Current strategies for “Building Back Better” after COVID-19 and the economic depression it has precipitated will, in fact, aggravate ecological decline and heighten the social divide between the rich and the poor around the world.
For background material and analysis see:
- “The mistake of petro-intensive agriculture – the UNA “Global Engagement Summit” – 22 February 2019.”
- “Killing the Soil that Feeds Us: Food, Profit & the Fatal Impact of Petro-Dependent Agriculture”
- “Needed: An Honest Cost-Benefit Analysis of Fossil Fuels to Avoid Extinction.”
as well as:
- “Just Take the Case of Agriculture…”
- Excerpts from the UNA “Global Engagement Summit” – 22 February 2019 – Prof. T.C. Weiskel
The agriculture of the modern world has become a petro-intensive agriculture. The global food system only exists and persists through a large and continuous subsidy from non-renewable fossil fuels — for the fertilizers, the tractors, the pesticides, the pumped irrigation water systems, the processing, the freezing, the transportation, etc. Without these subsidies the global food system will collapse.
This is a very recent and quite precarious situation. In the last seventy to eighty years the human community has shifted from a solar-sustainable agriculture to a petro-dependent agriculture — just when the non-renewables are both becoming more expensive AND we are just beginning to experience the system-wide climate instabilities that our rapid use of fossil fuels has unleashed upon the world as a whole. The “green revolution” is not the solution to our food problem. Rather, to a very disturbing extent, it is now understood as a major source of our collective climate problem. The “gene” revolution will offer little that is better in this regard, for it, too, is a heavily petro-subsidized form of production.
We need to move quickly as an entire human community to rediscover, recover, revive and now create new forms of solar-sustainable agriculture to move rapidly toward a solar-sustainable food system that “fixes” carbon underground rather than “releases” it in agricultural production.
No organism or population can outlive its food supply. Agriculture is humankind’s primary production system. With the important exception of women’s breast milk, humans do not produce food; plants produce food. We cannot photosynthesize because we are on the second tropic level in Earth’s ecosystem. We need to learn rapidly how to assist plants in capturing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth in continuous solar-driven cycles that in the process produce enough “food” for us to live upon.
VOX – Voices from Oxford – Tim Weiskel and
See further discussion of agriculture and the climate crisis in the works of