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Climate Change Is Affecting Farmers. We Can Fight It at the Ballot Box

Drought damage on the Fresno Harlen Ranch in Fresno, CA in 2014. USDA photo by Cynthia Mendoza

By John Russell

Sometimes climate change can feel like someone else's problem—we read about stronger hurricanes hitting our coasts or wildfires raging across California and think 'well, it's a good thing that I live here and not there.' The truth is, climate change is everyone's problem, and it's already impacting Ohio. But we have a way to fight it.


I live in Central Ohio, where I've been farming my land for five years now. In that time, I've learned that the weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The problem right now is that weather is becoming more and more extreme. Once-a-century weather events are now happening every few years. Right now, one part of our state is in drought while other parts of our state flood. These events are becoming increasingly common.

John Russell

All of that makes life a lot harder for me and other farmers like me. On my farm, we mainly grow produce. With too much rain, our crops suffer. Erratic weather patterns caused by a warming climate make extreme weather events more likely. And that's not good news when your income depends on the weather.

I'm not alone. I know a lot of farmers who've struggled to manage in the face of extreme weather. Costs go up and profits fall. Hiring employees becomes a luxury. Every bill gets that much harder to pay. Two-thirds of the people in this country can't afford a $400 emergency expense despite working harder than ever. The richest country in the world can do better.

That's why we need to act now—before it's too late. Rural areas might struggle at times, but they're a great place to call home and they deserve the chance to thrive. What is the future of small-town America if making a living working the land becomes impossible?

Big problems require big solutions. We need to act now and choose leaders who will support solutions that match the scale of the climate challenge—solutions like taxing polluters and refunding the money directly to citizens. Now is our chance to rise to the occasion, as Americans always have, and confront the generational challenge of climate change. And if our leaders will not rise to meet that challenge, then we must stand up to lead ourselves.

There are a lot of complex and technical solutions to climate change, but the most powerful solution is simple—it's voting. Our current leaders are pretending that this problem will go away. But it won't until we get involved in our political system and make our voices heard. That's why my friends and I are supporting leaders who will act on climate change—and you should too.

In the video below talks about the impact of unpredictable weather patterns on his crops.

Watch:

John Russell: I'm A Climate Voter www.youtube.com

John Russell is a farmer from Galena, Ohio. To learn more about John and other young voters supporting climate leaders, click here.

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