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 'Nine meals from anarchy'

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PostSubject: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:02 pm

The article below is about the UK but it applies to Ireland - and every country - just as much if not more so:

Quote :
Nothing reveals the thin veneer of civilisation like a threat to its fuel or food supply, or the cracks in society like a major climate-related disaster. But that, increasingly, is what we face: the global peak and decline of oil production; and a global food chain in crisis due to multiple stresses including imminent, potentially irreversible global warming.

The vulnerability of our system was revealed in the year 2000 when fuel protests in the UK disrupted food supplies and left the nation just, “nine meals from anarchy.” At the time, the government were able to force the restoration of fuel supplies. That was a short-term protest, but what if it’s the ground itself protesting that there is no longer enough oil to go around?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said of world oil production that there will be, “a narrowing of spare capacity to minimal levels by 2013,”making, “significant downward revisions” from the previous year. Economic and social impacts from such a market shock could be even faster, deeper and more global than any banking crisis. They could also be potentially irreversible.
The IEA’s motto is, “energy security, growth and sustainability,” which is fine, except that there doesn’t appear to be any. Our food system depends on oil not just for transport, but also for chemical inputs without which intensive farming would fail. The UK lost its “energy independence” in 2004, and our reliance on external supplies, the subject of hotly competing interests, is steadily growing.
In Britain, until the early 1990s secret food stocks of easily stored basics like biscuits and flour were held officially. Now, the government depends on the retailers whose vulnerable distribution networks are built around “just-in-time” delivery. But the supermarkets have undermined the resilience of our food chain equally by presiding over the hollowing-out of its infrastructure, in terms of the number, diversity and independence of producers, suppliers, and services.
On top of that is our collective de-skilling with regard to the preparation and storage of food. These are all things essential to resilience in the face of external shocks. Against this backdrop, our national food self-sufficiency is in long-term decline. It has fallen by over one fifth since 1995. So, we are increasingly dependent on imports at precisely the time when, for several reasons to do with climate, energy, economics and changing consumption patterns, the guarantee of the rest of the world’s ability to provide for us is weakening.
In April this year, 37 countries faced a food crisis due to a mix of climate-related, conflict and economic problems. From Haiti to Egypt, India and Burkina Faso there was rioting in the streets. Stocks of rice, on which half the world depends, were at their lowest level since the 1970s. Around the same time, U.S. wheat stocks were forecast to drop to their lowest levels since 1948.
The fabric of the food chain is wearing thin. Energy issues, global warming and energy-intensive eating habits are now poking holes through it. For example, intensive farming’s big weak point is its dependence on fossil fuels to defy ecological gravity. As much a contributor to climate change, farming is uniquely and immediately vulnerable to warming. Against the background of terrifying long-term projections for global drought from the UK’s Hadley Centre, a single extreme weather event can tip any season’s global food cart.
Our approach to natural resources is more related than we realise to the catastrophic creation of unsustainable levels of financial credit. The latter, for example, helped finance the over-consumption of the former. And, the idea that we can have limitlessly rising resource consumption is even more dangerous than the illusion, now shattered, that credit can be extended without end.
At an international level, to reinforce social and environmental resilience, a massive transformation of our energy, transport, food and construction systems is needed that also compresses global income inequality, raising the incomes of the poor and lowering the consumption of the rich. Roosevelt’s original new deal brought stability, developed new infrastructure and radically reduced income inequality. A green new deal for environmental transformation today could do the same.
To prevent chaos in the face of external shocks, we need an economic system that builds strong human and communal relationships and steers us towards living within our environmental means. Recession, fuel and food and fuel prices are spurring a dramatic growth of vegetable gardening and urban agriculture. Elsewhere, Transition Towns are attempting to break our carbon chains, and, through diversity and decentralisation, strengthen the nation’s community and economic fabric. A sort of cultural self-medication is happening. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has begun alerting government to the scale of the problem — the challenge now is to ensure that government policies don’t, through out-dated market-obsessed economic thinking inadvertently increase the nation’s vulnerability, rather than strengthening our resilience
.

The most discouraging thing in all of this is that governments continue to address these problems with the very policies that caused them in the first place, as the author Andrew Simms, points out above. We are going to have to take matters in our own hands if we are even going to survive. Here is an excerpt from another thought provoking and extremely worrying article - link to full piece below:

Quote :
The 'black gold' is embedded in our complex global food systems, in its fertilisers, the mechanisation necessary for its production, its transportation and its packaging.

For example, to farm a single cow and deliver it to market requires the equivalent of six barrels of oil - enough to drive a car from New York to LA.
Unbelievable? One analysis of the fodder pellets which are fed to the vast majority of beef cows to supplement their grazing found that they were made up of ingredients that had originated in six different countries. Think of the fuel required to transport that lot around the world.
Now factor in the the diesel used by the farm vehicles, the carbon footprint of chemical fertilisers used by most nonorganic beef farms and the energy required to transport a cow to the abattoir and process it. The total oil requirement soon adds up.
And so as oil prices have risen, so too has the cost of food - and I'm afraid it's only set to get worse. The age of cheap food is at an end - and it will impact not only on our supermarket bills, but on the whole economy.
Fifty years ago, food represented around 30 per cent of the average household budget, whereas nowadays it is nearer to 9 per cent.
In other words, cheap food has not only helped keep inflation down, it also allowed the postwar consumer boom to flourish.
With our most basic and necessary commodity - the food on our plates - costing proportionally less every decade, we had plenty of free capital to spend on luxuries: flat-screen TVs; the holidays abroad; the home improvements and extensions that so many of us have acquired.
That's all set to change in a major way. A new era of austerity is approaching, and we are illprepared for its scale and effect. As a farmer myself, who runs a smallholding in Somerset, I was one of the first to detect the winds of change, as the prices for my animal feed rose.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024833/Nine-meals-anarchy--Britain-facing-real-food-crisis.html
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:10 pm

I've a good freezer...
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:27 pm

That is well put Aragon. We in Machine Nation have a good record of paying attention to food security in this and some other threads. Such is the general underlying complacency though that we have tended to drift back to the state of our own larder and kitchen gardens. Expatgirl who has an agricultural background I think has posted quite a bit on the extreme oil dependency of our food supplies.

