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Why Food Riots Are Likely to Become the New Normal

World  (tags: climate, climate-change, climatechange, CO2emissions, energy, environment, globalwarming, habitat, habitatdestruction, greenhousegases, nature, politics, protection, Sustainabililty, government, water, weather, world, science, food, ethics, economy, 'HUMA )

- 2264 days ago -
The link between intensifying inequality, debt, climate change, fossil fuel dependency and the global food crisis is undeniable


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JL A (281)
Friday March 8, 2013, 3:08 pm
Copywritten article available at the site

Past Member (0)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:17 pm
so true this I remember a friend of mine telling me in the 1980 s that dont worry about hoarding gold and money Its better if you stock up on seeds to grow for food as money will be worthless One day she could be right

Noted thanks

Terry V (30)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:25 pm

4 Degrees Warmer


Kit B (276)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:42 pm

We are living in a dystopian world, and I suppose that food riots, deaths over the next drop of water, much could happen, more that does not need to happen. We can control this, and it's not that hard. Break the backs of these corporations and do it now.

JL A (281)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:45 pm
Thanks for providing an effective solution Kit! You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

Roger G (148)
Friday March 8, 2013, 7:14 pm
noted, thanks !

JL A (281)
Friday March 8, 2013, 7:18 pm
You are welcome Roger!

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday March 8, 2013, 9:30 pm
How to stop food riots from becoming the new normal:

Method #1: If they can get the taste/texture right and roll this out on an industrial scale, no more inefficiently feeding animals for years to slowly grow that muscle while spending something like 90% of their nutrients on living rather than growing. Meat becomes at least several times more efficient to grow and leaves more space for food-crops rather than animal-feed. Food production skyrockets.

Method #2: Demolish Egypt's Aswan High Dam and replace its electrical generating-capacity with something else. The most fertile lands on Earth are naturally at the mouths of major rivers, particularly the Ganges, Mississippi, Niger, and most of all, the Nile. The Aswan High Dam prevents the silt from flowing to the Nile Delta, denying agricultural production from what was once the single most productive plot of land on Earth, and turning what was the breadbasket of the Roman Empire into a major food-importer.

Method #3: Fund and introduce modern capital=intensive farming-methods to much of Africa. They have a whole lot of farmland, but produce, if I remember correctly, a small fraction of what Europeans do on equivalent soil. Modern farming would turn Africa intoa breadbasket, not a food-importer. The only practical way to do this is likely to allow massive foreign investment into African agriculture, denying African states full control over their own food-production (though the increased domestic production would still help in that regard). Modern liberal democracies maintaining leverage over the sorts of dicators who want to execute all homosexuals in their countries? Oh no, what horror. [/sarc]

I have more ideas, but one of them invovles a potentially workable business-plan I may want to follow (to increase food-production, help the U.S. substantially towards oil-independence, and potentially get pants-soilingly rich in the process).

Giana Peranio Paz (398)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 5:43 am
There are many people hoarding canned goods and dried foods for the terrible times ahead.

. (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:00 am
A sad state of affairs getting worse by the day

Gloria p (304)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:13 am
Noted and shared but the powers that be will only developing more oil and coal is the "solution." They just don't get it. They only care about their bonuses and dividends.

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:23 am
This Planet needs a fresh without humans.

Lydia Mcintyre (47)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:24 am
It's good to know how to grow your own food and live off the land if need be.

Sue Fowler (6)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:48 am
noted thanks

JL A (281)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 7:02 am
You are welcome Sue.
You cannot currently send a star to Giana because you have done so within the last day.

Tomoko Harris (83)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 7:12 am
Next stop is the cannibalism! OH NO

cecily w (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 7:13 am
The first necessity is to stabilize, then gently reduce, population growth by humanely preventing some pregnancies. Egypt's Total Fertility Rate is 2.9--well above the world average of 2.4. BUT this suggestion does not apply only to Egypt, it needs to be done on a global level. (I won't go into the how here.) If nothing else, this will free up time for citizens to combat corruption, poor planning and maldistribution--all of which have a role in Egypt's situation.

