Activism Discussion: Worst Food Crisis In 30 Years: Agrobiz, Peak Oil, Falling Grain Stocks, Livestock, And A Degraded Production Base

Worst Food Crisis In 30 Years: Agrobiz, Peak Oil, Falling Grain Stocks, Livestock, And A Degraded Production Base
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I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-09-03 22:45:08 EST
Worst Food Crisis in 30 years: Agrobiz, Peak Oil, Falling Grain Stocks,
Livestock, and a degraded production base

The hungry planet
As stocks run out and harvests fail, the world faces its worst crisis
for 30 years

By Geoffrey Lean
Published: 03 September 2006

Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the
world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show
that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone
on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so
far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better
times - but these have now fallen below the danger level.

Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get
cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more
expensive.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department
of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of
the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain
harvest will fall for the second successive year.

The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be
published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last
week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from
2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's
appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.

The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This
would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's
people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast,
farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food
stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999
to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the
official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent
this year.

The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the
harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and
Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's
hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation
in Africa or Asia.

Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become
increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not
enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.

The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis,
in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as
Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in
which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow
humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved
to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that
"within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".

Yet, [THREE decades later] , more than 800 million people worldwide are
still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at
least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food
crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years
running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below
consumption only three times, compared to six now.

It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever
since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly
warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.

Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected
Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the
world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in
the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old
tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in
southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.

Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in
the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club -
"the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who
harvested that amount per acre.

Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research
to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name
to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be
sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed
dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30
tons of tomatoes per acre.

That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as
a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they
have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630
million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15
years, to around 2 billion tons.

"The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a
remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they
increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during
the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world
has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."

[What is left unsaid here is that massive use of fossil fuels for
fertilizers
has been a large part of the increase in productivity...which not only
has put
the entire life supporting climate into a danger zone, but, climate
dangers aside,
it's a party that will soon be over, with fossil fuels peaking in the
near future,
see www.peakoil.com -ED]

Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of
boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this,
too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and
farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted
by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen
by more than half.

There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in
the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to
feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.

It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in
poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's
increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly,
cars.

The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the
prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference,
partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As
people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are
slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce
2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the
world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.

Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to
produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted
in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol -
strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert
criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown,
uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the
amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells
abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor -
countries.

>From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed
exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed
poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in
the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.

This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of
grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers.
Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they
simply cannot afford to do so.

Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land
becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global
warming cuts harvests.

Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but
the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and
especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way
to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops
in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows
that this can double yields.

But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close
to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they
respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food
security."

Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the
world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show
that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone
on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so
far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better
times - but these have now fallen below the danger level.

Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get
cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more
expensive.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department
of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of
the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain
harvest will fall for the second successive year.

The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be
published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last
week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from
2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's
appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.

The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This
would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's
people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast,
farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food
stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999
to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the
official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent
this year.

The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the
harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and
Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's
hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation
in Africa or Asia.

Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become
increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not
enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.

The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis,
in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as
Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in
which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow
humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved
to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that
"within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".

Yet, a generation later, more than 800 million people worldwide are
still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at
least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food
crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years
running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below
consumption only three times, compared to six now.

It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever
since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly
warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.

Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected
Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the
world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in
the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old
tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in
southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.

Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in
the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club -
"the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who
harvested that amount per acre.

Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research
to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name
to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be
sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed
dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30
tons of tomatoes per acre.

That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as
a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they
have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630
million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15
years, to around 2 billion tons.

"The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a
remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they
increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during
the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world
has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."

Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of
boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this,
too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and
farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted
by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen
by more than half.

There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in
the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to
feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.

It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in
poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's
increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly,
cars.

The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the
prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference,
partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As
people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are
slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce
2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the
world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.

Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to
produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted
in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol -
strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert
criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown,
uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the
amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells
abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor -
countries.

>From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed
exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed
poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in
the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.

This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of
grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers.
Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they
simply cannot afford to do so.

Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land
becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global
warming cuts harvests.

Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but
the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and
especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way
to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops
in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows
that this can double yields.