I tried broaching this in policy circles at the time the NSS was being made in 2000 and was met with total blankness. We do nothing to protect our most productive land which is normal practice in land planning in most European countries. The population levels we have now are reliant on oil dependent food.
The prospects if we don't deal with this is mass famines and devastating resource wars. I don't believe this is inevitable or necessary, but we need to be acting on shifting from oil dependent food with just as much urgency as we need to be acting on climate change.

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/agriculture-and-food-f50/the-end-of-food-security-pricing-the-poor-out-of-the-food-t51.htm?highlight=food+security

Are you thinking that the Lord Will Provide johnfás? I'm not at all sure that he will, unless on the principle that the Lord helps those who help themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:30 pm

cactus flower wrote:

Are you thinking that the Lord Will Provide johnfás? I'm not at all sure that he will, unless on the principle that the Lord helps those who help themselves.

We have one years worth of baked beans in the johnfás panic room and I would imagine that the same source could provide ample natural central heating for the house.
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:37 pm

johnfás wrote:
cactus flower wrote:

Are you thinking that the Lord Will Provide johnfás? I'm not at all sure that he will, unless on the principle that the Lord helps those who help themselves.

We have one years worth of baked beans in the johnfás panic room and I would imagine that the same source could provide ample natural central heating for the house.

It will want to be a good panic room when the starving hordes from Crumlin descend to loot Dublin 4.
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:38 pm

Don't live in Dublin 4 I am afraid. I live much closer to Crumlin than you must think. Same constituency. Same Ward within the Constituency. My Mother's job is heavily involved with drugs rehabilitation within Crumlin.

You don't have to write me off as a D 4 Cactus Wink.
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:41 pm

cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
cactus flower wrote:

Are you thinking that the Lord Will Provide johnfás? I'm not at all sure that he will, unless on the principle that the Lord helps those who help themselves.

We have one years worth of baked beans in the johnfás panic room and I would imagine that the same source could provide ample natural central heating for the house.

It will want to be a good panic room when the starving hordes from Crumlin descend to loot Dublin 4.

Bean sprouts are apparently the most nutritious form of food. I can only tolerate them as a rule in heavily dressed salads with lots of other ingredients to disguise them but in a time of panic or shortage they would provide a seriously valuable life line. Worth stocking up on sproutable pulses - though I think their ability to sprout fades after about a year or so:

http://www.isga-sprouts.org/history.htm
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:04 pm

johnfás wrote:
Don't live in Dublin 4 I am afraid. I live much closer to Crumlin than you must think. Same constituency. Same Ward within the Constituency. My Mother's job is heavily involved with drugs rehabilitation within Crumlin.

You don't have to write me off as a D 4 Cactus Wink.

Then you will know exactly what I am talking about Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:14 pm

Baked Beans are very good for you. They contain antioxidants which protect the cells within your body, as well as protecting you from various diseases. Low in fat, full of fibre and protein as well as being a valuable source of iron, folic acid and potassium.

A 150g tin of beans costs about 45 cent at the supermarket and measures 6.7cm in diameter x 5.5 cm tall. The best before date on a tin is approximately one year after you buy it though I am quite sure it would last longer. The average cupboard in my kitchen is 57cm wide, 32cm deep and 66cm tall. Consequently each cupboard in my kitchen could comfortably store 384 150g tins of beans at a cost of €172.80.

Now there is food security.
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:07 pm

johnfás wrote:
Baked Beans are very good for you. They contain antioxidants which protect the cells within your body, as well as protecting you from various diseases. Low in fat, full of fibre and protein as well as being a valuable source of iron, folic acid and potassium.

A 150g tin of beans costs about 45 cent at the supermarket and measures 6.7cm in diameter x 5.5 cm tall. The best before date on a tin is approximately one year after you buy it though I am quite sure it would last longer. The average cupboard in my kitchen is 57cm wide, 32cm deep and 66cm tall. Consequently each cupboard in my kitchen could comfortably store 384 150g tins of beans at a cost of €172.80.

Now there is food security.

you seem intimately acquanted with beans, a legacy of your student days?
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PostSubject: Re: 'Nine meals from anarchy'   Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:16 pm

zakalwe wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Baked Beans are very good for you. They contain antioxidants which protect the cells within your body, as well as protecting you from various diseases. Low in fat, full of fibre and protein as well as being a valuable source of iron, folic acid and potassium.

A 150g tin of beans costs about 45 cent at the supermarket and measures 6.7cm in diameter x 5.5 cm tall. The best before date on a tin is approximately one year after you buy it though I am quite sure it would last longer. The average cupboard in my kitchen is 57cm wide, 32cm deep and 66cm tall. Consequently each cupboard in my kitchen could comfortably store 384 150g tins of beans at a cost of €172.80.

Now there is food security.

you seem intimately acquanted with beans, a legacy of your student days?

Looks like you are getting prepared for the big war, johnfás with all those crates of beans. With the device below you can get even more mileage from them.

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