By and large there is a far too simplistic debate about the role of livestock in our food and agriculture systems.
Fifty years after its publication, and about to be reissued in a new ‘Fiftieth Anniversary’ edition, ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ remains completely relevant and up-to-date because it was so ahead of its time.
Now is the time to build a new, more humane, more robust food system on the ruins of the one that has failed us. This nation can have an ample, nutritious food supply without exploiting and endangering the people who produce and process it.
In some places, people will subsist on animal husbandry or hunting and fishing, like the Maasai or Inuit; in others, tree crops will form the bulk of the diet. Densely concentrated farming will have to be used in some areas, where far more calories per acre will be needed than corn or wheat can provide.
Silicon Valley meets Hollywood. That is the best description of how we will get food in the future if we would believe the impressive number of food tech start-ups which will produce food without soil or animals. But few of them deliver on their exaggerated promises.
The clearest point which comes through Wuthnow’s thoughtful engagement with the dozens of farmers he and his assistants interviewed, and with the reams of data about rural populations, farm economics, and more that they assessed, is simply this: most American farmers, most of the time, are not agrarians.
So here I want to take a critical look at the Breakthrough Institute’s line on the necessity of synthetic nitrogen in world agriculture, which is laid out in its agronomic aspects in this post by Dan Blaustein-Rejto and Linus Blomqvist (henceforth B&B), and in its historical aspects in this one by Marc Brazeau.
That brings me to my main point:…actually, when it comes to a lot of things – if we want to talk about ‘the elephant in the room’, it isn’t human population. It’s capitalism.
It’s said that money makes the world go round. But since money is a proxy for energy, it would be closer to say that energy makes the world go round. But they’re both wrong. Truth is, shit makes the world go round.
Among the manifold quotes that are attributed to Albert Einstein, are variants along the lines of: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Hear about an online sharing system where no currency changes hands, and no new materials are used to make more stuff.
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