So we’re going to talk about climate change and how is it affecting the earth, the waters, our food systems and, ultimately, human health? That’s what we’re gonna talk about where to start that way and talk about it’s, a little gloom and doom.
It’s a little heavy, but there’s. A lot of information that we want to make sure that we pass on and then we will hope to end on a high note, a positive note, empowerment key. What do we do? How do we respond is? Is there anything we can do and that’s? How we’ll end, so we’re gonna start in that trajectory.
So first I want to talk about on land. Let’s, talk about agriculture! How and in what manner – and I know this is a big question – that’s – okay, we’re gonna start slow. How, in what manner is climate change affecting agriculture? There’s? Three main ways in which climate change is affecting our food sistar food production.
The first is rising co2 levels, as you know, that’s, one of the main things that’s, causing global warming, because the co2 molecules capture the thermal radiation and send it back to earth. But the co2 is also what green plants use to produce food in the process of photosynthesis.
So some people thought that elevated co2 levels with climate change would actually be good for us because it would increase food production. But as we begin to do research, we realize two things. First of all, it’s more complicated than that, as you would might examine, might might assume, because for different reasons, many of our crop plants actually higher levels of co2, diminish their nutritional content.
Due to the process of chemical process of photosynthesis, they’re, less able to take up nitrogen from the soil, and another thing is that the other things happening with climate change, increasing heat, decreasing, increasing evaporation from from plants, transpiration increasing evaporation from the soil, Completely wipe out any advantage of increasing co2, so that’s, not a positive thing for agriculture and the other.
Two things that affect agriculture are obviously increasing heat. It’s harder for plants to grow. It shortens the growing season. They have left they mature faster. That means that less time to to to produce yield – and, of course it increases stress – some crops won’t, be able to get enough cooling hours.
For example, in California there’s already been a problem with sweet cherry crop. Walnut crops are on on the chopping block because they won’t get enough cooling hours to be to produce food where they are now growing.
So that means those farmers won’t be able to grow those crops anymore, and the third thing is the increasing extremes of weather, extreme drought, flood which we have here in California and abundance already.
But this the climate change is making these making the level of variability greater, and so the challenges to farmers greater in terms of wildfires in Santa Barbara, where I live wildfire, is burning, avocado, orchards and in terms of flooding.
So we have these extremes all these three. Three things are making food production more difficult under climate change, and I just I’d – add to what David said, I think underscore how significant all of those issues are for farmers on the ground.
I think for many of you here in San Diego County, which you know often lays claim to having the most diverse and largest pool of small farmers, and we do – I want a country in the country and I won’t.
Take that away. I think it’s. You know it’s, notable that these are. These are really significant impacts to folks on the grounds right, and I work a lot in the San Joaquin Valley in particular, as David spoke to you.
These are not small issues when you look at you know the amount of fruits and nuts we produce for the entire country in California, over 40 percents of nut production about 80 percent of fruit and vegetable production in the entire country.
These are not insignificant issues. When you have more variable temperatures, when you have a less reliable water supply and we more variable temperatures, because we were having this conversation before the panel, we tend to think of climate change, mostly as it’s getting hotter, but actually – and we used To kind of started to touch on that, but we’re talking about extremes, talk about sorry, yeah! No, no, and I think that’s exactly right.
So this is that this is the challenge we face. I mean first, those of us. You know I live up in you know the Sacramento area, and I think you also had a similar experience this winter. We got a lot of rain this year, actually more than we’re used to and that’s great for the Sierra snowpack in particular right this turns into snow.
That, then, is the reservoir of water that we draw down for most of agriculture really for the entire state and that’s great this year. Now some of us can remember a few years back when there was a drought for several years and what that meant.
What did farmers end up having to do? They look to groundwater? They pumped groundwater as quickly as they could to make up for this loss, and so these issues about you know that variability from drought to dramatic precipitation to building up snowpack are very significant to family farmers.
The folks that I work with across particularly California. You know you think about you know smallholder among farmers outside of Fresno, who, you know, are rely on a very fragile amount of water being delivered to them through irrigation.
If they can & # 39, t get that they can’t grow a really important set of fruit and vegetable crops for the Central Valley. They also, as we see a dramatic depletion of groundwater. They have inability to actually draw on that groundwater because they can’t pump it quickly enough or deep enough to actually get it out of the ground, and so you know we look at those impacts.
A lot of the folks David – and I were speaking to this – the folks that are at the margins, feel this even more right. Smaller farmers who are less able to adapt to these significant changes. Smaller farmers that don’t have the resources or the capital to actually be able to buy the new technology or equipments that don’t own.
