Free Earth Day Talk Saturday

Earth Day

Paul Hain, 63, owns and operates Hain Ranch Organics, a 20-acre organic walnut farm on Tres Pinos Creek near Hollister and was a lifelong Republican until the nomination of Donald Trump.
Trump’s attitude toward the environment changed his vote for the first time.
“Sometimes regulations can be too much,” Hain said. “But, there are other businesses out there, who pollute the Earth to make money.”
Saturday Hain will be a featured speaker at “A Closer Look at Climate Change,” a free Earth Day presentation about the environment at 2 p.m. in the Community Room at Gilroy Library, designed to provide a deeper look at the critical issues involving climate change. The other speakers featured are Dr. Kola Wamba, a professional physicist who teaches at Gavilan College and DeVry University and environmental communications specialist Kendall Sooter.
Other than the various shifting stances taken by the president, Hain was dismayed by potential changes in the EPA and the accelerated approval of the Dakota Pipeline. Hain cites the melting polar icecaps as proof of climate change and he’s working hard on his ranch to do his part in reversing the damage that has already been done.
“It’s a fact that the amount of carbon in our atmosphere is at a level where more weather extremes become common. It’s a long-term effect, but it’s something that we need to accept and if we can plan for it and also mitigate it, we’ll be much better off,” Hain said.
Hain works to improve the soil and to build natural flood prevention along Tres Pinos Creek to help the environment.
“We’re building our soil to hold more atmospheric carbon through adding compost to our walnut orchard,” he said. “We’re also doing restoration work along the Tres Pinos Creek to make it increase its water holding capability and store more carbon, increasing the vegetation benefits the natural habitat and sequesters more carbon for the long term.”
Hain was invited to offer a practical, rather than an academic, view on climate change and how organic farming techniques can be both environmentally friendly and profitable. A lifelong farmer, Hain adopted organic farming in 1993, originally as an attempt to boost profits.
Hain observed organic farming techniques from another farmer and was amazed by the profit. After connecting with CCOF in Santa Cruz, a nonprofit organization that promotes organic farming, Hain learned techniques that he could bring to his ranch.
“At first it was about the money. Then I found out it was more fun and was better for the planet,” Hain said.
Hain applies natural compost, such as manure, hay and high peat to fix the nitrogen contents of the soil, from an earlier era of farming.
While Hain finds it difficult to pinpoint exactly how climate change has affected California, he sees recent extreme weather as a link to climate change.
“Heavy rainfall and flooding have always happened here. But this year’s weather was abnormally extreme,” Hain said.
Hain believes that food grown organically is the tastier, healthier option as compared to food grown conventionally. Despite the higher costs of buying organic food at the store, he believes the overall positive health benefits compensate for the higher costs.
“Studies show that the nutrition content of food is not what it used to be because the food is being produced in soil without sufficient carbon. We’re committed to organic foods. We think it’s more nutritious and tastes better,” Hain said. “It’s better to pay up front for something more nutritious and helps your long-term health later on.”

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