Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Blueberry Blues

Washington is 4th among states in total U.S. blueberry production. But Mexico’s blueberry industry, already the world’s 3rd largest exporter, is “surging north." Anti-immigrant policies and water shortages due to prolonged droughts are encouraging growers, like Driscoll’s, to move south of the border.

Blueberries aren’t the only Washington ‘crop’ moving to more favorable climes. CO2-produced ocean acidification caused oysters to start dying by the billions along the Northwest coast in 2005, and the industry has been struggling ever since. Some oyster hatcheries have already moved to Hawaii. Washington’s shellfish industry is hurting.

The snowpack at many locations in the Cascades is as low as people at USDA have seen for this time of year. That spells trouble for Washington growers in the summer when farms, fish, and people are all competing for an increasingly scarce water resource.

There are real impacts from a warming planet and they affect real people. Studies have shown unequivocally that we can reduce CO2 emissions and boost the economy (e.g., see REMI, June 9, 2014). Get on board! Support Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, and other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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