End the duopoly

UW scientist on how climate change is impacting soil and the food we grow

David Montgomery is a geomorphologist and a professor of earth and space science at the University of Washington, whose latest book is called A Growing Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life. He argues that with the onset of climate change our soil is not going to be able to support our food supply, and offers advice for what farmers and gardeners can do about it.

“We think about the atmosphere, we think about energy. But when you look at a food supply, we need healthy, fertile soil to grow enough food to feed us all, and one of the worries that the new I.P.C.C. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report … is that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels going up are going to reduce the nutritional value of food into the future,” he told the Candy, Mike and Todd Show.

“It will also reduce the amount of grains that we can harvest and as our population grows, if we’re not able to grow as much food, it gets harder to feed everybody.”

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Montgomery says the biggest worry is if climate zones shift such that the same crops can’t be grown in the same regions anymore. Looking down the road, what can people and farmers do to offset the impact of climate change?

“Farming can actually help, and help in ways that will make the farmers themselves more resilient by improving their soil to the point where it can absorb more of the rainfall that falls onto the land, so it doesn’t run off and cause flooding and rain that actually sinks into the ground, that’s what you can actually nourish crops with,” he said.  […]

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