Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 8, 2011
Watch the full episode.
In this PBS-produced video, with actor and philanthropist Matt Damon narrating, Lester Brown gives a good overview of some of the current issues we face as a race. He connects the dots between the world’s rapidly melting glaciers, extreme weather events, and resource depletion, etc., and what it will mean to world food harvests, and the economic and social implications of wealthier countries outbidding poorer nation states for a share of these diminishing harvests, and water and energy supplies. Two of the key words he uses are ‘failing states’, a relatively new term that is quickly gaining in ‘popularity’ as we watch the present chain reaction of events occurring today.
Lester asks the question "How many failing states will it take before we see civilization itself fail?"Comments (4)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute March 24, 2011
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
In 1994, I wrote an article in World Watch magazine entitled “Who Will Feed China?” that was later expanded into a book of the same title. When the article was published in late August, the press conference generated only moderate coverage. But when it was reprinted that weekend on the front of the Washington Post’s Outlook section with the title “How China Could Starve the World,” it unleashed a political firestorm in Beijing.
The response began with a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday morning, where Deputy Minister Wan Baorui denounced the study. Advancing technology, he said, would enable the Chinese people to feed themselves. This was followed by a government-orchestrated stream of articles that challenged my findings.Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Courses/Workshops, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Social Gatherings, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Elaine Codling March 21, 2011
This is a training exercise that can be done with groups of around 20-25 people of all ages. Feel free to use, expand, or elaborate on it in anyway. Follow the activity with a discussion about climate as it relates to permaculture design.
- Poor Farmer
- Summer Wind
- Winter Wind
- Shade Tree
- Bamboo [X 3 or more]
- Willows [X 3 or more]
- Food Forest [X 4 or more]
Biodiversity, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Rhamis Kent March 17, 2011
Image courtesy of Marc Roberts
Tom Philpott has been writing great articles covering issues related to agriculture & food security issues for quite some time at Grist. These two are no exception. With the recent global unrest being partially attributed to sky rocketing food costs and widespread environmental & ecological destruction directly tied to abysmal land management methods, and the increasing scarcity of arable land becoming prominent we are drawing closer to having to take definitive action to "right the ship".
Be sure to look at the United Nations reports he references in the articles. Huge credit goes to Mr. Philpott and all others shedding light on this critical topic:
- Debunking the stubborn myth that only industrial ag can ‘feed the world’
- The Economist dismisses organic ag, while also making the case for it
- Monsanto Has Us Walking the Gangplank, and Wants to Give That Final Push
- The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide
- Food Futures Now – Feeding People & Place Without Fossil Fuels
- A Call to Large Scale Earth Healing and Lessons from the Loess Plateau (Video)
Community Projects, Food Shortages, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Geoff Lawton March 10, 2011
O-Farm Hong Kong is championed by PDC graduate Yip Tsz Shing. It is a wonderful community garden where very small spaces, just a few metres (8 square metres on average), are rented by Hong Kong residents.
Some may travel up to an hour and a half each way to come and garden fresh organic food and have social interaction with other community gardeners.Comments (3)
Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Earth Policy Institute
Editor’s Note: In addition to the post from Lester below, also check out this: "Warning Of ‘Food Price Riots In The UK’ — A senior economist at the worldwide bank HSBC has warned of civil unrest in Britain if food prices continue to soar."
by Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute
In February, world food prices reached the highest level on record. Soaring food prices are already a source of spreading hunger and political unrest, and it appears likely that they will climb further in the months ahead.
As a result of an extraordinarily tight grain situation, this year’s harvest will be one of the most closely watched in years. Last year, the world produced 2,180 million tons of grain. It consumed 2,240 million tons, a consumption excess that was made possible by drawing down stocks by 60 million tons. (See data at www.earth-policy.org.) To avoid repeating last year’s shortfall and to cover this year’s estimated 40-million-ton growth in demand, this year’s world grain harvest needs to increase by at least 100 million tons. Yet that would only maintain the current precarious balance between supply and demand.
To get prices back down to a more acceptable level, it would take perhaps another 50 million tons for a total increase of 150 million tons. Can the world boost this year’s grain harvest by 150 million tons or even 100 million tons? It is possible, because we have had annual harvest jumps of 150 million tons twice over the last two decades, but this year it does not appear likely.Comments (0)
Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent March 9, 2011
It seems as though the wheels are continuing to show signs of coming off as it concerns the issue of global food security. The recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa are a testament to that. It has caught everyone by surprise — experts and laypeople alike. The article that follows, which was published by the UK Independent 27 February 2011, provides some of the detail. Click the link at bottom of the quoted paragraph here to read the whole thing:Comments (9)
Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 2, 2011
Those who appreciated the very interesting articles by Dmitry Orlov (recommended reading!) will appreciate this clip also.
