This arrived in my email inbox last evening:
Obama Response to Pollan Article!
"I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen [sic] about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board. For us to say we are just going to completely revamp how we use energy in a way that deals with climate change, deals with national security and drives our economy, that's going to be my number one priority when I get into office, assuming, obviously, that we have done enough to just stabilize the immediate economic situation."
But there's the rub... What will need to be done in the short term that will work against reform in the long term?
BTW - in passing a few days ago I heard a caller to public radio suggest Michael Pollan for secretary of agriculture. Maybe not - journalism turned advocacy seems to me a different set of skills than administration and planning - with advocacy, of course.
But is there a likely candidate who has the skills and knowledge but is not bought and sold by industrial ag? Is there someone who will renew the traditional connection between environmental concerns and agriculture? (Forestry, after all, is a part of the Department of Agriculture.)