Their lands can get pushed off of it. All these things make that system that much more fragile for the smallest of our farmers, particularly for folks that just don’t have the wealth and equity built up to survive.
These you know dramatic changes. You made me think of something we just talked about the rainfall this year and all of us across the state were out there watching this amazing bloom and the wild flower bloom, and you know it was incredible, but we we had that a little bit last year.
Maybe not quite as dramatic, but then all of that incredible growth – and you see it now, just driving here. You know there’s, wild mustard on the side of the there’s. Fennel it’s flowering, except that what happens with that come fall, come fire season, and – and so so, to talk about that, we also have the fire impact not just directly but also in agriculture.
How is that being? You know, how is that affected? Yeah, no, that’s exactly right, I mean I look at you know as I drove over the grapevine a few days ago. I was sort of impressed by how much growth there was over the grapevine.
I was also having the concurrent thought of oh. My gosh look at that fuel load and I think that’s, the you know that’s, the reality of so much of what you know, farmers face in California. You know we smaller farmers are often operating kind of at that between that urban.
In that role interface, they’re operating. You know in more forested areas, we talk about them is working on working lands. These are areas that are much more susceptible to you know to fires when they come when we build up all this biomass.
That precipitation builds up much more of that vegetable matter of visual matter on the soil. We then have you know when a drought comes, it actually, like makes a dramatic fuel load. That can then burn, and you know we.
We worked closely with a lot of farmers up in the Sonoma area after the Tubbs fire and we lost. You know several dozen farmers, because there just weren’t enough breaks there, weren’t enough. There weren’t enough buffers between them and actually the the fires themselves, and they just ripped through as they did with many homes ripped through farmers and actually made it very difficult for those farmers to be able to to build back up their operations.
Thereafter, and so the all of these things, you know precipitation or too much of it lack of it. The actual inconsistency as I was thinking about, as you were talking a lot of people who aren’t farmers, for example, would say: well they got all this green this year or the drought is over and everything is great, but is it really if You get no water and then a lot of water.
How does that affect topsoil and farming and agriculture generally yeah? I mean I think, that’s right and feel free to time and David. I think you know the challenge we face is we, after farmers need to operate on much longer time frames right.
Our responsibility is to build up soil and invest in our soil, because that’s. Truly the where we are able to actually grow food from is healthy. Living vibrant soils are actually our ability, like soil, is alive right.
That’s alive. That’s right. You know it’s, you know it. Isn’t alive, it’s made up of you, know microorganisms. It isn’t, alive, sort, Kreacher right, and so we this is when we have healthy, vibrant soils, that’s, actually how we’re able to produce the types of rich, nutritious foods that we’re.
Looking for and the challenges when we have very hot, intense fires that burn across that topsoil or too much water, it actually diminishes our ability to wash it weighs, washes away, washes that top soil away or if it dries up too quickly, we can lose it.
So I think these are some of the significant impacts of what happens to sand hotter. Hotter temperatures also mean that that the the microbial turnover of carbon in the soil will probably increase. I mean it’s, good for microbes to eat carbon compounds in the soil because they release nutrients for plants, but when they’re eating the the carbon compounds too quickly.
The plants can & # 39, t, take up the nutrients, and so it’s. It’s, it’s, a loss, and that means the co2 is going up into the air and more is not better. You know that’s, the problem it’s like high low.
Now it’s, you know gradually getting hotter and yet, at the same time, extremes of everything else, just a plug for a prior panel. If you want to learn more about dirt and soil or the difference they’re in and how many microorganisms there are and a handful of really healthy soil, you can watch the soil panel on you, see TV, sorry for the shameless plug one of The things we didn’t there, but there’s more coming.
One of the things that we didn’t really get to yet is let’s? Talk about what about the pests, the pests that relate to agricultural pests, we’re gonna come to human pest soon, but let’s. Talk about the pests as they relate to crops.
Talk about that. For a second sure yeah I mean I would say that you know both with increasing temperatures. We see the movement of vectors that carry a variety of pest pressures that are, you know, problems for health, but we see the migration of pests from or really around the world.
Global transportation is actually exacerbated that as well, and I think the challenge we see you know as you look in California, agriculture is. We’re, trying to combat a variety of paths that didn & # 39.
T use to exist in California, particularly insect paths that are some are going up. Some are going up already and we see that on from there bad ones there bad ones. You know, and I think it’s – an important distinguish.
