Sun-Reflecting Crops May Help Cool the Planet

light through corn leaves photo

Photo via reebs'

British researchers have determined that if farmers were to plant crops that reflect more sunlight back into space, the effect would cool the earth enough to impact and deter heat waves and droughts.

We think they might be missing the bigger picture.The idea is that certain food crops have varieties with more reflective leaves. By growing the reflective varieties instead, the earth could be cooled down a bit.

Using a global climate model, they found this strategy could cool much of Europe, North America and parts of North Asia by up to one degree Celsius during the summer growing season, enough to make a difference in easing heat waves and drought.

It would also translate into a 20 percent reduction in a predicted five degree Celsius temperature rise for the region by the end of the century, Andy Ridgwell and colleagues said in the journal Current Biology.

It's certainly an interesting proposal and one worth looking into further. But there's a bigger picture also worth looking at. The way we produce food on the whole needs to change in order to slow global warming. Practicing smaller-scale localized farming and changing to 100-mile diets, reforesting areas cleared for large-scale agriculture, using water-conserving irrigation systems, and eliminating pesticides and fertilizers made from fossil fuels all would have more significant impacts on keeping the globe cool than planting crops with waxier leaves.

Via Reuters
More on Farming Practices:
Living On The 100 Miles Diet
The Future of Farming
Food and Farming After Peak Oil: BBC Wales Takes a Long Hard Look
Eating Local Food: The Movement, Locavores and More

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