Thursday, May 19, 2011

Food: The Hidden Driver of Global Politics

Heatwave and drought in Russia, 2010 (Link)

"The rule of thumb among crop ecologists is that for each one degree celsius rise in temperature, we can expect a ten percent decline in grain yields, so that's the sort of simplest link between rising temperatures and grain yields.  More fundamentally, agriculture as it exists today has evolved during an 11,000 year period in which there has been rather remarkable climate stability, so agriculture is designed to maximize production with that climate system, but that climate system is now changing, so that now, with each passing year, the agricultural system and the climate system are more and more out of sync with each other.  It used to be that when there was a weather event like a monsoon failure in India or a drought in the former Soviet Union, within a year or so, things would go back to normal.  Now, there is no norm to go back to.  Things are in a constant state of flux."

NPR Fresh Air interview with Lester Brown (Link)

Further Reading:

World on the Edge:  How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, Lester Brown

Earth Policy Institute

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