Agricultural progress alone will not bring lasting improvements. Back in the late 1960s, there was "The Green Revolution" which took place in some African countries--and it did work (in a way) because there was higher yield. Unfortunately, the main result was more babies.

JL A (281)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 7:19 am
Thanks Tomoko and Cecily for providing some of the problematic issues stemming from Stephen's proposals.

. (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 11:55 am
I agree, thank you Stephen for your excellent contribution.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 1:22 pm
Not every method of increasing food supply is healthful for children and other living things. Some days it's good to be old.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 1:49 pm
Thanks great post, better comments

Elizabeth M (65)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 2:00 pm
Great Post J.L. A. and many good comments. Stephen has made an excellent contribution.

Leanne B (46)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 2:14 pm

Birgit W (160)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 2:27 pm
Noted. But what about all the food which is being thrown away daily because the corporations do not want to give it away for free?

Winn A (179)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 2:36 pm
Thanks for the info. :-(

Ro H (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 3:03 pm

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 3:22 pm
Thanks Cecily! :)

I guess part of the problem is that the introduction of modern medicine to underdeveloped regions reduces death-rates a whole lot faster than did its original development, so cultures don't have time to adapt (by reducingg birth-rates). They do have to bring it down. Any ideas how to encourage this?

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 3:51 pm

Free birth control, and sex education. Societal pressure to have fewer children, once Zero Population Growth, was a workable idea, now we need to encourage one child per family. Or one child per woman. These programs work best when they are encourage and not based on legal issues. If people are educated and learn to understand that their way of life can be better, they can have access to better jobs and improved life style with few children we can even win those from the pulpits selling the idea of more babies to increase their flock and therefore income. Fewer children means more food, water, health care and education for all children, that could have a significant impact.

Lin Penrose (92)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 4:11 pm
Thanks J.L., great post, and insightful comments. Especially about bring the human population into a better balance for the dwindling and unclean necessary resources available, now and in the near future.

We have been warned for many years. The evidence has been available to anyone capable of common sense thinking, with the realization that this world has finite resources and is one of a kind (that we know of). Most of us listened to the wrong leaders of our various cultures and societies for thousands of years regarding human reproduction. If we are to survive the coming planetary wars, we must learn our lessons very well.

Unfortunately, I think the human species are and will be doing the balancing in very hard ways, if acheivable at all. We have already wiped out millions of plant and animal species that could have promised a much better future for we humans and the planet as a whole.

JL A (281)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 4:30 pm
You are welcome Mary, Elizabeth, Winn, Ro, and Lin.
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

cecily w (0)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 4:47 pm
Thanks, Stephen, Lin and others. Contraceptives must be made available and accessible. (If a woman has to walk or ride a bus for 2 days to get to a clinic, who will take care of the children she already has and perform her other responsibilities?) Also in many developing countries and in some segments of the US, parents need to have a reasonable expectation that the one or two children they do have will survive to adulthood; this requires availability of adequate medical care and child safety considerations.

Some religions present a barrier to limiting family size--but people allow religions to interfere. For example: most of us are aware of the Catholic Church's position on contraception, yet Italy--which surrounds The Vatican---has a Total Fertility Rate of 1.4, one of the lowest on the planet. We are also regaled with the assertion that the purpose of Islam
is to increase births sufficiently to take over the world. In some countries, it might seem so. But Iran has a Total Fertility Rate of only 1.9. Holy books are interpreted by men, and people sometimes need to free themselves of these interpretations. Cultural elements may also inhibit the concept of family-size limitation--such as the rights of women to inherit or own property.

But it is amazing how these religious and cultural barriers fall when women are freed up from perpetual child bearing
to enter civil and economic activities of their countries. One example is Brazil--a "Catholic Country". Women themselves brought Brazil's Total Fertility Rate down from 6.X to 1.9 in three generations. (Citation: National Geographic)

JL A (281)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 5:02 pm
You cannot currently send a star to cecily because you have done so within the last day.

