Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Your valleys and your farms

A recent issue of Macleans magazine has a cover story about why peak oil, and the use of corn etc for bio-fuels, is going to cause a massive spike in food prices very soon (in fact, this spike has already occurred in many parts of the world).

In listing a few of the causes, one passage ends with what vegetarians know is one of the answers to this problem - stop wasting 7 tons of soy and grain by feeding it to cattle, who only return about 1 ton worth of consumable meat.
Is the recent price bump due, as some argue, to passing or localized phenomena, like Australian droughts or the biofuel fad? Or is it rooted in longer-term forces that augur sustained and potentially distastrous shortages? After all, many of the conditions necessary to make the food armageddonists' predictions come true are now upon us. Water is scarce, fossil fuels are prohibitively expensive, fish stocks are near collapse and the world adds 80 million people every year. To that, you can now add global warming, which agronomists say is drying up vulnerable countries where farmlands depend on rain.

And then there's China. With ever greater purchasing power, Asian consumers are moving toward the higher-protein, better-tasting, meat-laden diet westerners have enjoyed for decades. Producing all that beef, pork and eggs requires vast quantities of grain that might otherwise be used to feed people. "On the amount of grain fed each year to cattle in the United States, you could feed 850 million people as vegetarians," says David Pimentel, a Cornell University agricultural scientist who studies the global food economy. "That's not a value judgment. It's a fact."
It's just boggling sometimes. There are so many reasons to be vegetarian (see previous post). Why don't more people get it?

And I came across this a little while ago, and couldn't believe it. The way that the U.S. has a strategic oil reserve to be used for emergencies, China has a strategic pork reserve.

And because I need to fantasize a little bit, here's the kind of farm I hope to be living on when peak oil hits and we all make for the hills.


1 comment:

Krista said...

Hey Tuco!

Great post! I've been hearing a lot about this lately. When will people ever get it?! I too dream of living on a seaside farm! ;-) Beautiful!

In answer to your question on my blog, I'm running in my second pair of Asics Nimbus...but I'm seriously considering a pair of Nike's for my next purchase. I've heard bad things about them, but man they feel cushy!?! I need a neutral, well-cushioned shoe! :)

You should check out my running blog, Vegelope (see link in sidebar) - I don't post often (Duh!), but it's a little more fitness-related!