They’re, good or and beneficial ones, as we often talk about, and we want to build up on farms as part of the natural ecosystem of a farm is we want to build up Bennett, official presentation of insects on other insects, and the challenge Is that we’ve diminished, the ability of those ecosystems to be resilient and to be able to build up those natural predation? And so I think, with increased temperatures.
We see the migration of more of these bad pests and many of the practices that we practice on farms in particular have diminished the number of those good pests, those beneficial bugs that would actually predate on them, and so I think that’s been Some of the biggest challenges we face – you know look at something like citrus psyllid here in the southern california carries something called often called Wang Wang Bing.
This is a hard to pronounce citrus greening disease. It’s, a virus that actually goes through the tree and makes it so the fruit can’t ripen, basically, so really significant, for you know for citrus here in Southern California in particular, and it’s, decimated much of Florida citrus, the challenge, has been: how do we actually try and move quickly enough to address? You know the spread of a pest like this, and the challenge is that they’re moving more quickly than we can build up the beneficial insects to actually to be able to tackle them.
And so what folks have turned to oftentimes is greater and greater use of harmful pesticides right and whether this is new systemic insecticides or whether it’s, the sort of more foliar least sprayed insecticides.
These are problematic not only because they end up in our water and our air and kill the soil and kill the soil and hurt people, but they also kill the beneficial bugs. You know you just made me think of something that was something you said is that you know we.
We tend to take a one enemy at a time approach and it doesn’t really work here, because this is a fully integrated system. Much like the human body right it’s, not one thing at a time, and in case you wanted to chime in David – and I can tell Kelly, is ready to mentioned briefly that what Paul is saying is it becomes a negative feedback loop, because The more we diminish the the insect diversity, the more it’s.
It’s, likely that population explosions of negative paths and pests and pathogens will occur. It seems like the microbiome yeah people at UC, Santa Cruz, like the realtor knows, and entomologists have been doing lots of research showing that that in many ways, the bright, not all diversity, but the right kind of bio, diverse in terms of plant diversity, arthropod insect diversity.
All worked together in the can create ecosystems that are that that dampen these extremes, climate change, makes all that more difficult and it’s. This combination of temperature and moisture that you guys are talking about that then expands that season within which these pests, which are not getting predator, you know no predation on and you’re having to put these additional inputs and they’re And they’re, getting a longer time to kind of increase and and do their damage yep right.
It’s, sort of bigger, longer stronger different times of the year. You know new and different kind of incoming that that we’re dealing with both on agriculture and also in the human health side, but I can tell Kelly you want to yeah it’s.
Interesting as you talk about how these things are, transforming agriculture, I see a direct parallel to how it’s, transforming how we practice healthcare and health in general. When you talk about diversity of the soil, human beings, we carry our soil with us and we give that a very fancy term, which has is all the rage these days, which is microbiome and, as we see microbes diminishing in the soil.
We’re. Also seeing the same thing happen in our self, and this is creating most of the health conditions. The chronic health conditions that were seeing can be related back to the microbiome. So when we take these isolation strategies to like target one bad bug or to target one bad virus, it leads to the depletion of the diversity overall.
So like what you’re, saying like in Florida, they grow so much citrus right. It’s, not a diverse crop over there. So if you’re going to get loaded with a virus that’s going to take down a lot of people at one time, it’s.
The same thing with us: if we’re, giving our kids all that pink amoxicillin, you know we’re, destroying the diversity and their microbiome, and it’s leading to increases in with the immune system. Allergies.
Then we have this extended pollen season right so now the allergies are even way worse and it’s. This top down following when we focus on just one thing, as opposed to taking into account the whole terrain, we get ourselves into big trouble.
Well, it’s. Interesting. There is, oh sorry, go ahead, yeah. I think that you know to to wrap up what the farmers said and the we are. We are driving everything else right, Yoshi, okay, no, but what I’m saying is that in a big picture this one health movement has been going on where you cannot have healthy people when you don’t have healthy water, healthy crop Right and the planet has to be healthy for us to be healthy and we cannot just be the only you know: species healthy and everything else is dying around us and I think it’s, all a matter of balance right and we disrupt the Balance and climate change as a good role in to disrupting that balance and, and so how we here we are and how we can.
How can we catch up with it and and re-establish? The balance is one of the big, the big question and the big issue that we have between all the big project, and should we pumps you to down into the ground, could you you know the geoengineering kind of things? Do we captured in the soil and or it’s? One thing at a time is it carbon? Is it bug? Is it this? Is it that one fix at a time solutions really is ignoring the fact that it is fully integrated? It turns out.
