Loss of peaches is scary idea

Published 12:29 am Wednesday, January 16, 2008

By Staff
I can't comprehend a world without Chilton County peaches.
They've been the staple of my summer diet since I moved to Alabama to go to college almost 15 years ago.
So a story in Sunday's Mobile Press-Register about a Samford professor's study of how climate change could affect Alabama crops caught my attention quickly. Larry Davenport writes that those wonderful sweet peaches could be a memory one day if the state becomes too hot to grow them.
Larry Davenport admits in the story that his theories are untested, but he's hoping that researchers will focus more attention on the issue.
Theories about climate change and global warming often get buried in political rhetoric or become so scientifically complex that most of us don't pay attention.
But if melting polar ice caps don't alarm us, perhaps the thought of losing Chilton County peaches - or whatever part of Alabama's vegetation you hold dear - will.
My high school biology education can't even begin to comprehend the reasons for climate change. Most scientists believe humans are in some way to blame; others believe it's a natural order for the planet.
But almost all agree that it is happening, and we're going to have to learn to adapt. And apparently that could mean doing without Chilton County peaches - and Escambia County blueberries and Mobile satsumas.
If climate change does cause those problems, they would be far into the future, Davenport writes. But whether it's our doing or nature's or some combination, future generations are going to have to figure out how to adapt to changes in the environment. Unfortunately, those changes may be happening more quickly than just the natural evolution of the generations can handle.
I'd love for my children and their children and their children to enjoy those Chilton County peaches I love so much. Maybe I should freeze some this summer.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 251-867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.