Scott haakon (4)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 5:51 pm
It is smarter to stop the so called humanitarian missions and foreign aid. Without the bribes these represent, the population will demand change. We in the West need to look to our own problems and let the rest of the 3rd world solve their problems their way. Stop the UN small arms rules. Why? if the people are unarmed they are helpless to effect real changes. Mere protesting will not last. The terrorists and radicals will win.

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:24 pm

Scott you are one miserable excuse for human flesh.

Thanks Lin and Cecily - very interesting comments. Brazil is a good example as are some European countries, though I expect that many in the EU will begin to experience rising population rates from new immigration.

Joy McRonald (168)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:32 pm
Noted, very good info.. Thanks

JL A (281)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 6:44 pm
You are welcome Joy.

Carla van der Meer (648)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 8:25 pm
What a scary thought.

Julie F (68)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 9:57 pm

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 10:16 pm
Hi Scott,

I know the sentiment, theory, and history of trouble with foreign aid. Roughly a third is lost to corruption, paying ocal governments for "distribution licenses" or other such protection-pay. There are well-founded arguments that donated food undercuts local producers, denying local farmers the income they need to increase the domestic food-supply. Donated clothes can easily destroy demand for locally produced textiles, killing industrialization in the industry in which it traditionally starts. Foreign aid-workers' developed world-scale pay drove inflation, at least once, to the point where locals could not afford goods, effectively further impoverishing the poor there (in Egypt). There are longterm benefits to receipients when aid is reduced. To get those, they need to survive the short-term without severe upheaval, and a lot of them cannot do that without the aid. It's a nasty little Catch-22, but they are screwed without that aid right now.

The small arms rules actually tend to do a lot of good. Remember, the average civilian in those countries cannot afford to purchase or train using a gun, even unregulated. Those guns would go to the militias, terrorists, etc., which are already organized forces which run their own training and possess the resources to get the guns.

Protests and rebellions often don't help. Those militias almost universally cause more trouble than they fix, if they fix anything at all. Deregulating international small arms-trade gets even worse: Two of the primary problems that those countries face are failures of democracy and lawlessness. With militias active, the government cannot enforce the law within its borders. What do you think that does to the well-being of civilians who cannot afford guns? Democracy tends to fail in recipient-countries as those who lose an election get violent, and party-loyalties are held higher than loyalty to the democratic system. Arming the populace is going to encourage that, or at least frighten winners that it would happen, leading to exactly the same problem, with a "preemptive" strike by election-winners.

I like the idea of an armed populace in a nation with a strong democratic tradition, a generally law-abiding citizenry, and no severe internal conflicts. Those that really need changes tend to be ones without such luxuries.

Hi Cecily :)

Do we have any numbers on the effect of contraception on birth-rates in poorer countries? I'm worried the trouble may be cultural, with people really wanting more children than they end up able to feed because the expectation of child-mortality is so ingrained. I don't think many people really do the math, or can do it: They just do what has worked for generations, without considering what may have changed, until some generations pass and a new precedent is set. I don't really want to wait two or three generations before birth-numbers drop to something sustainable (nor do I want to see medical aid withdrawn).

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 10:43 pm

Inge Bjorkman (202)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 11:45 pm
why not a vegetarian, then enough food

Lloyd H (46)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 12:24 am
FYI, from the UN News Centre today 3/10/2013, world food prices are steady for the second month in a row, the 2012 wheat crop has increased by 4.3% to 690 Million tonnes just below the record of 700 million set in 2011. Coarse grain and rice crops below the equator are encouraging. The problem to date is not the supply of food on Planet Earth, it is profiteering and distribution. In the USA which is, by all standards, illiteracy, infant mortality, poverty, lack of access to medical care, hunger and income inequality, now a third world nation the consumer price of food is 47% profiteering on the trading of Commodities and Futures market. Even the international price of oil is now above $.50 USD per gallon due to the same causes as regardless of many reports production is still far ahead of demand on the global scale.
Face it the as is true with most of the Worlds problems food shortages and prices are due to the same thing, " The Rich get Richer and the Poor die!"

