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Moral starvation - Article by Sally Pepper

I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian. I guess you could call me a reasonably discerning but practical omnivore but I’m becoming rather desperate to find something I can eat without feeling guilty about the harm I am doing to someone, something or to the environment.

The World is Not Hostile

Hobbes’ declaration that life is “Nasty, brutish and short” is often quoted today  (although , completely out of context, it was not unconditionally so) and modern economists may decry the “scarcity of resources”, but this is only one view of the world, and one that has been formed relatively recently in Western history – perhaps it is no coincidence that this attitude developed along with philosophies of self interest and social theories of “survival of the fittest” (this is no criticism of Darwin’s theories, just their misapplication to human affairs, as promoted by Herbert Spencer).

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The Realization of Human “Happiness”

The current social/political/economic system is based on the notion that greater economic/material well-being will lead us to "happiness." It doesn't seem to be working too well. Here's why. Although a certain degree of material well-being is necessary for a "decent" life, it is not a sufficient condition for "happiness." What's missing is a centuries-long colonization of the mind that has divorced human life from nature. Unless we reconnect, we will never find "happiness."

US Bill threat to basic human freedom to grow food

S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010,  may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US.  It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money. 

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes.

The Official Meatrix

This is a great film about corporate farming to pass on. It is not 'anti-farmer' per se. It talks about corporate farming impact on land-tenure and communities, our health, animals' living conditions, and peoples' rights. It will make you laugh. See also "How to make our agricultural sector sustainable"

Starving for gas

As the newsmedia clamours to whip the public into acceptance of the deal to sell the estimated 40 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Gorgon gas fields to the Chinese in a deal worth AU$50 billion and Liberal and Labor politicians try to claim the most credit for the deal, Professor Julian Cribb argues that we may well find ourselves, in future, without the sufficient gas to manufacture nitrogen based fertilisers necessary to maintain Australia's agricultural productivity.

Article by Professor Julian Cribb originally published on Online Line Opinion on 27 August 2009. The version here is slightly updated. Join in the discussion, there or here.
See also: Global Food Crisis pages on Science Alert, Garrett defends Gorgon approval in the SMH of 27 Aug 09, Gorgon gas project 'environmental vandalism' by Naomi Woodley for the ABC's PM of  Aug 09, Gorgon gas deal could set inflation hare running on the ABC news of 19 Aug 09,Joe Hockey claims Coalition credit for $50bn Gorgon gas deal byNicola Berkovic in the Australian of 19 Aug 09.

Organic White House garden gets Big Ag's knickers in a knot

After breaking ground on the new, 1100 square foot White House garden, Michelle Obama named chef Sam Kass to head the White House Food Initiative. And Kass isn't a fan of big agriculture and mass fertilisers. All of this positive PR for organics feels very threatening to Big Ag. So one group, the Mid America CropLife Association, has sent an email defending chemical ag to Mrs. Obama. See the letter inside.
See also, Christopher Cook's classic book, Diet for a dead planet and a fascinating interview with the author, which will make you want the book.

See also: discussion on the Life After the Oil Crash Forum

Will mass immigration mean mass starvation?

Canadian mass immigration apologists would have us believe that the frightening loss of farmland to development is simply a matter of poor land use planning, and that absurd levels of immigrant can be jacked up even further without ecological cost if "smart growth" strategies are followed. History has proven that claim a delusion and a lie.

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On The Brink Of A New Agricultural Revolution?

"In a keynote address to the Australian Society of Agronomy Conference, the Director of CSIRO's Agricultural Sustainability Initiative, Dr Brian Keating, said there is evidence that rates of increase in agricultural productivity are easing both in Australia and overseas."

Population key to global food crisis

Vermont writer David Grundy argues that it is well past time that religious extremists in the United States were disregarded so that desperately needed family planning aid could be sent to the Third World in order to stop the current food crisis from getting worse.

Original article published on 5 Jun 08 in www.burlingtonfreepress.com

See also Why is the UN so complacent in the face of over-population peril? of 2 Jul 08 by Brian McGavin, Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis of 4 Jul 08 by Aditya Chakrabortty.