You know we live on one planet as it turns out. We have one home and I was thinking actually, as you were talking there’s, a tremendous amount of research now in the gut microbiome, and we still know a tiny bit about everything that’s.
There we don’t know what we don’t. We can’t even identify every microorganism and or what it does specifically. But we know – and we know a lot less about what you could call the microbiome of the soil, but the research now that’s, the new cutting edge, because now we understand turns out that thing: that’s in that handful of A live, Syal relates directly to our own gut microbiome and therefore our health, and so what your point is that this is truly all integrated.
So I’m glad that you say that and our ready to move to ocean. Well, no, I’ll. Keep I’ll, keep you know being friendly to my yeah yeah. I’m staying on land, you know, but what’s important for for the people to understand is we are all connected to water.
If you go back to biology 101, what you study is the cycle of water. You know from the atmosphere to the rain, the snowpack, the aquifer, the rivers, the ocean and back up and we are made of water. We are made of 70 % of water and I think that if people understand that, whether you are a farmer a fisherman, you live inland on an island, isn’t matter, we are all connected.
The water will do that for you and I think that’s with that concept, people will become more responsible. Knowing that down that drain, somebody else is reading. Well, there’s, no external life, and if they you know, the water doesn’t go to Mars or to the moon.
It stays here and we are staying here too. So we have to be part of the system. So should we talk about the water a little bit to bring in water into the microbiome and human health, because this is the thing in order to find water, that’s actually healthy for you and natural is next next to impossible right.
Unless you have, you know an aquifer on your property, you’re, getting processed water and just like we know, we talk about processed food. I’m sure everybody in this audience knows processed food is not the best kind of food for you process.
Water is also not the best, but we’re. Getting to the point like you said, because it’s. All connected that you really can’t find any water that’s clean anymore, which means the fish aren’t going to be clean, which means the plant you know, so it’s, this ongoing issue.
So if we just focus on one little piece of it, we’re missing the whole picture, shameless plug for the sustainable seafood panel also available on TV. No, no thank you for doing that. Go ahead. To be true, I want to make sure that people understand when we talk about water, that’s valid for beer and wine, because other care, you know the water is what to me ya know you should be worried, but it is fundamental that we Use water for everything and most of our water is contaminated.
Well, if you determinated to a degree that I don’t think most people understand there’s pharmaceuticals in there, when your local water department is putting out their stats every year. And if you don’t know, I’m gonna make a shameless plug for the Environmental Working Group.
Who has a water-wise website. You can put in your zip code find out what your contaminants are and what filter you need that doesn’t come that doesn’t take into account pharmaceuticals, and most of us are drinking hormones, because a lot of women are on Birth control, we’re drinking antidepressants.
Our water is so dirty from the runoff that now we have to put bleach and chlorine in it. So these are all things that we need to understand and that affects the microbiome. You know you use bleach to kill the germs in your kitchen.
What do you think that’s, doing when it comes on your skin or coming into your body? It’s, also disinfecting, and that’s, not necessarily what we want happened. You just came back from a panel specifically about pollution in the ocean, so you want to sell a little bit follow up on what she’s.
Saying we’re talking about municipal water here or drinking water. Tell us about the ocean. It’s depressing. We’re gonna get you really depressed first, so you really appreciate how high we can go. There will be wine afterwards anymore.
You know, I think that you know it’s. You know pollution, it’s, not a new, a new issue. I think that what we have to realize you know step back of all. What we talked about is how does climate change affect this dynamic that we have with the environment and it exacerbates what we put in you know with the climate change we have.
You know more runoff, meaning that we have more pollution going into the waterways more chemicals. Don’t get me started on the pollution with plastics. We know that plastic is everywhere. How does that relate to climate change? One might ask, well you know plastic.
Is it’s? It’s, a carbon that we, it’s, fossil fuel that we use and what that is part of the equilibrium. And so I think that we need to be aware that the pollution effects its long-term, and you know we already tell you don’t eat too much fish.
Some of you in the room might be vegetarians once very soon, and it will be like don’t eat too many veggies. Every pollution is becoming, you know, invasive to to the entire system and, as as, as kala was saying, the the problem is that we are getting more and more pollutants that we don’t know what they are: more pharmaceuticals, more compounds that are banned In one country, and not in the other and water doesn’t have geo boundaries right.
He just goes across and then you know this has created. Quite a bit of you know, trans boundaries issues, and this is where we, where the politics will come into public health yeah, so that’s, exam glad.
