It was a slow news week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. But we here at The Slow Cook News Desk did detect a kind of symmetry to recent events.
For instance, any semblance of political leadership on critical issues seems to have flickered and died here in the U.S. of A. Efforts to make the Farm Bill an engine for change in the way America feeds itself foundered on politics as usual. Congress could not move the bill forward, as politicos--heads deep in the public trough--scraped and groveled for sources of money to fund the huge agricultural subsidies that remain the beating heart of this legislative monster.
Dan Rather, the former CBS news anchor, takes yet another look at those subsidies that have so much to do with why agri-business profits while Americans get fatter and sicker.
While Congress dithers, the United Nation's panel on climate change--recently awarded a co-share of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore--issued its latest and most dire report, saying that if drastic action is not taken by the world's powers within the next few years, we and the planet are, well, screwed.
The consequences of inaction, the panel said, constitute a global catastrophe, with island states submerged and abandoned, African crop yields down by 50 percent, a 5 percent decrease in global gross domestic product and many thousands of animal species wiped out.
“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late,” said Rajendra Pachauri, a scientist and economist who heads the UN panel. “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
As if on cue, a huge swarm of jellyfish, the likes of which had not been seen before--literally miles and miles of squirming and voracious jellyfish--attacked and destroyed Northern Ireland's only salmon farm.
"In 30 years, I've never seen anything like it," said John Russell, managing director of Northern Salmon Co. Ltd. "It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing."
Yet in our little corner of the globe, about a mile from the White House in the District of Columbia, Mother Nature goes about her business. Ttemperatures have dipped into the 30s, just above freezing, but inside our new compost pile--constructed of weeds and refuse from the garden, leaves and grass clippings from a neighborhood condominium complex--the thermometer registered almost 120 degrees.
Soil microbes, in other words, continue their work, oblivious to the flailings of humankind.