Murray-Darling water - It’s time to use the P-word

Whilst John Corboy, co-convenor of the misnamed Foodbowl Unlimited held out hopes 12 months ago that Australia may stand to gain from the impending collapse of China's and India's irrigated agricultural sectors, our fate may be little different should we fail to stand up to the corporate interests who gain from the over-extraction of water from the Murray-Darling system.

See also Fair Water Use media releases. For information on a related topic, see articles about the threatened privatisation of NSW's electricity assets.

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Photo essay of a rural Japanese city

What do rural areas in Japan 'look like'? What are the main features of Japanese agriculture that make it different from agriculture in other countries? This article includes photographs of a rural city in Japan as well as a "food and energy crisis survival guide" survey for the city.

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The Final Energy Crisis 2: Questions and Discussion

Please feel free to leave comments to this blog if you have any questions or comments about my chapters in The Final Energy Crisis 2. Thank you.

Using the Internet to get yourself up to speed on the half-truths of the GM crop and food lobby

The Internet enables consumers and farmers to sort through the claims and counter-claims about Genetically Modified (GM) foods in order to understand the threat they pose to our health and our control of our food supply.

Last gasp for single desk marketing of Australian wheat

Over 500 farmers have turned out in force to protest at Parliament in Canberra in a last ditch attempt to persuade the Government not to ditch the single desk marketing of Australian wheat.

Food links

Working the land - or not of 23 Jun 08 by Jenny Hume on WebDiary. Describes the intricate dilemmas faced by an Australian farmer in the west of NSW – whether to continue grazing of livestock, which can be done sustainably, but which provides an insufficient income or to turn part or all of the farm over to mechanised monocultural wheat cropping, which, whilst far more lucrative, is at a frightening cost to the longer term viability of the farm.

A 10,000 year misunderstanding in Science Alert, Thur, 01 May 08 by Peter Salonius

Many keen thinkers have understood that the driver enabling our numbers to shoot so far over long-term carrying capacity has been the one-time gift of fossil fuels, ...

... the other major factor that has enabled our numbers to shoot so far over long-term carrying capacity has been the one-time gift of erodible soils and the vast store of nutrients they contained until we began to irreversibly mine them about 10,000 years ago with cultivation agriculture.

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Why R&D alone cannot solve the food crisis

In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, in response to Achim Steiner's article "For future peace, step forward for the great agricultural challenge" Dr. Jane O'Sullivan of the University of Queensland's School of Land Crop and Food Sciences, questions whether "sustainable and profitable farming that generates food security" for 9 billion people is physically possible.

Evo Morales re-nationalises energy and telecommunications companies, denounces biofuel-driven starvation

The BBC news service of 5 May reported that Bolivia's left wing indigenous President Evo Morales has moved to renationalise Bolivia's foreign energy and telecommunications companies. These had previously been privatised behind the backs of the Bolivian people in a process of IMF mandated 'reforms' which began in 1985 under the guidance of shock doctor Jeffrey Sachs.

See also Morales sets Bolivia recall date from BBC News of 12 May 08, Morales: The Problem is Capitalism from La Prensa of 17 May 08, Bolivia's Red Ponchos call to arms Youtube broadcast about Bolivia's indigenous pro-Morales militias - 04 May 08

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John Quiggin's failure to grasp the resources shortage crisis

On 5 June 2006 Social Democratic economist Professor John Quiggin stated “Most natural resources have actually become cheaper, but even in cases where prices have risen, such as that of oil, the economic impact has been marginal, relative to the long-run trend of increasing income.” Here is how I responded.

Food or immigrants? That is America's choice on Earth Day 2008

America's got a fever. The thermometer reads over 300 million residents, double what the nation's carrying capacity probably is. Brenda Walker says that "skyrocketing food prices and looming shortages" are a symptom of a patient at death's door. In America as in Canada and Australia, we have to make a choice. Are we going to continue to plant subdivisions, or crops? Grow immigrants or food?

Mass immigration, urbanisation, and industrial agriculture

Agribusiness has been able to provide a massive amount of apparently cheap food to a huge number of people at a double cost. A cost to the soil and a cost to the nutritional value of the food itself. Post-carbon agriculture will be more labour intensive and provide more nutritious food, but how can it hope to feed a population which has trebled in Canada since the 1940's and is still growing at a world-record rate?

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