But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close
to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they
respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food
security."


http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1325467.ece

=============

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Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
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Roger Coppock
2006-09-03 23:25:51 EST
The greening earth has arrived. CO2 is enriching plant life.
Food is so plentiful, it's too cheep to sell, so they'll just give
it away.

No wonder the fossil fool shut down their "Greening Earth
Society" website and stopped selling their videos promising
a bountiful CO2 enriched future. Over the last 10 years,
reality has caught up with their failed predictions. Please see:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/wiki.phtml?title=Greening_Earth_Society


i*o@economicdemocracy.org wrote:
> Worst Food Crisis in 30 years: Agrobiz, Peak Oil, Falling Grain Stocks,
> Livestock, and a degraded production base
>
> The hungry planet
> As stocks run out and harvests fail, the world faces its worst crisis
> for 30 years
>
> By Geoffrey Lean
> Published: 03 September 2006
>
> Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the
> world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show
> that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone
> on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so
> far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better
> times - but these have now fallen below the danger level.
>
> Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
> soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
> world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get
> cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more
> expensive.
>
> The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department
> of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of
> the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain
> harvest will fall for the second successive year.
>
> The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be
> published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last
> week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from
> 2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's
> appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.
>
> The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This
> would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's
> people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast,
> farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food
> stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999
> to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the
> official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent
> this year.
>
> The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the
> harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and
> Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's
> hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation
> in Africa or Asia.
>
> Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become
> increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not
> enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.
>
> The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis,
> in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as
> Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in
> which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow
> humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved
> to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that
> "within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".
>
> Yet, [THREE decades later] , more than 800 million people worldwide are
> still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at
> least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food
> crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years
> running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below
> consumption only three times, compared to six now.
>
> It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever
> since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly
> warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.
>
> Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected
> Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the
> world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in
> the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old
> tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in
> southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.
>
> Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in
> the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club -
> "the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who
> harvested that amount per acre.
>
> Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research
> to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name
> to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be
> sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed
> dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30
> tons of tomatoes per acre.
>
> That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as
> a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they
> have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630
> million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15
> years, to around 2 billion tons.
>
> "The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a
> remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they
> increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during
> the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world
> has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."
>
> [What is left unsaid here is that massive use of fossil fuels for
> fertilizers
> has been a large part of the increase in productivity...which not only
> has put
> the entire life supporting climate into a danger zone, but, climate
> dangers aside,
> it's a party that will soon be over, with fossil fuels peaking in the
> near future,
> see www.peakoil.com -ED]
>
> Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of
> boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this,
> too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and
> farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted
> by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen
> by more than half.
>
> There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in
> the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to
> feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.
>
> It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in
> poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's
> increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly,
> cars.
>
> The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the
> prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference,
> partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As
> people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are
> slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce
> 2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the
> world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.
>
> Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to
> produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted
> in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol -
> strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert
> criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
>
> Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown,
> uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the
> amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells
> abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor -
> countries.
>
> >From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed
> exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed
> poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in
> the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.
>
> This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of
> grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers.
> Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they
> simply cannot afford to do so.
>
> Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land
> becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global
> warming cuts harvests.
>
> Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but
> the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and
> especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way
> to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops
> in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows
> that this can double yields.
>
> But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close
> to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they
> respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food
> security."
>
> Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the
> world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show
> that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone
> on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so
> far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better
> times - but these have now fallen below the danger level.
>
> Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
> soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
> world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get
> cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more
> expensive.
>
> The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department
> of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of
> the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain
> harvest will fall for the second successive year.
>
> The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be
> published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last
> week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from
> 2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's
> appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.
>
> The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This
> would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's
> people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast,
> farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food
> stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999
> to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the
> official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent
> this year.
>
> The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the
> harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and
> Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's
> hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation
> in Africa or Asia.
>
> Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become
> increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not
> enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.
>
> The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis,
> in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as
> Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in
> which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow
> humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved
> to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that
> "within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".
>
> Yet, a generation later, more than 800 million people worldwide are
> still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at
> least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food
> crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years
> running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below
> consumption only three times, compared to six now.
>
> It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever
> since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly
> warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.
>
> Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected
> Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the
> world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in
> the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old
> tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in
> southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.
>
> Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in
> the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club -
> "the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who
> harvested that amount per acre.
>
> Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research
> to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name
> to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be
> sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed
> dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30
> tons of tomatoes per acre.
>
> That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as
> a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they
> have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630
> million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15
> years, to around 2 billion tons.
>
> "The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a
> remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they
> increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during
> the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world
> has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."
>
> Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of
> boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this,
> too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and
> farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted
> by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen
> by more than half.
>
> There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in
> the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to
> feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.
>
> It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in
> poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's
> increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly,
> cars.
>
> The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the
> prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference,
> partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As
> people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are
> slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce
> 2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the
> world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.
>
> Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to
> produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted
> in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol -
> strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert
> criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
>
> Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown,
> uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the
> amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells
> abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor -
> countries.
>
> >From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed
> exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed
> poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in
> the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.
>
> This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of
> grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers.
> Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they
> simply cannot afford to do so.
>
> Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land
> becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global
> warming cuts harvests.
>
> Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but
> the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and
> especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way
> to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops
> in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows
> that this can double yields.
>
> But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close
> to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they
> respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food
> security."
>
>
> http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1325467.ece
>
> =============
>
> DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:
>
> http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
> http://www.greenhousenet.org/
> http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
> http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp
>
> Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
> =============
>
> = = = =
> STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
> IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
> = = = =
> Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
> More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
> = = = =
> Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
> For more information: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
> And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
>
> ** Email Note: "info" and "map" etc DON'T work. Now:
> econdemocracy(at)gmail


