“But the largest problem is irrigated agriculture,” Jean Moran, professor of earth and environmental science at California State University, told Julia Scott of the San Francisco Chronicle. In some cases, crops absorb only one half of the applied nitrogen, leaving residues to pollute rivers, lakes and oceans as runoff, or to seep into sources of drinking water. And yet, there are no regulations on how much chemical fertilizers farmers can apply to their fields.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up