You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Food & Agriculture’ category.

 Josephine Smit and Norman Pagett

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

Winston Churchill

Faced with inevitable decline in our access to hydrocarbon resources, we read of numerous ways in which we will have to downsize, use less, work less, grow our own food, use goods and services close to home, consume only what we can manufacture within our own personal environment, or within walking distance. If we are to survive, we must ‘live local’ because the means to exist in any other context is likely to become very difficult. There is rarely, if ever, any mention of the healthcare we currently enjoy, which has given us a reasonably fit and healthy 80 year average lifespan.

There seems to be a strange expectation that we will remain as healthy as we are now, or become even healthier still through a less stressful lifestyle of bucolic bliss, tending our vegetable gardens and chicken coops, irrespective of any other problems we face. And while ‘downsizing’ – a somewhat bizarre concept in itself – might affect every other aspect of our lives, it will not apply to doctors, medical staff, hospitals and the vast power-hungry pharmaceutical factories and supply chains that give them round the clock backup. Nor does downsizing appear to apply to the other emergency services we can call on if our home is on fire or those of criminal intent wish to relieve us of what is rightfully ours. Alternative lifestylers seem to have blanked out the detail that fire engines, ambulances and police cars need fuel, and the people who man them need to get paid, fed and moved around quickly. In other words ‘we’ can reduce our imprint on the environment, as long as those who support our way of life do not. Humanity, at least our ‘western’ developed segment of it, is enjoying a phase of good health and longevity that is an anomaly in historical terms. There is a refusal to recognize that our health and wellbeing will only last as long as we have cheap hydrocarbon energy available to support it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Editors Note: The following article by Peter Goodchild is reprinted with permission from the author’s blog, Countercurrents.org. The potential for four billion people succumbing to famine is certainly a symptom of poor health.

“Of all the humans who have ever lived on the Earth, most were born in the last 50 years.”

Around the beginning of the twenty-first century, there began a clash of two gigantic forces: overpopulation and oil depletion. The event went unnoticed by all but a few people, but it was quite real. As a result of that clash, the number of human beings on Earth must one day decline in order to match the decline in oil production.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to get those two giant forces into equilibrium in any gentle fashion, because in every year that has gone by for the last few thousand years — and every year that will arrive — the human population of Earth is automatically adjusted so that it is roughly equal to the planet’s carrying capacity. Like so many other animals, human beings always push themselves to the limits of that carrying capacity. The Age of Petroleum made us no wiser in that respect, and in fact dependence on fossil fuels has led us to a crisis far greater than any in the past…

Read the rest of this entry »

By Tony Davenport
[Editors Note: This article was originally published on page 16 of the S. African Sunday Independent on October 12, 2008]

It is not as bad as you might imagine – it’s worse, and before you bury your heads in the sands of collective denial, please consider how it is coming about. The truth will set you free, but first it will probably make you ill.

We have had it too easy with cheap energy for a century and the cheap part is going to disappear. Quickly. Energy is the ubiquitous part of everything we consume, and liquid fuel is getting scarce.

The easy part is to understand how we got to where we are. The difficult part is predicting how we can possibly manage to make our way out of this one. It will draw on our deepest resolve and wisdom, and probably require a “Copernican” shift in our thinking (Copernicus was the first astronomer to prove scientifically that the sun rather than the Earth was at the centre of our cosmic system).

We seem to have scientific prowess, but there’s no time for self-congratulation. This time the solutions are the cause of a much bigger problem. Our current pursuit of growth and the elevation of human material wants above all else are the raison d’être of the problem. We promote consumption and ignore efficiency. We live as though there is no tomorrow, and the way we are going there probably won’t be.

We might have just one last window of opportunity and it requires that we draw deeply on our resolve, think wisely and act purposefully. People will need to make unpleasant choices.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 76 other followers

Categories

Archives

RSS Energy Bulletin

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Miscellaneous

Please email the editors if you wish to contribute to Health After Oil.

What we're reading:

Turner, Graham. "A comparison of limits to growth with thirty years of reality." June, 2008.

Korowicz, David. "Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production." (From the Feasta and the Risk/Resilience Network). March, 2010.

Heinberg, Richard. "‘Searching for a Miracle. Net Energy’ Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society." Post Carbon Institute & International Forum on Globalization - September, 2009.