Friday, June 06, 2008

a report on the UN conclave on food

jun 6th, 2008

i like the fact that the US government claims 3% of the food crisis is due to biofuels, whereas IFPRI says 30% is. the truth is probably somewhere in between.

interesting data, however.

some talk of GM seeds as well as a second green revolution. i am a little sceptical of revolutions, green or otherwise, because they tend to have hidden costs -- in terms of monocropping, excess oil consumption, and inorganic fertilizer use, all of which are damaging to soils and the environment, and in fact unsustainable in the long run. also, 'revolutions' leave us with a sense of complacency -- that we have solved the problem -- when we haven't. i still remember, as a child, wondering about PL-480 shipments. the india of the begging bowl is not that far off; and neither is the dust bowl of the 1930s when the american prairie turned into a precisely that -- a bone-dry dust bowl which could not sustain agriculture, and which forced the migration of millions of 'okie's into places like california.

ignoring agriculture for 50 years is coming back to haunt us. OFEC ki jai! i really like the idea of 1 chicken = 1 barrel of oil. forget $, let's get into straight barter. food and oil prices can climb in tandem. the difference is that oil is finite, and there are substitutes. food is not finite -- we can make more -- and there is no substitute, at least until we learn how to absorb energy directly into our bodies from the sun.