Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Food? Low Food? Not At All Good

Why am I so frigging cheerful? (It's a tongue in cheek question.) Dunno. Cannot begin to answer that question because I don't see how anybody can be very encouraged by the kind of news we're reading about the climate, the drought, and the seemingly inevitable consequences of both. The drought is going to have very bad consequences. Much higher food prices and widespread hunger. Both of these things, in addition to their physical effects have wide-ranging and awful social consequences too. Hungry people are angry people. They fight others, they cause riots, they emigrate to places that don't want them and cause violence there. All out wars for food are not unheard of.

This piece in Tom Dispatch is just scary as hell. And it's got a local hook. Here's the way it begins:
Wherever you look, the heat, the drought, and the fires stagger the imagination.  Now, it’s Oklahoma at the heart of the American firestorm, with “18 straight days of 100-plus degree temperatures and persistent drought” and so many fires in neighboring states that extra help is unavailable. It’s the summer of heat across the U.S., where the first six months of the year have been the hottest on record (and the bugs are turning out in droves in response).  Heat records are continually being broken.  More than 52% of the country is now experiencing some level of drought, and drought conditions are actually intensifying in the Midwest; 66% of the Illinois corn crop is in “poor” or “very poor” shape, with similarly devastating percentages across the rest of the Midwest.  The average is 48% across the corn belt, and for soybeans 37% -- and it looks as if next year’s corn crop may be endangered as well.  More than half of U.S. counties are officially in drought conditions and, according to the Department of Agriculture, “three-quarters of the nation's cattle acreage is now inside a drought-stricken area, as is about two-thirds of the country's hay acreage.”  Worse yet, there’s no help in sight -- not from the heavens, not even from Congress, which adjourned for the summer without passing a relief package for farmers suffering through some of the worst months since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. 

In sum, it’s swelteringly, unnerving bad right now in a way that most of us can’t remember. And that’s the present moment.
You should read it. And check out the first link "stagger the imagination," too. Anybody who's going along whistling through this graveyard of global warming effects is just fooling themselves. Things are really bad this year again: droughts, fires, hellish heat, freaky weather all over the world. And endless conflict all over the world, it seems. Matters seem worse this year than they were last. And this, brothers and sisters, is just the beginning.

I say to myself: how bad do things have to get before there's collective recognition of what we've done to ourselves by our heedless consumption? Alas, I have little hope the world is going to come to its collective senses . . . I am truly worried for my kids and their kids.
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