The Problem .. & The Resistance


It's useful to be very aware of the full horror of the current industrial food industry & know exactly what we're eating (& funding, ie. voting for) when we buy supermarket food.  
Here are some award-winning documentaries on this subject.

But ultimately ... is the cruelty a cause or a consequence?  And what might it be a consequence of?   Here we also invite you to consider some possible answers to that question, in the last articles in this page.

Our Daily Bread


Has it's own page here: Unser Taglich Brot
It's a famous documentary that - being filmed without any dialogue - is ideal for showing in groups & encouraging live discussion.
It's particularly interesting to see the video with children whilst they ask things ... because we can answer & listen to the reactions of people whilst we're looking at the images, so creating a 'grounding' for these issues which are very emotional for the majority of us - which however we need to face.




Food Inc.

Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.


Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it's produced and who we have become as a nation.      See YouTube for latest full movie (likely to keep moving ..)





 


Resistance: The Meatrix 

The Meatrix (www.themeatrix.com) spoofs The Matrix films and highlights the problems with factory farming. 
Instead of Keanu Reeves, The Meatrix stars a young pig, Leo, who lives on a pleasant family farm... he thinks. 
Leo is approached by a trenchcoat-clad cow, Moopheus, and joins him on a journey to learn more about what goes on behind closed barn doors at factory farms.
 The Meatrix was created and produced by Sustainable Table (www.sustainabletable.org) and Free Range Studios (www.freerangestudios.com)

The Meatrix II 1/2






Store Grocery Wars

Parody of Star Wars about a fight between the organic & chemical foods ...
with incorporated spanish lesson ...




Food for thought. Thought for food

from PostCarbon.org

The introduction of fossil fuels into agriculture reduced much human suffering — but it also created a massive spike in global population, creating an ever-growing need for more food. While our population continues to grow exponentially, our resources for growing food — from oil (for fuel) and natural gas (for fertilizer) to freshwater and topsoil — are rapidly depleting around the world.

Eating organic and eating local are only part of the solution. How do we reform global industrial agriculture so that we can feed nearly seven billion people (and rising) without wasting precious resources needed for at least the rest of the century? How do we build the food resilience of communities which have grown dependent on food supply chains built for a world of cheap oil?

Ultimately a Population Problem

... or an Agriculture Problem 

"Humanity has been in overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity since it abandoned hunting and gathering in favor of crop cultivation (~ 8,000 BC) and it has been running up its ecological debt since then."

If we don't deal with the roots of the problem we're unlikely to find solutions, and here we encourage you to consider that all the cruelty of modern food production methods are not causes, but simply unavoidable consequences of agriculture (and civilization as we know it) being the "Type 1 Error" here.


Intensive Crop Culture for High Population is Unsustainable

from PopulationPress, an article by Peter Salonius

A growing number of media commentators, such as Allen Greer in The Australian, John Gray in the Guardian's Observer and Alan Weisman in his book The World Without Us, have begun to suggest that a world with fewer people would be far better placed to deal with climate change and the exhaustion of the dirty fuels of the industrial past.    Many of them appear to think that high technologies such as nuclear energy and Genetically Modified crops in combination with curbs on population would begin to dampen the environmental disruption that is becoming increasingly obvious.

However, the problem, as I have come to understand it, is even more serious than that visualized by these thoughtful individuals who are convinced that the neoclassical economic model of open-ended expansion and "so-called sustainable growth" is a recipe for disaster.

As we run up against all of the renewable and non-renewable resource depletions (Peak Oil, Peak Soil, Peak Minerals, etc.) that will characterize the foreseeable future, we require an entire rethink as to how we do business, due to the fact that the human enterprise has been living on borrowed time for millennia.

After 44 years of research and thinking about agricultural cultivation and silviculture, I have reluctantly been forced (I am a passionate farmer/gardener) to conclude that:

INTENSIVE CROP CULTURE IS UNSUSTAINABLE

Humanity has been in overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity since it abandoned hunting and gathering in favor of crop cultivation (~ 8,000 BC) and it has been running up its ecological debt since then.

William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel originated the idea of the Ecological Footprint and they appear to believe that the global human family overshot global carrying capacity sometime in the 20th century. Trying to get a perfect measure of overshoot is tantamount to "fiddling as Rome burns." We know we are in serious overshoot and we know that the total human footprint (whatever enormity it is) must get smaller.

I am convinced that we begin unsustainable resource depletion (overshoot) as soon as we use (and become dependent upon) the first unit of any non-renewable resource or renewable resource used unsustainably whose further use becomes essential to the functioning of society, such as:

  • THE FIRST TON OF COAL
  • THE FIRST LITRE OF OIL
  • THE FIRST KILOGRAM OF FISSIONABLE URANIUM
  • THE FIRST BARREL OF FOSSIL WATER FOR IRRIGATION-and
  • THE FIRST HECTARE OF FORMERLY NUTRIENT CONSERVATIVE NATIVE FOREST or GRASSLAND/PRAIRIE PLOWED

This last category of unsustainable renewable resource depletion (excessive leaching/export of plant nutrients from arable soils associated with most agricultural practice, and more recently also with harvesting of nutrient-rich forest biomass) has been looming over us, unseen, for 10,000 years. We can expect that it will catch up with us shortly because most of us are dependent on foodstuffs produced by unsustainable farming, and fiber produced by unsustainable forestry.