Duration: 29 minutes
The Need for Sustainable Agriculture – It’s So Obvious and Inevitable That Even The UN Has To Admit It
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent February 25, 2011
Editor’s Note: Quite some time ago, I shared the big 400-scientist-strong IAASTD worldwide study that concluded that small scale, localised, ecological agriculture was an imperative we cannot afford to ignore any more. The post was titled The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide. If you missed it, do check it out, and if you’re already conversant in the multiple crises we’re dealing with, then simply jump to the ‘The Solutions’ section. Now, halfway through 2010, whilst I had my head down, working on a tool to help fast track the aforementioned solution — www.permacultureglobal.com — yet another study shares the same holistic, science-based vision. Read on.
The great need to stop burning out our soils, wasting precious water, and polluting both, is no longer open to dispute. A rapid transition to sustainable methods of agriculture simply needs to be implemented on a massive scale — and it needs to be done yesterday.
This is the great task of our age.
"Agroecology outperforms large-scale industrial farming for global food security," says UN expert. — The United Nations Office at Geneva
In the aforementioned article (first reported 22 June 2010), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Professor Olivier De Schutter "makes an airtight case for a global policy shift toward agroecological production."Comments (1)
Food Shortages, GMOs, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 21, 2011
Vandana Shiva shares a lucid discussion on Monsanto’s inexplicable view of nature as the enemy of mankind, and their determination to sell us ‘liberation’ from it. Aside from being an impossible battle, it’s also a wholly misguided one, based on a self-interested, short-term-thinking profit mentality, rather than the much needed acceptance of, and cooperation with, biological realities we need to see instead.
Note: Watch with Firefox. As per comments below, some are having trouble viewing in Internet Explorer.
Comedy Break, Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, peak oil — by Marc Roberts
Courtesy: Marc Roberts
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Food Shortages, Land, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Geoff Lawton February 18, 2011
Community gardens are a very valuable demonstration of how a community can grow its own food, provide its own power, harvest its own water from roofs and build appropriate buildings and infrastructure. They are a wonderful element in the community and permaculture people all over the world should support community gardens in all their forms.
An interesting observation is that often a community has already used all of the most valuable land by the time the population has grown to a stage where it requires or requests that a community garden be installed. Therefore often a community garden is given land that is not valuable for the local real estate market but can be surrounded by local real estate development. It has become a regularly repeated phenomenon that land given for the installation and development of community gardens is flood prone and generally a poor landscape. There is therefore quite an emphasis on raised garden beds, this is something we have observed as we visited different community gardens around the world and in Australia.Comments (9)
Food Shortages — by Earth Policy Institute February 15, 2011
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Today there are three sources of growing demand for food: population growth; rising affluence and the associated jump in meat, milk, and egg consumption; and the use of grain to produce fuel for cars.
In early January, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that its Food Price Index had reached an all-time high in December, exceeding the previous record set during the 2007-08 price surge. Even more alarming, on February 3rd, the FAO announced that the December record had been broken in January as prices climbed an additional 3 percent.
Will this rise in food prices continue in the months ahead? In all likelihood we will see further rises that will take the world into uncharted territory in the relationship between food prices and political stability.Comments (10)
Community Projects, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Shisir Khanal January 22, 2011
"The disaster we are facing is second only to the tsunami," says Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka. A torrential monsoon rain has flooded Eastern Sri Lanka.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, People Systems, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Kyle Chamberlain January 18, 2011
Those of us who live in the ‘developed world’ frequently see their higher needs compromised. But, unlike much of the world’s population, we rarely find ourselves destitute of our most basic requirements, like shelter, water, and food. Our housing may not be particularly secure, our water may not be too clean, and our food may be low on nutrition, but we have, at least, some semblance of the basics.
Our piecemeal life support system works well enough that many of us become fat. The tragedy of this system is not just the substandard services it provides, but also the extreme wastefulness and inefficiency.
Recalling that these basic services were once provided freely by the environment, it’s clear that they’ve become remarkably expensive today. Studies of some hunter/gatherer groups found that their members typically labored just three or four hours daily for their sustenance. Today, the nine hour work day is the norm, with an astonishing proportion of our incomes going to basics, like housing and food.Comments (7)