Moving Forward

As a connector or rural and urban communities, we generally try to avoid politics. When it comes to the Paris Agreement, we can’t be silent—as it is so tied to the principles that led us to Walden and guide our actions day to day.

The Paris Agreement was a landmark step in climate action and a global symbol of good faith. It is incredible that so much of the world came together to agree on anything, let alone a topic as critical and contentious as climate change. Yet, it is important to understand that it was a voluntary agreement, not a binding law; individual countries created emissions targets and pledged to try their best to get there. There is no real enforcing or accountability beyond the eyes and opinions of the rest of the world. As such, we think our withdrawal from the Agreement indicates short-sightedness. With this decision, the US joins Nicaragua and Syria, the only two other nations which have not joined the Agreement.

We can learn from our new trio. Nicaragua believes that the Agreement is not aggressive enough—allowing countries to set their own targets and not holding the biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters to a strict enough standard. As the single largest contributor to GHGs over the past century, the US has a unique challenge to right our role in climate change and lead by example.

Exiting the Agreement represents an archaic perception of power. We are demanding attention by being the biggest bully on the world playground instead of earning respect by acknowledging our responsibility. Leaving the Agreement tarnishes the good-faith on which it was built and isolates us from the rest of the world that chooses to consider the future. The debate on the validity of climate change is over, and we have more than enough proof that environmentally-minded decisions are critical to current and future economies, public health, and peace.

Fortunately, we don’t have to stop moving forward because of this symbolic step backward. In yesterday’s statement, Barack Obama reiterated the “bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher” in the crafting of the Paris Agreement. It is up to towns, cities, and states—along with private companies—to take the lead in the absence of federal leadership.

As we often write here, agriculture is the single largest contributor to carbon emissions behind energy, with livestock representing the lion’s share of the sector’s impact. We raise animals on grass, sequester carbon, and contribute to a net positive carbon footprint…and we look forward to doing our part!

5 Comments

  • steve krivisky says:

    While I applauded and generally agreed with the noble tenets of your business philosophy and goals, you then had to go ahead and plant your heavy Liberal jackboot right in your mouth. The debate on climate change is most definitely NOT over and your pollyanna assessment of the Paris Agreement is naive and uninformed. The US carbon footprint is now at pre-1994 levels, achieved at great cost which amounted to a transfer of billions of dollars of US wealth to China and India, the two biggest polluters on the planet. They benefited by not having to add the costs of emission reduction to the price of their goods. They still don’t have to comply until 2030! The Agreement is a JOKE which the American taxpayer is no longer willing to pay for. We will continue to lead the world in the fight to reduce pollution because it is to our benefit and not because we must do it to compete on an unequal playing field with no penalties! And you make no points by quoting our previous president, whom history will judge as perhaps among our very worst. Thoughtful leaders around the globe are welcoming the return of American leadership on the world stage; a welcome change from someone who "led from behind" and drew one meaningless line in the sand after another. Anyone who still takes him seriously is woefully uninformed and hasn’t been paying close attention. I like what you’re doing and why – it is a worthy endeavor but leave your stupid politics out of it!

  • Even here hegot33% says:

    Steve in the other comment said it pretty well. Business owners shouldn’t needlessly antagonize close to half of their potential customers. There’s no profit in it. It’s just empty virtue signalling with zero upside. Stick to what you know, what you’re good at.

  • Chris W says:

    Well-said!

  • Doug Pardee says:

    Way to go Steve!

  • Mary says:

    Nice post. I take the optimistic view that the world will make better progress with the U.S. out of the Paris agreement. The GOP led Congress weakened the agreement when it was being negotiated. If we get out of the way, other world leaders may strengthen the agreement. And there are strong leaders at the state and city level as well as Corporate thought leaders in the U.S. who will continue to make progress on climate without the President’s "help". Thanks for your thoughts on the issue.