Ben O (131)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 6:33 am
"Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?"
(Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich)

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 6:55 am
If that was the case you would have thought that North Korea would have been first.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 6:57 am
You are welcome Julie.
Excellent description of the real causes Lloyd! Thanks Ben for providing the link to the stellar analyses on this subject--to encourage all to read I'll provide the abstract here:
"Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity. "

Comparative population trend data:
Snapshot of comparative trends:

US data:

RAND's research:
"surveys of women in developing countries suggest that a large percentage--from 10 to 40 percent--want to space or limit childbearing but are not using contraception. This finding indicates a continuing, unmet need for contraception. Historically, voluntary family planning programs have been very effective in filling this demand for contraception and by doing so helping developing nations to moderate high fertility rates"
"Family planning programs, which offer a range of contraceptive choices to couples, have led to sharp increases in the use of contraceptives in the developing world. This trend in turn has had a marked effect on fertility rates since the mid-1960s. "

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 7:23 am
Do we really know what is happening in North Korea John?

Deborah W (6)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 8:17 am
If greed and power were brought to their knees by the masses ... if the givers and takers combined for community ... this would be a much smaller and unacceptable issue, no longer accepted as a "norm".

We all own it, like it or not, by our choices and commitments -- or not!

M B (62)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 10:56 am
fighting for food - will that be our future ? There are already many food preppers, that's frightening. Because they don't think about planet earth, but themselves only. We need to think outside the box; I saw some good comments here, like about African farmland, etc., contraception...The key is we need to work together on this, or else we're not lasting much longer.

jr s (35)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 12:48 pm
Over population for our current technologies?

Why do extremely poor people insist on having so many kids?

Even those on welfare in the U.S.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 1:10 pm
One major answer is the cost and difficulty of getting contraception (see article links above Jeff).

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 1:20 pm
Sooner or later the public needs to vent its frustration and anger... if they can riot in Greece and other places in the Euro about austerity measures, and food is far more vital to one's survival...

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 1:25 pm

Wow, Jeff I haven't seen you in about a year.

Poor people have more children for a variety of reasons. One is the cost of birth control, another is that religions do promote many children, the reasons for that are obvious. Another is simply lack of education. When you do not know the affect of having too many children, you do not understand the over all effect on the family, community or world population.

It is not to "game" the system as there is no profit margin in welfare, though others will claim differently.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 1:31 pm
Good summation Kit! Excellent examples Darren!
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Jean C (18)
Sunday March 10, 2013, 4:28 pm
Overpopulation leads to too many people competing for the same resources. What do you expect?

Kirsten Taufer (43)
Monday March 11, 2013, 11:32 am
Not surprising, but depressing. Thank you for spreading the information.

Shirley B (5)
Monday March 11, 2013, 1:01 pm
Contraception and conservation = Wonderful World. Great article J.L, great comments too.

JL A (281)
Monday March 11, 2013, 3:30 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Shirley because you have done so within the last day.

Glenville J Owen (0)
Monday March 11, 2013, 3:47 pm
We live in a beautiful world, and we abuse our crowded planet, our fellow humans and the diminishing creatures that live on it with us at our peril. Best to treat everyone and everything as we would like to be treated ourselves...with Love.

Lynn Squance (235)
Monday March 11, 2013, 11:31 pm
Can you say "Foodopoly" and "climate change" and "greed" and . . .

There are so many things that when put together make life very hard for everyone.

@ Scott --- You are delusional. This is an issue that affects the whole planet, and yes, we are our brother's keeper, just like he is our keeper. The greed agbusiness of the west is partially responsible for the problems elsewhere. Climate change affects everyone around the planet and has serious repercussions on the food and water supply. If you're not part of the solution, go back to your hidey hole never to emerge again.

JL A (281)
Tuesday March 12, 2013, 8:58 am
You cannot currently send a star to Lynn because you have done so within the last day.

Sergio Padilla (65)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 8:59 am
Of course, it makes sense for many reasons.... Noted

Melania P (123)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 2:41 pm
Sorry to say it, or if I sound too negative, but it is common sense that this will happen if we donīt stop HUMAN OVERPOPULATION and if we donīt change the way we produce foods....

JL A (281)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 4:55 pm
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