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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - FEEDING THE WORLD

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 Post subject: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:34 am 
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I expect that the problem of feeding the world when fossil energy becomes scarce and when extreme weather events caused by global warming happen more often, has already been well aired on this forum, but without a solution a catastrophe might be only a few years away.
The worlds farming systems are now almost totally powered by diesel fuel. This fact and the use of nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides derived from ancient sunshine has allowed the world population to triple in the last 70 years, but as diesel fuel is finite and it's use produces co2 emissions, it would be a highly dangerous strategy to rely on as the population goes to 9 billion in about 40 years from now.
Our farming system has become a method of converting cheap, plentiful fossil calories in to food calories. When oil becomes expensive and scarce through depletion or geo-political events such as a mid east war, this system will fail, these converted calories will become unavailable and the world population will fall to a level that a system with less fossil energy inputs can sustain. This would mean mass starvation, especially in those countries with advanced farming systems, who also rely on imported oil.
I have posted a video on http://www.youtube.com/amptrac to help explain what I see as the problem and also one way to power farming without diesel. There might be better ways to do it, but we need to be thinking about them now so that they can be developed in time.


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:54 am 
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http://www.trunity.net/envsciClone/arti ... opic=81579

Changes in the productivity of the workforce illustrate the connections among energy, materials, and technological change. [Labor productivity] measures the quantity of goods and services that a person can produce per unit of time, such as the number of hamburgers produced per day by a cook. The more productive people are, the higher their income tends to be. International differences in per capita GDP are due in large part to international differences in productivity. Workers in developed nations are more productive than workers in developing nations. Similarly, the historical increase in affluence is due mainly to increases in productivity. In the United States, for example, a worker in a manufacturing industry, such as textiles or steel, produces over three times more textiles and steel than a worker in 1947. As a result, the average manufacturing wage today is more than $16.00 per hour compared to just $5.50 in 1947 when adjusted for inflation.

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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Peter Goodchild has written several articles on Population and Oil.
Here is the latest;
http://www.countercurrents.org/goodchild031012.htm

More big things that affect future yields are aquifer depletion, soil depletion, and AGW effects. (Even for back yard growing!!)
Such a drag, we need a spot of humor----or is it ironic reality???

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Last edited by Johhny Electriglide on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:36 pm 
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there is always making your own food like we used to do. Greenhouse technology can help but you still have to get your hands dirty. I have seen a family of North Korean refugees move to Canada in February and grow the back yard into a garden that feeds 25 people that lived in the house and and 1/3 of the food was also sold... this is a small back yard in a city that was snow-covered grass before they moved in. With some know-how, you can grow a lot in a very small area (and this is without any technology... imagine adding a greenhouse to those North Koreans' back yard)


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:40 am 
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Johhny Electriglide, Thanks for the Peter Goodchild link.
Very interesting. As a farmer seeing the fantastic speed that modern machines work, with precision guidence and also the accurate application of fertilizer and pesticide inputs, I just can't imagine an easy return to cutting corn and wheat by hand or with animals and then drying in the field. Things would have to be really desperate to get millions of workers in to the fields and they would be fairly useless to begin with.
Still, if that is a better solution than using renewable energy, we need to be preparing for that now.

Ann Vole,
I agree that a lot of food can be grown on a small area by very skilled people, but to feed 25 people from a small yard and selling off one third must be really difficult, especially in Canada with a short growing season.
But if that is possible, we should be finding how it's done so that it can be copied in years to come.


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:21 pm 
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In the "feeding 25 people from the back yard", I can only wonder if that really was totally feeding them or just feeding them vegetables, certainly NOT total nutrition. What are they doing to replenish the soil??? How about the occupancy laws?? Do they allow immigrants to live in crowded hovels like that? Yuck!

http://www.evfit.com/population_max.htm

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Last edited by Johhny Electriglide on Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:59 am 
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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:21 am 
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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:18 am 
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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:21 pm 
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"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”― Chief Seattle
“Those Who Have the Privilege to Know Have the Duty to Act”…Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:58 am 
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Why feed the world? Overpopulation is stripping the habitat of rare and valuable wildlife species.
AIDS and war are the only population controlling factors in central Africa.


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:24 pm 
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"With every decision, think seven generations ahead of the consequences of your actions" Ute rule of life.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”― Chief Seattle
“Those Who Have the Privilege to Know Have the Duty to Act”…Albert Einstein


Last edited by Johhny Electriglide on Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:02 pm 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _footprint

Biocapacity is around 1.8 global hectares per capita but ave. footprint is 2.7, which means even the current population is now at overshoot.

Cuba has an ave. footprint of 1.85, which is close to biocapacity. The U.S. and some European countries have an ave. footprint of 8.0, which is almost four times that of the world ave.


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:39 pm 
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Why should we supply food to overpopulated areas? They will then have the strength to reproduce more of the same.
"Feeding the world" is not only stupid it is destructive.


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 Post subject: Re: FEEDING THE WORLD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:33 pm 
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