Senate Doom N Gloom Report: - "On the verge of a global food crisis"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    About the same number of people who know who the Vice President's name is, then :p I'm actually surprised it's that high, considering how little media coverage there's been of it.
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    One problem is that the Taliban style Islamist group that controls the region hit hardest by the famine is keeping reporters out. Most of the reporting is coming through the refugee camp at the Kenyan border.
  3. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah they were doing this over in the JCC. The population has essentially doubled in my lifetime from 3.5 billion. Admittedly, I'm in the "back nine" of life, but hopefully still with some time left. I might see 10 billion in my lifetime, close to a tripling.

    When I was born 9% of all the people who had ever lived on earth were still alive.
    Today, 8.5% of all the people who have ever lived on earth are still alive.

    Talk about vertigo-inducing.

    Unless of course things go horribly wrong. Of course, I believe the world's population will start falling before or by the year 2050. I am absolutely positive that the world is as we speak experiencing a per capita energy collapse. Expansion of the supply of modern energy is no longer going to be able to keep up with population growth. In 30 years, the people of the world as a whole will have less access per capita to modern energy than they had in 1970, absent the invention of a new magical energy supply.

    The food supply will keep expanding for a while, struggling to keep pace with population growth. Eventually, through necessity, agriculture will learn how to reduce its water footprint through drip irrigation. But the desertification of the oceans is inevitable at this point. The massive, near-wholesale extinction of all ocean life is on the table. People will not be stopped from cleaning it out of all life to keep themselves fed.

    Water rationing in the megacities of the world--the Tokyos, the Mumbais, the Mexico Cities, the Sao Paulos, the Jakartas--will become stricter. There are going to be some startling regional crashes in available water. It's going to happen in China, despite their massive, unprecedented mega-engineering project - the South-North Water Transfer Project (China at least recognizes the problem and is actively planning for it) - really the only nation in the world that understands population demographics. And it's going to happen in India, and it's going to happen elsewhere.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    An article about the collapse of Jack Mackerel fisheries worldwide.

    What was interesting to me is the connection between commercial fishing and aquaculture:

    Jack mackerel, rich in oily protein, is manna to a hungry planet, a staple in Africa. Elsewhere, people eat it unaware; much of it is reduced to feed for aquaculture and pigs. It can take more than five kilograms, more than 11 pounds, of jack mackerel to raise a single kilogram of farmed salmon.

    The takeaway here is that aquaculture isn't an activity that protects wild fish stocks. In this particular case, salmon farming simply displaces the commercial fishing target to another species. It's another demonstration of how the commercial fishing keeps moving across and down the entire marine food chain to maintain the industry, and how critical marine life is to the human food supply.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    In my nuclear thread, I referenced a research that undertook a major review of climate models and predicts climate change to render swaths of the U.S. and almost all of Mexico unfit for agricultural production within 100 years.

    Texas and Mexico have been getting a taste of that perhaps. Soybean production has plummeted in Texas and production of many products has been cut nearly in half from average levels. And Mexico is experiencing its worst drought in history.

    Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico
    Nearly 7 percent of the country?s agricultural land, mostly in the north and center, has suffered total loss, according to Victor Celaya del Toro, director of development studies at the Agriculture Ministry.


  7. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    ...And this piece takes us back full circle. Two years ago, Jabba, you posted that China was facing a major water shortage.

    Surpise! It's not gotten any better:

    66% of Chinese cities



  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    On the one hand, the Chinese economy is set to overtake the U.S. economy in as few as four years. On the other hand, China and India suffer under the most severe population overshoot problems on the planet. One of the biggest issues is underground aquifer depletion. These were one-time fossil reserves, and drawing down these resources to bid up the size of the population was a fundamental error of the green revolution.

    Many if not all nations struggle mightily over the competing water demands of urban population centers and agriculture. It's an endemic low level crisis of the U.S. Southwest and West as well. But China and India will experience it more acutely than anyone else for obvious reasons.

    Their only solution in the short term will be to export agricultural production to Africa and the poorer nations of Asia as water resources continue to shift toward urban needs. They can export some of their water crisis to the third world in the same way the U.S. has exported many of its industrial pollution problems to China.

    In the longer term we'll need a new agricultural revolution (e.g. widespread adoption of drip irrigation) and renewed commitment to population control. Near-subsistence farmers cannot implement more water-efficient farming technologies on their own, and the expense of this revolution will drive food prices up. But so will decreased agricultural productivity as fossil water reserves are depleted across China and Inda.