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Feeding People on Our Stressed Planet Will Require a 'Revolution'


#1

Feeding People on Our Stressed Planet Will Require a 'Revolution'

Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News

How do you make sure billions of people around the world have access to food?

You start a revolution.

At least that’s what two leading U.S. scientists argue in a new report. Feeding people will require cleaner energy, smarter farming and women’s rights, but also a “fundamental cultural change,” according to Paul Ehrlich, president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley, professor and researcher John Harte.


#2

“If they listened to engineers and scientists and did the right thing,.. "
Hmmm. Isn't our endless faith in ever-better technology one of the problems? 'Green' energy is only less polluting that dirtier types and it doesn't seem to be replacing the dirty types anyway... just adding to the overall amount we consume.
You want a real revolution? Abandon politics!


#3

Sometimes I think that biggest thing that we could do to help our beleaguered planet is to impose term limits! Corruption at the top is becoming deadly especially at the bottom. Ehrlich highly says that with our current crop of legislators that he isn't hopeful. They don't believe in science he says. I think they just don't care instead. They don't have to. Being in congress is long term employment and a cushy job at that.

Once back when I was young and still had reason to own a comb, the 1964 World's Fair (do they still have those?) was a big deal. The future was there on display in front of our eyes. One exhibit talked about population in the future. There was a digital clock showing over 3+ billion people were alive at that very moment with more being born every few seconds.

Much was made about how future populations would be fed by the green revolution, modern agriculture and ... the astoundingly bountiful richness from the sea. Endless supplies of fish year after year forever! Hundreds of millions of tons of fish which modern technology could now access easily.

No mention was made of waste, by catch, over fishing and sheer avarice and stupidity. We would eventually give a license to one boat to catch herring but it wasn't allowed to keep the other fish it caught and had to throw them back into the sea dead. Nearby another boat had a license for cod but couldn't keep any herring it caught etc.

Until now we find that up to 90% of the fish that we eat are gone. Many food fish species are endangered. Salmon runs on the west coast right now are dying from fungus diseases caused by river water too warm for their species. Once yearly salmon catches were tabulated in millions of tons. Salmon was cheaper than canned cat food. How expensive is salmon now?

The oceans are becoming devoid of fish and instead are filled with jellyfish and dead zones. Our economic system of unregulated exploitation was too subject to corruption and has made our species ... fools.

We were smart enough to know better but we over exploited our food supply and damaged its ability to regenerate.

We have met the enemy and he is ...

...just as stupid as we are.


#4

The istitutionalization/corporatization of ecological concerns as exemplified in the Carbon Trading schemes is colonization by predatory capitalism come full circle: the UN is actually being forced to struggle against corporate tree plantations being called "forests". These green deserts, loaded with agrotoxins ARE NOT FORESTS!

For anyone who might like to sign the petition mounted by Rainforest Rescue - to get on record and share:

To: FAO General Director José Graziano da Silva, Trevor Abrahams and Tiina Vahanen

The FAO definition reduces forests to mere tree cover. We strongly believe that this must be
changed and that plantations must no longer be defined as forests. (con't.)

Likewise - Tell Congress: Protect the whistleblowers who expose abuse in factory farms.


#5

Some cities are greening with rooftop gardens and renewable energy. People want to live in cities because everything is close by. But gardening on limited space doesn't accommodate prospective gardeners. These will be leaving their city apartments and moving to the suburbs and the country where they have room for gardening and farming. BTW, Pot legalization is creating an interest in gardening.

So the only impediment to taking the advantages of city living to the country is transportation, which is easily solved with bicycles, mass transit, electric self driving vehicles, high speed trains and other technological advances. Event ancient transportation like horses and carriages would be a welcome sight, providing beauty, fun and organic manure for fertilizer.

Decentralizing food production, like decentralizing government, will in my view, be the answer.


#6

"The FAO definition reduces forests to mere tree cover. We strongly believe that this must be
changed and that plantations must no longer be defined as forests. (con't.)"

Signed. Thanks for the info OG.


#7

Term limits is not the answer. There's a never ending supply of first term, corruptible, usually rich assholes.


#8

Well it would get rid of the old boy network and famous fogeys that look and sound senile. Legislators wouldn't have decades to set up corruption pipelines and do favors for big money contributors. We need new ideas which will only come from new blood.

Old dogs can learn new tricks but they won't vote for them.


#9

This article is just plain old mainstream thinking. Nothing wrong with it but nothing at all revolutionary about it. They don't even suggest abandoning the meat diet that plays a huge role in environmental devastation, health care costs, animal suffering and global warming, i.e., the 500 pound gorilla in the room. Their comments about wind and solar are just common sense. This country has gone so far to the right that conservative common sense is ballyhooed as being revolutionary. Groan.


#10

The main reason term limits are a non starter is power seeks a vacuum - and it will re-enforce the permanent, unelected government of bureaucrats with their network, that someone breezing in and out every four years isn't going to topple. Take Obama for example. Do you really believe that an unconnected person, with term limits, who breezes in and out of office every 4 to 8 years, is really in charge of the pentagon, despite his commander-in-chief title? Think what happened to JFK before you answer.


