Comedy Break, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society — by Marc Roberts February 28, 2009
Click for full view. Courtesy: Throbgoblins
The media don’t take this stuff seriously. It’s not good for business and it’s simply not sexy – so no matter that we’re pumping it out faster than ever or that we’re going to be left holding frazzled stalks of nowt come harvest time – we’ll wait untill we’re staring down the barrel before we think about dodging the bullet. We’ll sell more ads that way.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 20, 2009
Imagine a United States President that was aware – aware of Peak Oil (and all that this means for our ability to feed ourselves), aware of Peak Soil, aware of Peak Water, aware of the health implications of industrial agriculture, a system that locks us into a cycle of stupidity and is doomed to fail us in every way. Imagine a President that realised that we’re facing an economic and environmental crisis without precedent, where consumer demands will soon become far simpler than they have been – where the desire for cheap electronics and holidays is already giving way to the more pressing need to put affordable food on the table. Such a President might be tempted to set an example to his nation (and, indeed, the world) with the land at his disposal, might he not?
During WWII, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a large Victory Garden on the White House lawn, inspiring millions of Americans by her example. If ever there was a time to inspire citizens with the potential of their lawns to solve a great many problems – now is that time!
Click here to sign the petition to urge the Obamas to ‘Eat the View’.Comments (3)
Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Education Centres, Food Shortages, Society, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 14, 2009
Today we are pleased to talk to a very interesting man – a man on a very interesting mission; on what he describes as “the path to freedom”, where he escapes being part of the problem, to become part of the solution. Before we get started, watch the following ABC clip to get an idea of his work, and then we’ll hear from the man himself.
Craig Mackintosh: Thank you Jules. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your work. Most of our readers will have watched the YouTube movie above, so will have an inkling of what Path to Freedom is about, but I wonder if you could fill in any pertinent details the short news report may have left out, so as to round out our grasp of what you’re doing today?Comments (0)
Deforestation, Food Shortages, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Earth Policy Institute February 13, 2009
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
As land and water become scarce, competition for these vital resources intensifies within societies, particularly between the wealthy and those who are poor and dispossessed. The shrinkage of life-supporting resources per person that comes with population growth is threatening to drop the living standards of millions of people below the survival level, leading to potentially unmanageable social tensions.
Access to land is a prime source of social tension. Expanding world population has cut the grainland per person in half, from 0.23 hectares in 1950 to 0.10 hectares in 2007. One tenth of a hectare is half of a building lot in an affluent U.S. suburb. This ongoing shrinkage of grainland per person makes it difficult for the world’s farmers to feed the 70 million people added to world population each year. The shrinkage in cropland per person not only threatens livelihoods; in largely subsistence societies, it threatens survival itself. Tensions within communities begin to build as landholdings shrink below that needed for survival.Comments (0)
Food Shortages, Population, peak oil — by Dale Allen Pfeiffer February 12, 2009
Editor’s Note: The most significant ‘gift’ globalisaton has given to the world is the ‘Green Revolution’, the post-WWII industrialisation of agriculture. It is credited with saving millions from famine. Indeed, Norman Borlaug, the ‘father of the Green Revolution’, was given a Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to increasing food production. However, many people challenge the wisdom behind his work. The article below ably describes why the Green Revolution may have pushed billions of people out onto a rather fragile limb — it may well end up killing many more people that it has saved. This examination is timely, thought-provoking, and just plain scary. After reading it, you may feel the urge to get the gardening gloves out.
by Dale Allen Pfeiffer, originally published on FromTheWilderness.com, October 2003
Human beings (like all other animals) draw their energy from the food they eat. Until the last century, all of the food energy available on this planet was derived from the sun through photosynthesis. Either you ate plants or you ate animals that fed on plants, but the energy in your food was ultimately derived from the sun.
It would have been absurd to think that we would one day run out of sunshine. No, sunshine was an abundant, renewable resource, and the process of photosynthesis fed all life on this planet. It also set a limit on the amount of food that could be generated at any one time, and therefore placed a limit upon population growth. Solar energy has a limited rate of flow into this planet. To increase your food production, you had to increase the acreage under cultivation, and displace your competitors. There was no other way to increase the amount of energy available for food production. Human population grew by displacing everything else and appropriating more and more of the available solar energy.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Insects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 5, 2009
Preamble: The issue of massive bee die-offs was hot in the mainstream media news last year, but now it seems they’ve moved on to more ‘interesting’ things…. Despite the lack of recent coverage, this extremely serious issue is not going away. About a year and a half ago I wrote the article below, and since the content of the post is still very relevant, and as it attracted a lot of attention at the time (before the administrators lost them all through website adjustments, it had attracted more than 200 comments – from beekeepers, scientists, gardeners and other interested people), I thought I’d post it again here to bring some attention back to this subject. The beautiful thing about Permaculture is it is completely holistic in nature. Industry and reductionist science tend to look at things in isolation, thus never seeing the bigger picture. The article below is an attempt to join the dots. Unless we take a broad view of the impacts of our industrial systems, we will never find solutions to such potentially cataclysmic problems as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Our previous posts on the mysterious bee disappearances have been a very interesting exercise. We’ve had great feedback from farmers, amateur and professional beekeepers, scientists, and dozens of other interested/concerned observers. In the meantime, accumulating reports tell us that the problem is not constrained to the U.S. alone – but that, to one degree or another, empty hives are becoming common in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, and now the UK.Comments (4)
DVDs/Books, Food Shortages — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 27, 2009
It’s time to pull the world back
from the brink — we can do it!