You said the word politics, cuz kind of what we’ve got going on in this country. Right now is we have Flint Michigan, who still does not have clean water? I think it’s three to five years later, but we also have Nestle coming in and taking water from indigenous lands and bottling it and selling it.
So, even though you’re right, it doesn’t water, doesn’t understand boundaries, our politicians do and so do our corporations and they’re using that to their advantage and it’s. It affects the most marginalized communities, the most right, the poor people, the people who have darker skin.
These are all institutions that need to be looked at and held accountable, not just on an individual level. It gets great for me to say, get a filter. It’s, wonderful like, but also we have to hold our politicians locally and nationally accountable.
I fundamentally agree, I think you know one of the things we work with a lot of communities in the San Joaquin Valley, and you know these are folks that are very much like Flint. You know you actually communities even larger than the size of Flint.
If you add them all together that don & # 39, t have access to drinking water, and this is years of some industrial farming practices that have contaminated to their drinking water with over fertilizer use.
And so there’s. A dramatic amount of fertilizer that’s, ended up in their drinking water. They can’t pump it out of the ground. They literally can’t pump the water under their feet to drink it because it is so contaminated.
This is linked to blue baby syndrome and other health effects. This is a area larger than size of Flint, and yet we still haven’t been unable to provide clean drinking water for these communities and it’s directly related to our overuse of heavy fertilizers and our belief that, if you just Add more NPK that we can actually keep growing our way or you know fertilize our way out of you know overproduction, and why do we need to add fertilizers? Because we’ve already negatively impacted the soil, we’ve, so fundamentally undermined all those things that you mentioned when you plug the other panel of you know the 14 different microorganisms that are in the soil and that we have diminished our Ability to actually have healthy soil, you know we we have about one to two percent of the original good topsoil left in California.
We have fundamentally dipped into the reservoir of what was our soil health, and so we’re unable to now actually grow things, and so we rely on these heavy inputs fertilizers and run by for corporations really that row that owned all of those inputs.
They, and so when you get to the political analysis of it, sorry to cut you off Kelly is the politicize of it. Is you have for corporations that dominate the inputs that you put into agriculture, and so how do you know? How do we effectively build up enough political? You know pressure and voice to counterbalance that handful of corporations so that we can actually work our way out of this mess and look at building up.
You know vibrant healthy soils, so we aren’t seeing all these downstream, so we have polluted municipal water. We have problems with the ocean and rivers and streams, and we also are facing a water scarcity.
We, you know, notwithstanding everything else, the temperature rise and the extremes are also sort of decreasing our access to water. There’s, only one source of water. At the current moment that’s rising and that’s.
The ocean – and this is not funny but actually III – there was a sign of researcher – I think – a Russian researcher who apparently got so frustrated trying to raise his fist at the world to get them to listen about climate change.
His new research report was entitled, the ice is melting and we’re all gonna die so which is pretty strong language for an academic study, but you could maybe feel the frustration of the person who got there.
I mean we really are like. I know this is sounds alarm and or alarming. I think it’s accurate, but then, like one of the reasons we have, these dialogues is to say it turns out that the food choices that I make don’t just affect my health, but the health of my community and the Health of the globe around me and that there’s, a synergy here, whether it’s, underrepresented communities who don’t have water.
Yes, politics is the stream through which much of this operates, but so is our own personal actions, and so it’s really important. We’re gonna we’re gonna we’re going to get there on the high note to talk about.
You know how and in what manner. We can positively reverse this trend, because that’s. What we want to do, we want to stay on earth, most of us like we got one home and we’d like to keep it, but I want to talk for a little bit more about ocean unless you had something else, you wanted to Say no, no, I totally agree with you.
I think what’s important is for the people to realize you know we have to come to the conclusion that there are still some climate deniers right and that’s, because climate has variability, but also because the climate does not necessarily Happen where you are, and so we have to keep that in mind, that for the for the food resource, that’s, the same thing in the ocean, the ocean in San Diego might not get warmer.
You won’t turn on into a why waters anymore. It’s getting warmer for sure, but people are be like it’s, not really global warming. It doesn’t really matter, but that’s, not the point. The point is that you know it: doesn’t kilometre far away.
Things are getting either super hot or freezing, and then you have all these masses of organism that change that have to migrate that have to go somewhere. Masses of nutrients that are being displaced, and that comes with displacement of your food and so climate change will have an impact that, if you are eating something today, well that something won’t be there tomorrow, and you can try to change things.