T*@gmail.com
2006-09-03 23:44:44 EST
Dumb, Dumb, Dumb
Don't you people check your facts....
http://www.allendale-inc.com/rc_free/es-current/eSnapshotArticle2.aspx
"This survey is estimating the 3rd highest production on record but
yield did decline as prolonged heat trimmed the potential of this
year's crop. "

Third highest in 16 years......

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/06/307&format=PDF&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en#search=%22crop%20yields%202006%22

On page 2 wheat is going to be down 3% from a record high in 2005.



And thats the first 2 I came up.....

You make this wayyyyy to easy.


While it's not a recordbreaking year it is still FARRRRR from the
worst, and FARRRRR from catastrophic.


Roy. Just Roy.
2006-09-03 23:46:04 EST

> Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
> soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
> world's most vulnerable countries.

Lesson the First: Darwinism

1) People produce CO2. More people = more CO2.
2) More CO2 causes global warming.
3) Global warming decreases food stocks.
4) Without food stocks, the poorest (read: least adaptable) people
starve.
5) Starving people go to war to get food, further reducing population.
6) Less people = less global warming AND less food needed.

This is simply Nature readjusting the balance sheet, just as it has
done for the last billion or so years. Move along, nothing to see here.

/Roy


Roger Coppock
2006-09-04 02:00:31 EST
Roy:

These ideas were tried and rejected in 1927-1945.
Be a good boy and go play with your toy solders, ok?

Roy. Just Roy. wrote:
> > Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
> > soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
> > world's most vulnerable countries.
>
> Lesson the First: Darwinism
>
> 1) People produce CO2. More people = more CO2.
> 2) More CO2 causes global warming.
> 3) Global warming decreases food stocks.
> 4) Without food stocks, the poorest (read: least adaptable) people
> starve.
> 5) Starving people go to war to get food, further reducing population.
> 6) Less people = less global warming AND less food needed.
>
> This is simply Nature readjusting the balance sheet, just as it has
> done for the last billion or so years. Move along, nothing to see here.
>
> /Roy


*@dan.com
2006-09-04 04:36:48 EST
"Roy. Just Roy." <delduck3@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1157341564.716004.232640@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...
>
>> Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to
>> soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the
>> world's most vulnerable countries.
>
> Lesson the First: Darwinism
>
> 1) People produce CO2. More people = more CO2.
> 2) More CO2 causes global warming.
> 3) Global warming decreases food stocks.
> 4) Without food stocks, the poorest (read: least adaptable) people
> starve.
> 5) Starving people go to war to get food, further reducing population.
> 6) Less people = less global warming AND less food needed.
>
> This is simply Nature readjusting the balance sheet, just as it has
> done for the last billion or so years. Move along, nothing to see here.