We live in interesting times, don’t we? We’re currently witnessing a convergence of problems that threaten life as we know it, not to mention our sanity. I say our sanity, as sometimes it can feel that the societal changes needed are on such a scale, and our embedded infrastructure is so established and inflexible, that we can feel like a helpless, captive audience — just along for the roller coaster ride (where the roller coaster is being maintained by a crew focused only on short-term gain…). Those of us with children fear for their future. Indeed, we wonder what life will be like for ourselves over the coming few years, let alone the next couple of decades.
But at the same time as we’re having apocalyptic visions, we’re also seeing a heightened awareness of, and desire for, solutions, and an eagerness and sense of urgency to implement them.Comments (5)
Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 21, 2009
When you make your purchases, are you struggling over the decision to ’shop local’ or ’support the poor in distant lands’? If so, read this.
I had been meaning to make a post on the subject of ‘Food Miles, or Fair Miles’, and finding this article from Reuters provided an ideal vehicle to do so. Please consider the following:Comments (2)
Compost, Food Shortages, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Marcin Gerwin January 14, 2009
Part One: Closing the Phosphorus Cycle
It might sound ridiculous, but for every container of bananas, coffee, tea or cocoa imported, we should send back a shipment of a fluffy, earth-like smelling compost. Why is that? With each container of food we import nutrients taken up by plants from the soil. We import calcium, potassium, magnesium, boron, iron, zinc, molybdenum, copper and many others. One of the essential elements imported in food is phosphorus. For every ton of bananas we import 0.3 kg of phosphorus, for every ton of cocoa it’s 5 kg and for ton of coffee it’s 3.3 kg of phosphorus. Tea is a bit more complicated, because the amount of phosphorus depends on the origin of tea – for example in 1 ton of tea leaves harvested in Sri Lanka there are some 3.5 kg of phosphorus, while tea from South India contains 6.6 kg of phosphorus (1).Comments (6)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Food Shortages, People Systems, Population, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Chuck Burr January 5, 2009
We are no more able to find our way forward living as Homo modern as we are living as Homo hunter-gatherer. Both ways are blocked. Living today on the infinite growth treadmill as Homo modern results in the death of our planet. Homo sapien has exploded our population to a level that we can no longer run back into the forest to make a living like the Mayan did. So what are we to do?
The question is actually, not “what are we going to do?”, but is “how are we going to make a living?” First lets rule out the obvious, we can no longer make a living as Homo consumer. Peak oil will put an end to our happy motoring and consuming lifestyle before we get the chance to consume the world.Comments (1)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Musical Interlude, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 15, 2008Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 7, 2008
Peer pressure, national pride, and
legal mandates worked together
against the common evil
It’s an unusual title, I know – but bear with me.
If you were to personify global warming, to literally morph it into some kind of effigy – something you could tie to a stake in the town square, and throw cabbages, or rocks at – what would the guy look like?
I guess the degree of grotesquery in your visualisation would largely depend on where in the world you live, and to what extent this ‘person’ has adversely influenced your life, although in some ways it could be easy to conjure an image of one of last century’s most notorious, infamous villains – Adolf Hitler. Couldn’t it?Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 14, 2008
A recently released study, the largest of its kind, examines the root causes of, and solutions for, a food crisis that will likely get much worse before it gets better — and that will never get better if we continue with business as usual
No, not because I don’t have enough food to eat, but because I’m too busy typing and too lazy to walk to the refrigerator. How I wish it were this simple for the people I keep reading about.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 12, 2008
Most underestimate the implications…
Through our Hollywood-tinted glasses we’re accustomed to happy endings. The instinctive “it won’t happen to me” mentality is alive and well, but, whilst perhaps preserving the comfortable status quo (if not our sanity), it does little to promote objectivity. In a world threatened by global warming, potential constructive accomplishments are thus too often hampered and bogged down in the realm of discourse and debate.
In plain English – we need to get real.
On this note, check out the following clip. Richard Heinburg, the author of the book “Powering Down“, has much to say on possible strategies, or failing that, outcomes, for our post peak-oil world. I think it’s time we really examine, not just computer climate models – but societal projections.Comments (0)
Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Conservation, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 27, 2008
Today I’d like to introduce you to a (well written and beautifully presented) report, titled – ‘The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture‘ (55 page, 2.4mb PDF). The title says it all. Should you be concerned? Yes.
Your concern, however, should not be that the globalised industrial agribusiness model will collapse – this is not only inevitable, but also necessary, and, might I add, desirable – the focus should instead be on when and how it will fall.
Let me explain.
If you were to ask the Average Joe what is the largest contributor to global warming, many will say cars, trucks and aeroplanes – or coal fired power plants. While these are large contributors, they cannot compete with the largest, yet mostly overlooked contribution from our present system of farming and global food trading. Global warming is primarily due to agriculture. Indeed, much of the above-stated contributors are merely essential aspects in maintaining the globalised agricultural model:Comments (0)