Category: Food Shortages

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity – Chapter 1, Food: The Weak Link

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold. 1 The abrupt rise in world […]

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Compost Toilets in Haiti

A student I had recently in my short course in California sent me a link to an award-winning NGO working in Haiti called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — a nonprofit working within the country performing truly beneficial work, utilizing compost toilets to deal with the perennial problem of waste management. In the following clip SOIL’s Co-Founder & Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, provides an excellent, well-contextualized explanation of her […]

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New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilizations

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold. This new era is one of […]

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Overfishing Threatens Critical Link in the Food Chain

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute The fish near the bottom of the aquatic food chain are often overlooked, but they are vital to healthy oceans and estuaries. Collectively known as forage fish, these species—including sardines, anchovies, herrings, and shrimp-like crustaceans called krill—feed on plankton and become food themselves for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Historically, people have eaten many of these fish, too, of course. But as […]

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Betting on Extinction

Ladbroke’s is offering odds on fish populations collapsing; the government is shortening them. by George Monbiot I’ve come across some odd ways to make a living, but few as strange as this. The gambling company Ladbrokes has been offering odds on the conservation status of various fish species. Until last night it was taking bets on mackerel; recently it has encouraged people to punt on the survival prospects of stocks […]

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How Tight is the Link Between Oil, Food and Population?

The linkage is this tight: In this graph "grain" is the world’s annual production of rice, wheat and corn, "oil" is the global production of all petroleum liquids, and people are people. I normalized the numbers so that they all start off from an index of 100 in 1985. This is a standard technique that makes the relationship between the three elements visible. It’s obvious at a glance that food, […]

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Prepared for Disaster

Editor’s Note: The PRI Sunshine Coast starts their next Internship on February 11, 2013. Get in quick! After being flooded in again recently (an at least once a year occurrence), this time with PDC students and volunteers on the property, we are very happy we are somewhat prepared…. by PRI Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia Our road floods on both sides of our property Disaster is a word that strikes fear […]

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Dr. Vandana Shiva on Just Food

This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share. Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of […]

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Global Grain Stocks Drop Dangerously Low as 2012 Consumption Exceeded Production

by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute The world produced 2,241 million tons of grain in 2012, down 75 million tons or 3 percent from the 2011 record harvest. The drop was largely because of droughts that devastated several major crops—namely corn in the United States (the world’s largest crop) and wheat in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Australia. Each of these countries also is an important exporter. Global grain consumption fell […]

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Field Notes From Amazonia

by Noah Sabich, Eco-Ola The placement of your feet on the wooden boards is essential; frequent use and infrequent maintenance have rendered the steep stairwell a treacherous walkway down to the docks. This is the port of Iquitos, Peru. It is a central location that gives access to the tributaries of the Amazon River. Its odor betrays its neglect. Interfluvial commerce and a growing population in the city of Iquitos […]

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A World Without Water

The World Bank believes in water privatisation like in the way that other people believe in Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha. The World Bank believes in water privatisation as a matter of theology. — Jim Schultz, Cochabamba Democracy Centre The law of supply and demand has been the basis of economic activity for millennia. In the context of our present economy, with its skewed, profit-centric priorities, this means that scarcity is […]

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China’s Rising Soybean Consumption Reshaping Western Agriculture

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute Where was once pristine Amazon rainforest, soybean harvesters march across the landscape instead Global demand for soybeans has soared in recent decades, with China leading the race. Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans entering international trade today go to China, making it far and away the world’s largest importer. The soybean was domesticated some 3,000 years ago by farmers in eastern China. But […]

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