Recent visions, such as that put forward by the Post Carbon Institute's Relocalization program, of a fabric of local food and biofuel systems, revitalization of local industry, and community cooperation are good first steps that recognize global trade will wane as fossil fuel depletion gains momentum.   They are also an attempt to wean humanity off industrial food production that treats soil as a medium for fertilizer-dependent hydroponic agriculture, and simply a substrate to stand plants up in.   These are people who are interested in popularizing organic agriculture, solar powered tractors etc. that will make local economies more self-sufficient.

HOWEVER, these alterations are still tied to AGRICULTURE as a food production system-as they must be in the short term.

All agriculture depends on the replacement of complex, species diverse, self-managing, nutrient conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems with monocultures or "near monocultures" of food crop plants that rely on intensive management.   The simple shallow rooting habit of food crops and the requirement for bare soil cultivation produces soil erosion and plant nutrient loss far above the levels that can be replaced by microbial nitrogen fixation, accumulation of volcanic dust, and the weathering of minerals (rocks and course fragments) into active soils and plant-available soluble nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.

Under regimes dominated by complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems, erosion rates of soil mass are minimal, and the diverse and deep structure of the below-ground rooting community, and its microbial associates, makes the escape of plant nutrients entrained in downward-moving drainage (leaching) water to the ocean very difficult.

Our ultimate goal, as we attempt to achieve a sustainable human culture on Earth, must be to move toward the sustainable exploitation of complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems at rates that do not cause the loss of physical soil mass or plant nutrient capital any faster than they can be replaced by biological and weathering processes.

Obviously, as we move toward a solar-energy dependent natural economy, we will no longer be able to run the massive ecological deficits that temporary fossil and nuclear fuel availability have allowed.

Just as obviously the "solar-energy dependent economy" will not support the human numbers that have been able to exponentially increase slowly as a result of agricultural mining of soil nutrient stores for the last 10,000 years, and rapidly because of the availability of non-renewable fossil and nuclear energy subsidies during the last 250 years.

In order to lower the human population to levels supportable by sustainable exploitation of complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems we must begin to reestablish these natural ecosystems on lands that have been increasingly devoted to intensive cultivation during our agricultural past.

The best suggestion so far to produce Rapid Population Decline (RPD) is for the collective global human family to adopt a One Child Per Family (OCPF) "modus operandi/philosophy." Even with general acceptance of RPD and OCPF, the human population decrease that is necessary to achieve a sustainable solar energy-dependent culture will take several centuries.

As human numbers are contracting/shrinking under a OCPF/RPD scenario, the extant population will insist on being properly nourished- and the only way we can produce enough food for them is by agricultural means that will further deplete the arable soils on the planet.

During the centuries of transition, as we move toward a solar-dependent culture that again sustainably exploits complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems, we should be exercising as responsible an agriculture as possible on the shrinking arable land-base upon which it is still practiced. During this transition, the growing portion of the arable land base that is abandoned will rapidly revert toward natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems as soon as we cease cultivating it.

Peter Salonius is a soil microbiologist with the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre. His research has covered a wide variety of microbial ecology, soil organic matter decomposition, and silvicultural strategies to cope with anticipated climate change. He joined the Canadian Forest Service in 1966.

Note: This essay by soil scientist Peter Salonius is Part One of his two-part series for Culture Change that bursts the delusion of agriculture's providing for a large human population long-term. If after reading it you have doubt, read the scientific basis for it: the second part in the series, "Unsustainable soil mining, past, present and future."- Jan Lundberg, editor, Culture Change newsletter, February 10, 2008. Reprinted with permission from Culture Change, P.O. Box 4347, Arcata, CA 95518, Telephone 1-215-243-3144.



by Peter Salonius:


Humanity has been
 in overshoot of 
the Earth's carrying capacity 
since it abandoned 
hunting and gathering 
in favor of crop cultivation 
(~ 8,000 BC) 

and it has been 
running up its 
ecological debt 
since then.




Our ultimate goal, 
as we attempt 
to achieve a 
sustainable human 
culture on Earth, 

must be to 
move toward 
the sustainable exploitation 
of complex, 
species-diverse, 
self-managing, 
nutrient-conservative, 
natural grassland/prairie 
and forest ecosystems 
at rates that do not 
cause the loss of 
physical soil mass 
or plant nutrient capital 

any faster than 
they can be replaced 
by biological and 
weathering 
processes.





In order to 
lower the 
human population 
to levels supportable 
by sustainable exploitation 
of complex, 
species-diverse, 
self-managing, 
nutrient-conservative, 
natural grassland/prairie 
and forest ecosystems 

we must begin to 
reestablish these natural ecosystems 
on lands that 
have been increasingly 
devoted to intensive 
cultivation during 
our agricultural 
past.
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