Wrong. People have never before created global warming. Though man's
inhumanity to his fellow man, as Roger rightly points out, is, sadly,
nothing new.

> /Roy
>



Stan De SD
2006-09-04 20:21:40 EST
Funny how you post your crap at the same time various news sources are
reporting a pandemic of worldwide obesity. Why must you be such a fucking
idiot?



Roy. Just Roy.
2006-09-05 07:22:18 EST

Roger Coppock wrote:

> These ideas were tried and rejected in 1927-1945.

Silly rabbit, Darwinism is NOT eugenics. Eugenics assumes that you can
draw a neat line between those that are fit and those that are not by
religion or heritage.

Darwinism makes no such distinction. In fact, one of the main
principles of Darwinism is that sometimes Fecal Matter Occurs. You can
have the most drought resistant plant in the world, but if the field it
currently grows in is ploughed under for a shopping mall, oh well.

By the way, if you think that genocide was rejected in 1945, rent Hotel
Rwanda sometime. One million dead in 3 months, using mainly machetes.
It goes to show how efficient humans can be at thinning the herd when
there's no oil around to attract international attention.

> Be a good boy and go play with your toy solders, ok?

I will when you learn how to spell check, gramps.

/Roy


Roger Coppock
2006-09-05 15:45:41 EST
Roy. Just Roy. wrote:
> Roger Coppock wrote:
>
> > These ideas were tried and rejected in 1927-1945.
>
> Silly rabbit, Darwinism is NOT eugenics. Eugenics assumes that you can
> draw a neat line between those that are fit and those that are not by
> religion or heritage.
>
> Darwinism makes no such distinction. In fact, one of the main
> principles of Darwinism is that sometimes Fecal Matter Occurs. You can
> have the most drought resistant plant in the world, but if the field it
> currently grows in is ploughed under for a shopping mall, oh well.

Yes, of course. These are problems with the original article.


>
> By the way, if you think that genocide was rejected in 1945, rent Hotel
> Rwanda sometime. One million dead in 3 months, using mainly machetes.
> It goes to show how efficient humans can be at thinning the herd when
> there's no oil around to attract international attention.

Yep. You are right again. My words should be, ". . . and
SHOULD HAVE BEEN rejected in 1927-1945."


Topaz
2006-09-05 18:45:30 EST
By Kevin Strom

Far from being "evil," eugenics is actually the most beneficial and
humane discipline ever devised by the mind of man. In fact, eugenics
is the only viable long-term solution to all our social problems. As
I said on this program in 1993, eugenics is the only way to a better
world. Science has shown us that genetic structure is by far the
greatest determinant of intelligence, character, and behavior.
Unfortunately, those with the best genetic inheritance tend to have
the fewest children-and those with the lowest intelligence,
lowest potential, and worst character tend to have the most
children. This leads to a genetic deterioration of the race that
gets worse with each passing generation. No amount of education, no
laws, and no increase in the power of the police or of the state can
counter this degeneration.

Eugenics is simply the idea that we should humanely use our social
policies to encourage as much as possible the birth of children with
good genetic qualities and to discourage as much as possible the
birth of children with poor genetic qualities. Some of this could be
done with the more advanced techniques of modern reproductive
science, such as allowing surrogate mothers to carry genius-level
children in large numbers or encouraging the voluntary use of egg
banks and sperm banks to propagate the best children that our race
can possibly produce.
But most eugenics would be simple and basic and just good common
Sense… there could be endless variations on the theme of tax
deductions, tax credits, and interest-free loans extended to
families of good genetic inheritance to encourage them to give the
priceless gift of their children-most of whom will grow up into
highly-evolved creative problem-solvers-to our society. How can
that be "evil"?
It's not evil. It's really the ultimate good. After a few
generations of eugenics-after a few generations of ten times the
number of problem-solvers and culture-creators being born, and a
tenth of the number of problem-makers and culture destroyers being
born, we would have a very different world indeed. An infinitely
better world.


http://www.nationalvanguard.org http://www.natvan.com
http://www.thebirdman.org http://www.ihr.org/
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