But people have to realize that it’s, not because the change happens where you are. The change might happen further away with what you can see it, but it’s there, and so I think that’s, important to the mindset of the people to realize that again, we are part of this global network of impacts, and We are and out of it, and if we want to affect the rest of it, we have to be implicated and even be responsible for it, and that’s.
Actually, one of the one of the positive things about the climate catastrophe that’s looming, is that as Paul as I were talking before, the panel is maybe this will at a global scale, provide you know it pushes over that that threshold of, as A global community saying we better start working, we better start working together, or else we’re all gone.
We can’t do it. You know you think you mentioned earlier about how you know. People can’t isolate themselves from client climate change. A lot of people still think they can, and I think, to the extent that that they’re that they become to realize we can’t isolate ourselves.
We’re, all going to be better off to the extent that we make everybody better off. The farm of the farm workers who are at the front. Frontline of growing food in our California, for example, are the ones that are suffering from heat stroke in the fields they’re, the ones whose aquifers are out of the out of range of what they can afford to put their Wells down these little Communities in Central Valley, they’re, the ones who are who are getting the their their water when they can get it polluted.
They’re. The ones who don’t have access to the food that’s available. So we have to realize that that we’re, not going to be better off unless they’re better off and they’re facing all of this new incoming changes in climate and growing season.
We were talking beforehand that’s, sort of what can be grown. Where is changing constantly now, which is really hard for farmers, because they’re on their land? And you know that that’s, a lot of change and then we have.
We have the disappearance of good pests and help. You know beneficial insects, we have the rise of negative ones, both in agriculture and also those that specifically relate to human health. I mean the amount of pest barn, illnesses and diseases in this country and around the globe is skyrocketing, which is something that you know a little bit about.
I want to touch on that before we get all super happy on the the the Fixit inside. You want me to talk about the good or the bad, well, both the bad than the good. We like to end on the high note, so you know there.
Similarly, with agriculture, there’s, three things that are really driving this: it’s, the temperature, its moisture and then it’s. The combination of those two, which then increases the season and as a result of this, we get a movement of pests from the south to the north, which increases the geographic area, but you also get a resilience of the past.
You know they’re gonna react to the whole system and become more virulent. They’re, not going to become weaker as a result of this, and so we need to think about this. In terms of you know how we want to respond to that, and when we respond to that, do we want to be broad-spectrum? Do we want to be going after all of it, and I know that in some aspects we think of this as okay, we need to individually.
We should not be individually targeting, but looking at this broadly, but from our perspective, we actually very much want to look at this from a targeted perspective, and you want to look at individual species, not an overall in order to address the overall system.
And we know what happens when you go abroad and we’ve, seen it in agriculture and health and and so you know again, kind of summarizing. I think what what you guys were talking about a little bit is that this then comes down to even you know the macro level there’s, you know there’s, the global thinking and there’s, the politics and There’s, large companies, but we you know what climate change is really done for us.
Is it’s, individualized it, and so we know that our individual choices, whether we’re, being conscious about it or compulsive about it, is what’s really hitting us, and I think it was Kelly who mentioned yesterday that You know we’re.
I think we’re, the only animal that’s, not waste positive on the planet. Everything else is neutral, and so whatever we’re gonna do to address this, we need to kind of look at it from that perspective, and so, okay, so with insects.
The way we approach in the way we look at it is that you have an environmental impact, you have toxic city and you want to make sure that whatever you’re inputting is going to address that and so the way that we look at It is that the environmental impact is what we’re talking about.
Is that targeted approach? You want to be species-specific when you’re species-specific, you’re, not hitting anything else, so you can take out, for you know for us right now. It’s, not agriculture, but we can take out a mosquito without undermining butterflies, bees and dragonflies, for example, okay and then toxicity.
What we’re, really talking about is that it’s plant based, and so we’re working within a system that is developed over eons and we’re, utilizing that and just bringing it into a synergistic Matrix so that it enhances its efficacy, and by doing that, you, you are highly toxic to that individual species without increasing resistivity, okay or externalize externalising.
I think it is important to while I think that you know it’s, a great option to have to be able to target specifically sometimes when you’re talking about saving like the pollinators, the dragonflies, the bees, the butterflies.
We also have to look at why mosquitoes have become such an issue, because if we’re, just working on the one half where we’re targeting them without addressing all of the conditions that allow them to rise, we’Re working with this paradigm, which we love here in the West, which is either/or and that’s.
