Columnist Carl Kline

Donald Trump’s climate record is horrible

By Carl Kline


Posted 6/10/24


Last year my wife found a raised garden bed on sale at a local store. She purchased it. The one problem was, it came in a big box in pieces. You had to put it together. I expect she knew …

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Columnist Carl Kline

Donald Trump’s climate record is horrible


Last year my wife found a raised garden bed on sale at a local store. She purchased it. The one problem was, it came in a big box in pieces. You had to put it together. I expect she knew she could do the job if she had to, knowing my lack of skills. I’m not the most talented construction engineer. Still, I applied myself, and to my surprise, got all the pieces in the right place. I was able to plant it that first year. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much vegetable production; in fact there was so little, I can’t even remember what I planted.

This year is a different story. The raised bed is so full of thriving green and purple lettuce leaves there’s no room for anything else. We are eating a green salad every night for dinner and unable to keep up with the production. A neighbor was invited to help herself.

The tomatoes are in the ground. Three have buds already. There are five different varieties, 17 plants in all. (So many I had to buy five new cages. I love tomatoes). One variety at the greenhouse I found intriguing, as it didn’t have the usual colorful marker with information about it; how long it takes till fruit appears and what the fruit is like. All it said on the hand-made marker stuck in the pot was “German.” So we will see how a German tomato does in a Brookings backyard bed.

Most of the cucumbers this year will likely come from a bush. Since my experience with training them to climb a trellis has been less than successful, only one will be taught to climb. The others will have to function without support. Here’s hoping they will be productive, as tomato sandwiches need a cucumber to complete the meal.

The raised bed can be moved if necessary to provide more shade or sunshine. That doesn’t work when vegetables are in the ground. Sometimes I think my tomatoes aren’t getting enough sun because of the nearby trees. Then I think about how hot it is getting on the planet and decide the sometimes shade may be just fine.

After reading a previous column I wrote on climate change this past May, a friend wrote me from Florida. He told me he usually walks at nine in the morning. On that morning as he walked, it was 104 degrees. He complained,”It’s not even summer yet.” I’m hearing the same concern from friends in Arizona, California, Texas, Mexico; and across the waters in India.

According to a Pew survey in 2023, some 61% of people in this country say climate change is affecting their local community. Even more would like to see us move toward renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. Younger people are more likely to favor a quicker movement toward renewables. One doesn’t wonder why. They have to live with what’s coming.

But so do we! There is a new window air conditioner in our dining room window. With a fan on the floor on the other side of the room, we hope to blow cool air into our sitting room. The fan in the upstairs bedroom needs repair, as the cord broke and it can’t be turned on. If the summer is sweltering, as is likely, since every year just gets hotter and hotter, we will find ways to manage. But if the summer heat messes up my tomatoes, I’m going to be very disturbed. That’s bringing climate change home with a vengeance. I can only imagine if I farmed and my livelihood depended on it, and the heat dried up my whole crop.

There are any number of reasons why Donald Trump frightens me. Recently, I listened to a psychologist being interviewed who believes he is suffering from the initial stages of dementia. I don’t know about that. But I do know Trump has called climate change a “hoax;” has promised to roll back all the environmental regulations passed by the Biden administration to begin “greening” the economy; has asked the oil and gas barons for a billion dollars for his campaign chest; intends to withdraw again from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and expects to “drill, baby, drill.”

But the most basic reason he won’t get my vote, and I’ll encourage others not to vote for him, is closer to home. (It’s not even his felony convictions and constant lying).

It’s my tomatoes. His attitudes and policies won’t help my tomatoes (and cucumbers), let alone my grandchildren and their children. As the climate continues to grow hotter, we will all understand climate change closer to home, maybe in our own backyard.