fast, bold steps in response.
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Many people don’t trust the warnings, some believe the consequences are far into the future, while others think there is nothing that we as a small community can do. Yet, the threats are already here and the consequences have taken a toll on our community.
Intense Droughts: we are experiencing the worst drought in recorded history
Heat Waves: the last two years have been the hottest in recorded history
Extreme Weather Events: annual, out of control wildfires driven by unprecedented winds
Cancelled or increased insurance rates
Damage to home and property
Outdoor summer work becoming increasingly unbearable
High electricity bills and frequent blackouts
More expensive food
Negative impact on the local economy
Trying to ignore the reality by sticking our heads in the sand or moving so incrementally that we might as well be standing still will guarantee the worst-case scenario. At which point, there will be no chance to reverse course due to self-reinforcing global heating. It will be too late.
Yet, we have eight years to achieve net zero climate pollution and viable solutions have been provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Now we need the leadership and willingness to face the truth and implement the required bold steps. What does that mean in our community?
The IPCC has conclusively endorsed nature as one of the top five most effective strategies for mitigating carbon emissions by 2030. As Bronson Griscom, a climate scientist cited in the IPCC report says, “The IPCC report is telling us we must act now…” and that “…nature’s contributions are key. This is a game changer.”
Furthermore, Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan said. “Nature remains a woefully underinvested solution... We can save our climate, and protect the nature we need to thrive, and live in a world that is more equal and just. There is still time; our future remains to be written. But it’s going to take everything we have, and we need to start now.”
Beyond dramatically reducing fossil fuels, these are the IPCC’s Nature-based recommendations:
1. Reduce destruction of ecosystems
2. Restore ecosystems
3. Improve management of working lands/agriculture
Consequently agriculture, ecosystems and climate change are intricately woven. For agriculture to survive in our valley, for our economy to flourish, for our community to thrive, we must preserve our current forests and restore those that have burned while managing our vineyards with sustainable farming practices. Our vineyards require our intact, healthy forests. As the IPCC has found, Nature is our best partner as we face the climate crisis.
Given these stark scientific facts, can we farmers, winemakers and community members commit to ending negative, destructive, and pointless discourse and work together? Together, as so many young activists have requested, we can choose to, “Do No More Harm.” We can also mitigate the current consequences of the Climate Emergency and take swift, bold nature focused steps to Save Napa Valley, ourselves, and future generations.
Growers/Vintners for Responsible Ag.
Save Napa Valley