Not what’s going to solve it’s going to be both, and this is how we target the mosquito, and this can be in any line of work and any place you go on the planet. You also have to be addressing those conditions which give rise for that to be an issue.
You know what I mean we have to has to be a together approach. It can’t, be just this one. I so one thing in isolation. I wanted to follow. Go ahead was is the same exact thing in agriculture I mean we talk a lot about integrated pest management, which is accurate.
I mean we deal with a lot of pests where we look at the individual past and we’re. Trying to target sort of figure out how to address that pest, but if we don & # 39, t hold the larger systems analysis of building that those diverse individual farm level farms, then the first line of defense, the first line of defense – and so I think There’s, a human body, but it’s, not either/or, so it’s, finding the individual tool.
That makes sure we, you know, I deal with citrus psyllid deal with citrus greening and we also make sure we don’t have more of them, so we’re more resilient in the face of those it’s, not Creating additional external problems – this is also in the big picture, is also why adaptation to climate change is not the answer, because if we we can’t continue adapting we will lose our ability.
What do you mean? Because because the the the level of change will be so great that we just do not have the resources to adapt to it, and so we have to mitigate at the same time, don’t, adapt quickly evolution, but I mean even adapting behaviorally yeah.
The the systems will beyond the the ability to adapt to their levels of global warming, of of temperature of rainfall extremes we just we just can’t do it, so we have to be thinking of how can we mitigate and that’S, the good part technology’s, not an excuse for us to continue our behavior right.
It’s. What you’re saying is that we have to be individualized about this, which will then affect our greater act. Action towards things we can & # 39, t look for that magic bullet and say: okay, I think you know I can keep living the life I’m living, so I want to talk.
I want to follow up a little bit more. We started. We talked quite a bit about agriculture and sort of the impact and we were starting to dip into human health, specifically as it relates to food and health, toxicity and health, and just generally help if you could give a broad brush of ways in which human health Is being impacted and or if there are specific illnesses, diseases or conditions? We got some questions specifically about whether certain conditions have become more prevalent in the modern era yeah.
So in my work at UCSD, I have a specialization in the GI tract. So I consider myself like an earth nutritionist, because the my crow biome is like our soil. So if you see the used to eat dirt, when we were kids yeah, hopefully hopefully you still do yeah, yes, so the the conditions that were most concerned about right now are what we call non communicable diseases, meaning these are not the ones that are being passed Back and forth, these are the chronic issues and what we’re, seeing a huge rise in are anything related to the immune system, so Allergy, Asthma, autoimmune conditions, we’re.
Seeing these things take off like nobody’s, business and the the main reason why we’re, seeing that is because our microbiomes are being decimated. I mean you cannot live in this. It’s, so I was just an environmental health conference and I came home and I didn’t get out of bed for three days really because it’s.
It’s just so overwhelming right. They’ve done samples on cord blood. You know baby cord bled 271 chemicals 190 of those are known carcinogens. We know they cause cancer so that at first glance that can make you be like.
Oh my gosh. What are we doing right? So those chemicals are out there. If we can keep our microbiome and our environment resilient, then we’ll, be good. How do we keep our microbiome resilient biodiversity? Okay, biodiversity is the answer to all the things we’re talking about on the macro and the micro level, and what does that mean for us? That means that we’re eating a variety of plant species as much as possible, organic and regenerative, and that, in turn, the fiber in those fruits, vegetables, whole grains is going to pull the things out that we don’t want the Also plants are our allies in ways that we haven’t even quantified and science.
Yet all of the resources that a plant has to engage in their cell physiology to battle pests to battle dry, you know changing conditions, we call those phytonutrients. You may have heard that term. We when we eat those plants, we get those.
So a very concrete example of that is people using sun screen. We have a huge you know: increased incidence of skin cancer. A lot of people talk about a lot of different reasons. I’m, not going to get into the politics of that, but what we do know is when your diet is high in carotenoids, which are you know certain phytochemicals that come to us through plants, you actually access sunscreen, your body is more resilient to Those rays so that’s, part of the reason why we’re having such an increase, because our nutrients are so poor and something that you spoke about earlier.
Is we’ve, put a lot of synthetic chemicals into our soil? One of the reasons. Why is because we don’t have integrated farms anymore before a small family farm would have had animals on it, it would have been changing crops.
All of the time now we have, if you’ve, been on the grapevine. You see these big mono mono crops right it’s. All corn, it’s. All grapes, it’s all strawberries. When you don’t have an integrated system like a biodiverse community, then you do have to get synthetic chemicals from these for-profit companies which do not have our best interests at heart.
