I have to say that I’m impressed by the recent number of quality documentaries appearing on Australian free channels. Last night, The Future of Food aired on SBS (available for viewing here for the time being). When I set out on this site, largely what is discussed in The Future of Food was my intended focus. However, you cannot discuss food security without mentioning climate change and in doing so, every last troll crawls out of every dark, dank little corner to tell you how climate-change-isn’t-occurring-is-occurring-but-isn’t-our-fault-is-only-a-little-bit-our-fault….
The AGW debate (as I’ve wrote on this blog since I began it over a year ago now) is pointless seeing as climate is visibly changing (regardless of the reason) and oil insecurity is on the increase. The fires, floods and droughts over the past few years have put stress on many food producers. Of course this isn’t entirely the result of climate change, but you’d have to be an idiot not to suspect that the changing climate is playing a role.
Farmer Ian Dalton says it best, “During the 2007-2008 sort of years, and the harvest of 2007, we’ve seen huge volatility (climate and supply). So, you know, prices of wheat doubling and then halving in less than twelve months is extremely difficult position for farmers to manage their businesses… One of the issues that farmers have got to face is this volatility. And what it does to me is make it very difficult to decide what to grow next year and that will effect the yield.”
Around 15mins in to the presentation, they start to discuss the often ignored side to food production – oil. Oil, more than any other input, radically changed modern agriculture, which is now severely oil dependent. You think the day-to-day price shifts at the local petrol station is concerning – just think what this really means to producing food (as I previously discussed in Innovation is Key from chapter 10, and here among other posts).
Bio-fuel doesn’t escape criticism either (something I also discussed in Innovation is key in chapter 3). Basically, we’re choosing between feeding ourselves or our vehicles (actually, bio-fuels tend to be made in poorer areas, so we in the west, eat and drive while they suffer).
Of course water, being so important for food production, also gets a mention. Fresh water supply is without a doubt just as insecure as food and increasingly oil, only compounding the problem.
But I’ll leave it there, hoping that at least some of my readers watch the documentary themselves. I have discussed in limited detail that a new collective project is in the works behind the scenes (and is coming along better than I had expected) and The Future of Food is a great example of my motivation for this blog, but more so the project currently under construction.
Alongside shelter and biodiversity, I truly believe that it’s our obligation to ensure that future generations are supplied a world with as much (if not more) food, water and energy security as we have known. It’s not merely a nice act of charity, but a basic humane obligation. I can’t stress that enough. We regret some of the foolish actions of our ancestors, but how much worse would it have been if they had thrown a massive “house party” before we got here and entirely trashed the place?
To continue with business-as-usual with the knowledge that we now have is to basically do just that. If we are modern, sophisticated and truly children of the technological/enlightened era, progress and innovation are our best friends. We must act on what we know and truly take control of human activity rather than continue to hold the reins to the dying horse of fossil fuel.