Farmer attitudes to climate change across generations

Climate change farmers

Farmers could be considered the sentinels of climate change; they are more attuned than most to long-term changes in weather patterns.

However many of them are yet to be convinced that man-made climate change is real, arguing that floods and droughts are cyclical and extreme temperatures are nothing new.

It is a view some younger producers are now challenging and they are reshaping their farming practices to suit the changing climate.

Josh Gilbert takes climate change very seriously, chairing a group of young activists trying to raise awareness of the challenges farmers face as temperatures become more extreme.

“When I first started seeing things on the farm, whether it was drought, or just the seasons not matching what they should’ve been, it’s really hard to deny it’s actually happening,” he said.

Recently the Gilberts have been adjusting the genetics of their cattle to make them even more drought-tolerant as their way of adapting to climate change.

Josh recently crowd-funded his way to Paris where he attended the United Nation’s Climate Change conference, COP21, to learn more about renewable energy and to send a strong message to world leaders.

In another example of the generational change taking place, Melissa Brown took over her father’s vineyard in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region 20 years ago.

Ms Brown did not like her dad’s heavy use of water and chemicals, and she noticed that warmer temperatures meant grapes were ripening earlier and vintages were getting shorter.

To adapt, she converted the entire vineyard to organic production methods.

That decision did not sit well with her father, Paul Buttery, who does not believe in climate change and thinks weather patterns are cyclical. “I’m very sceptical,” he said.

Ms Brown said there had been some awkward conversations, however eventually Mr Buttery decided to take a back seat in the running of the vineyard.

Re-Post ~ Farmer attitudes to climate change across generations | ABC Rural
See more ~ Farmers on frontline of climate change | SBS News

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