So you’re pumping in all of these nutrients. That displaces our other micronutrients, so then we are then again less resilient to deal with these vectors. With these you know antibiotic resistant bacteria when they get in so we want to be.
We want to be clear about that’s, how we build it. First, I just want to say we do have integrated farms here in San Diego. You also repeat the Lord yeah. We have more than anywhere else in the mostly that’s, not that’s, not where it’s.
Coming from Genentech is here at our local farms. Absolutely and those are the farms that you also speak for and represent nationwide. But we’re fortunate here, right and and the truth is that isn’t where the majority of our food comes from and it’s, certainly not what we get it.
The big-box store when we buy the 24 pack of whatever it is, we probably don’t need so yeah go ahead. You were gonna say something about farming. Oh well. I know I think the biodiverse biodiverse yeah and I think the biodiverse farming we look at we’ve talked about it in a few different ways, but I think you know at the farm level thinking about how we’re intercropping, how We’re, looking at how we build up a diversity of crops.
We know that that Korea, the opportunities for you, know natural predation. It creates the opportunities for building deeper. You know root systems and soil health that it actually makes sure that we are able to create the sort of patterns that both make our individual farms stronger, but actually make sure that the the people that actually operate on them more successful right.
And so we know that much like you know anything where you just do one thing right: a mono crop makes that farm less resilient in the face of climate change, and that also makes that farmer less resilient in the face of climate change.
So if they’re only going to grow almonds and we have a problem with – you know less chilling, you know, then those almonds don’t work anymore. Then islands, don’t work, a lot of farmers in a lot of trouble and that’s.
The problem we face in a lots of parts of California. Now, if you have several different crops, you’re growing. You will now have you know it’s like an investor right all of us. We have a more diverse portfolio of things if we have more crops, we’re growing, and so I think that that’s.
The idea that integrating animal in integrating animals – and I think you know it’s, something we say a lot. A lot of the research we’ve, been doing on farm with some of the UCS, and some farmers is showing that, having you know, actual animals on farms makes those farms that much richer.
We build up more compost, natural manures that replace the things that are missing in the soil and that cycle also of having some animals that that actually are pred predators of some other pests. All of these things were the way that we did farming for many.
Many years here in this country and around the world, sometimes we don’t need to recreate something that isn’t that wasn’t broken well, and I think the things that challenge. I thought you said this well and I use this this belief that all technology is good technology more bad or bad, and I think that the challenge is it’s, a tool that hi-yah it’s a tool, and I think there Are technologies that help farmers make more in like in our case, farmers, you know more viable, more resilient.
Those are good things, but this belief that all high technology is a good thing is something we should be wary of. You know there’s. This whole idea of mono cropping and if you think about the the inputs that have to go in to support that – and if you you know, I’ve, been reading about seeds being encased in neonics just to protect a plant because they have no Natural protection, it’s soon, as you do that you know you get the water solubility of it.
You get runoff and undermines the rest of the system, and then you need to put more inputs back in and you’re just exacerbating climate change. Right, I mean it’s, actually just building off of itself, and it’s, this virtuous cycle.
So instead I’m in I’m in. I may be, in fact I’m sure I am the only goat breeder in La Jolla and our goats go and they work at local farms. You know they they do the work that ruminants can do, and all of this would have impactful there’s.
There’s, a lot of different ways to solve a problem. It’s, not one size fits all. It’s, not the same answer everywhere and when we, whether through new tech, bad tech, good tech, try to recreate the wheel entirely or disregard all of our historical cultural, you know institutional knowledge and think new and new is always better than where we’re really going off, and we then we really end up creating additional external problems.
Runoff effect impact. That was not our intent, perhaps, and so looking back at traditional models and ways in which we might improve them here, enhance them there or how to another shameless plug for a food tank panel.
We did last year, but it was about technology, and this one was using specific technology with drones to assess the water, its certain farmland across the western United States, so that they could increase the efficiency with which they were using the water on the farm.
That’s, fantastic right because we water is scarce and we have issues. So if we can use technology to be targeted in what we’re doing, that’s, that’s brilliant, but to replace some of our historic, you know integrated systems, I think, is where we go, and I would just You know one case study of that here in California, and I think we should just all acknowledge it.
Is you look at the history of tomato harvesting, and so this was an example where we meant to make tomato harvesting easier to release reduce some of the labor pressures. We meant to reduce the dependence on non-competitive, labor on non-competitive, labor, and you know the ideas that we created these machines, that only more well-to-do farmers could have been afford of a certain scale.