From Organic Consumers: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23829.cfm
By Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association, August 24, 2011
So-called “business as usual” is neither sustainable, nor even possible, for much longer. Out-of-control energy corporations, Wall Street, the Pentagon, agribusiness/biotech corporations, and indentured politicians have driven us to the brink. They tell us: don’t worry; trust the experts, things will soon return to “normal.” But reality and common sense tell a different story.
Extreme weather, crop failures, commodities speculation, land grabs, escalating prices, soil degradation, depleted aquifers, routine contamination, food-related disease, and mass hunger represent the “new norm” for food and farming. The global agricultural system, with the exception of the rapidly growing organic sector, rests upon a shaky foundation. Patented seeds, genetically engineered crops, expensive and destructive chemical and energy-intensive inputs, factory farms, monoculture production, eroding soils, unsustainable water use, taxpayer subsidies, and long-distance hauling and distribution, including massive imports that amount to 15% of the U.S. food supply amount to a recipe for disaster.
A “perfect storm” or “ultimate recession” as described by Lester Brown in his new book, World on the Edge, could develop at any time, precipitated by extreme weather and crop failures on a massive scale. A growing number of nations, including the oil giants and China, are now scrambling to secure overseas farmland to feed their domestic populations. World grocers and supermarkets, including the U.S., have, on the average, only a four-day supply of food on hand. An oil shock, global disease pandemic, prolonged drought in the American heartland, or nuclear meltdown could set off a global food panic. Supermarket shelves and grain silos would be stripped bare within a short period of time. Have you thought about this? Are you and those in your local community ready for this?
Peak Food, Peak Oil, Peak Water, Peak Soil
World grain reserves amount to less than 75 days of supply. Harvests of strategic food grains and cereals have basically leveled off or even decreased, with enormous amounts of acreage now providing fuel for cars instead of food for people. At the same time, affordable fossil fuel energy supplies have peaked (Peak Oil), with the world increasingly dependent on “extreme” oil and natural gas extraction (deep sea and Arctic drilling, tar sands, and fracking), accelerating the prices of petroleum-based farm inputs, as well as food distribution and processing costs. Billions of people in the Global South are now spending 50-70% of their household income on food (although in the U.S. it is only 11%). Hydrologists and agronomists warn that Peak Water is fast approaching, when the already limited availability of water from underground aquifers for crop irrigation exponentially decreases. Peak Soil is also fast approaching, with soil erosion and desertification already degrading 25% of the earth’s land. Peak Soil is directly related to unsustainable farming and forestry practices, including heavy pesticide use, chemical fertilizers, genetically engineered mono-crops, and non-sustainable grazing and clear-cutting. Meanwhile global population numbers (in direct relation to poverty and lack of education for women) and demand for food (especially meat and animal products) are accelerating.
Of course, we could go on and on, citing the ever more disturbing information we read every day in the mainstream media and on the Internet. But the life or death question is: what are we going to do about it?
Continue reading at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23829.cfm