How do we achieve balance?
I tend to think of balance in terms of daily habits. Did I get enough sleep last night? Did I take enough steps? Did I have healthy meals?
But, maybe balance isn't achieved through day-to-day decisions. Maybe it's something achieved in the long term. It takes trial and error. It involves learning and evolving. It requires comfort with complexity.
My values this week are persistence and adaptivity. As we discussed in class and saw in The Biggest Little Farm, farming is far from an easy profession. You have to get up early, do hard physical labour, and manage new problems every day. Even when you do everything right...there is no guarantee of success. You can lose everything.
But when you persist and adapt, the results eventually come. In both The Biggest Little Farm and Kiss the Ground, independent farmers were successful when going against traditional wisdom. While an unconventional rewilding approach resulted in significant early setbacks, John and Molly Chester ultimately built a successful, self-regulating farm. After four seasons with virtually no crops, Gabe Brown changed to a more productive regenerative ranching approach, without tillage or the use of any synthetics.
I envision a world where policy encourages adaptive long-term farming practices. One of the main pitfalls we fall into when addressing environmental issues is providing short-term solutions. However, the potential of long-term solutions, such as rewilding and regenerative ranching, seems quite limited. How can we implement such practices at a larger scale? Won't more land be needed?
We won't know until we try.
My proposed intervention is for governments to provide subsidies for local farmers engaging in long-term agricultural experiments. By incentivizing experiments that test the efficacy of sustainable agricultural practices at a local level, more cost-efficient yet sustainable solutions may be identified that can be adopted at an industrial level. The money to fund such experiments would be drawn from subsidies given to major industrial agricultural companies. While such companies would lobby heavily against this idea, it would be an effective compromise. Companies may suffer financially in the short term from less subsidies, but will recuperate costs in the long-term from the insights gained through experimentation.