Bill McKibben Advocates For Food Security

This week, it has been revealed that part of Vladimir Putin’s strategy in Ukraine is to deprive significant portions of the world’s population of enough food to eat. Food security, or rather the lack of it, will accomplish what atomic weapons cannot. Here’s how this plays out in the twisted little mind of this dangerous war criminal.

Prevent the wheat sitting in Ukraine grain silos from getting to world markets, especially Africa. That will force large numbers of famine refugees to migrate from Africa to Europe. A massive influx of black and brown faces will overwhelm the Continent, lead to the end of the European Union , and destroy NATO — which Pooty Poot despises with every fiber of his being.

The end game? Russia waltzes into a debilitated Europe and becomes the empire it was always meant to be — Vlad the Impaler as modern day Alexander the Great. If you are a tortured psychopath like Putin, this all makes sense to you.

Bill McKibben Argues For Food Security

One of the most prominent discussions in the world today is “energy security.” No country wants to be dependent on another for the fuels it needs to keep the wheels of commerce humming, especially if that other country has hostile intentions. But an even more basic concern is food security. Unless and until we are all replaced by cyborgs, starving people are a larger threat to political stability than high gasoline prices.

Writing in his blog The Crucial Years This week, activist Bill McKibben says, “The most basic of all human questions is, and always has been, ‘What’s for dinner.’ Or, even more fundamentally, ‘Is there going to be any?’ For decades’s been getting easier to answer that question: the world’s food supply grew fairly steadily, albeit it with many caveats that came from the reliance on fertilization, chemicals, and hybrid seeds that powered the Green Revolution. But do not expect the future to look like the past.” He goes on to say,

“But the world is only in this fix because climate change has already begun to worsen its ability to produce food. The number of hungry people began to rise in the years before the pandemic, as storms and droughts began impacting harvests. At the moment, for instance, a dry winter and then a wet spring have managed to crimp both of America’s important wheat harvests and other big producers like Australia are dealing with dramatic flooding.

“We tend to focus on commodities like wine or chocolate, but we’re actually talking about wheat, rice, corn — and about the panics that can begin to set in when they start to run short. India, the second biggest wheat grower on earth, imposed a ban on exports in May when soaring temperatures started to cut into yields. The price of corn is up 20% since invaded Ukraine, and wheat Putin 30%. This is an annoyance for most Americans, part of the “inflation crisis.” But if you spend half your daily income on grain, nothing that’s happened this year is more important than that price increase. At the moment, according to one recent study, 71% of people in India can’t afford a healthy diet.

“This will obviously grow steadily worse if we let carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. As the indubitable Katherine Hayhoe, from her new post as chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, recently pointed out, there’s simply no way to adapt to the temperature rises in the offing.

“Human civilization is based on the assumption of a stable climate,” she said. “But we are moving far beyond the stable range.” Wonder what she means? Consider this new study indicating that America’s corn belt — the single biggest patch of fertile soil on planet earth — may not be able to corn by the time today’s kids are my age.

“And wonder what that world looks like? The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said last week that using militaries to liberate the grain that Russia is preventing from export in the Ukraine would be “a high risk military operation.” According to the Defense News website, retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO, argued this week that ships under the auspices of the United Nations, NATO, or a coalition of nations could escort convoys of grain as US naval vessels escorted oil shipments in the 1980s, amid tensions with Iran, but as Milley pointed out, “right now, the sea lanes are blocked by mines and the Russian navy. In order to open up those sea lanes would require a very significant military effort.”

Yes, CleanTechnica readers, America — home to the most powerful military in history — stands impotent in the face of Putin’s aggression. Do we even want to get involved in a foreign conflict? And if not, why in heaven’s name are we spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on our defense budget?

McKibben ends with a plea to transition from fossil fuels to renewables as a way to cool the planet and increase food security for all. Yet 60% of the corn grown in Iowa is used to make ethanol for vehicles to burn. “One seventieth of that acreage devoted to solar panels and pumped into the battery of an EV would provide the same mileage,” he writes.

The Takeaway On Food Security

So here we are, America, wrapped up in our woes about high gas prices while we continue to build larger, heavier vehicles to go shopping in. We are too timid to use our military for its intended purpose, but continue to increase defense spending every year. We refuse to get serious about an overheating planet because one senator would rather protect his own personal financial interest than support the transition to renewable energy.

Abraham Maslow wrote extensively about what he called people’s hierarchy of needs. He said the two most basic needs are food and clothing. Shelter is next up on the ladder. Nowhere is there a place for a 6000-pound, 17-foot-long vehicle to haul the kiddies to soccer practice. Food security is something no one thinks about — until there is no food.

[Note: As this is being written, the EPA has announced new rules that require more corn-based ethanol to be blended with gasoline beginning this year. The move is a huge win for farmers in Iowa, but a disaster for people struggling with higher food prices. Ethanol can be made from any number of plant-based sources. Focusing on corn is wrong-headed and makes US food security worse. But nothing must be allowed to interfere with the God-given right of Americans to drive gigantic vehicles and the need to court votes out there in the heartland.]



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