#11

I am sorry but I get sick of hearing how fruitless it all is and blah blah blech! Yeah I know. I freakin' remember. Your criticisms are valid points but then what? Are you 'just saying' and nothing more? We don't have term limits now, oligarchy is taking over and you figure term limits wouldn't help? What exactly is your point please?

Yeah I know about the Vietnam War/JFK thing. I think that is simplistic in an arcane way. Something else was involved. You see the rise of oligarchy around us? This has been a process that has grown and I think that Kennedy was one of those people in history that wanted to be a historical figure. Kennedy wanted something else for America than what we got. Kennedy wanted change systemic wide change. Capitalist of course but a more socially healthy capitalism.

In Kennedy's day the maximum tax rate was 90%. Think about that. America was the richest and most vibrant country on Earth. The biggest corporations, the highest paid workers, the American dream was real and available to everyone (once civil rights became the norm anyway).

Kennedy wanted something different for America than oligarchy. That is my belief. Since Kennedy's death, we have slowly slid downwards into oligarchy to a point where the supreme court says it is legal for a few mega rich billionaires to influence our election using as much money as they want, to where corporate lobbyists write laws governing their industries, to where there is an unabashed revolving door between government agencies and industry as well as in the MIC.

Kennedy was killed because Kennedy believed in a different future for America. Money and power killed Kennedy. Money and power is what we have isn't it?


#13

My point is term limits are not a solution. We have it now for Pres and it hasn't change things. The oligarchy isn't just now "taking over." The oligarchs wrote the constitution - ya' know that thing with the Bill of Rights at the end as amendments, as an afterthought to get popular support, because no one thought to write it into the body of the constitution.

My point is power is vested in the permanent/shadow government - the military, the corporations, etc. - not people who fly in and out of office.

Let's talk reality. Some guy just got voted into a $174K senate job for a few years. Now he has offers in the millions that will have him living nicely after his term limit job ends. Whatcha' think is going to happen a majority of the time?


#14

So tell me the solution? See that is the reality not some future utopian dream but real world right now. What solution do you have in mind?

I threw out the thoughts about term limits because it addresses the most egregious flaws in or representational system. A talented crook can spend decades in office with the help of cronies and big money influence/corruption.

New blood = new ideas.

Whereas the same old = the same old (what else would it equal - nothing changes).


#15

So tell me the solution?

I never thought you'd ask smile

Representational government isn't, and never has been representation of the majority interests. Talking global, not just USA. Without instant communication, it's the best the 17th century could offer. My solution is power to the people: the senate and house would be replaced by instant voting by the people - you and me. No more begging and bribing corrupted jerks to vote the way expected them to when they were elected.
We, the people, will be in charge. Hey, we could even slash the military budget if we wished.

It's not as utopian as it seems, nor will it necessarily require a violent revolution. All it takes is one more state to call for a new constitutional convention. Just need to build critical mass to make sure the people writing our new constitution, this time around, aren't the oligarchs.


#16

Fair enough and I'd accept voting from home or cell phone etc.. I agree with you and always have about this issue. Several decades of agreement actually. Over time I started to see referendum voting as a mixed blessing but direct voting seems good but that would mean serious difficulties with hackers and such when voting from home.

The following is a >>> Yeah I know you didn't ask but I'm throwing it out there anyway thingie!

How about proportional representation instead of winner take all elections? The Repub party gets a certain number of seats in the House based on votes and the same for the Dems. However the third party gets a proportional number of seats, the polka dot party theirs based on how many voters vote for them etc.


#17

Cool. Great minds think alike.

Proportional representation, or a parliament system, is currently being used by the world's democracies, yet it's still the oligarchs that rule.

JFK: Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.


#18

Yes you've got a point about how oligarchy rules in proportional representation too.

What can I say? At least proportional representation makes them work harder to get what they want. Our two party system makes it too easy for them. Lol


#20

Mainstream commercialization of insects has begun. Instead of chips, you can eat Chirps! Only one example of the commercialization of insect foods.


#21

Government is already decentralized to a large degree here in the US. My town takes care of my trash and roads closest to me. The county maintains roads between towns and provides some social services related to mental health and housing. The state takes care of things like managing wildlife, maintaining state highways, additional social services etc.

The federalist model seems necessary to prevent local governments from going to war over boundary disputes, or trampling on the rights of individuals. Within this model there's certainly room for more local control.

There's an interesting solution proposed at http://www.thirty-thousand.org which would have a limited effect of decentralizing the Federal government by creating new Federal cities for an expanded House of Representatives.

Here in Maine about a dozen towns have passed food sovereignty ordinances that permit people to buy and sell food from local farms within town limits without being subject to state regulations. The idea is that commerce happening within the town borders isn't subject to state control, in the same way that commerce happening within the state borders isn't subject to federal control (in practice feds do intervene in various ways and questions of preemption will always be with us).

Local assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of free nations. Town-meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.
- Alexis de Tocqueville


#22

"U.S. Congress is ruled by a majority that doesn’t want to listen to facts.... "

Ditto the Chinese and their government.

Ditto India and its government.

Ditto every SE Asian government and most of their people, if the people even get the facts.

Dittto........(fill in the gap)........governments.