Saturday, August 30, 2014

Diary of the Last Age, food

I've already discussed seafood.  But there are already effects of global warming on agriculture and husbandry.  Extreme weather events are having an impact on prices of meat and grain.  Droughts affecting wheat and corn are going to affect meat as well since cattle and sheep are fed grain.  Food is going to become more expensive, more scarce, and then on top of that the world's population is approaching 8 billion by 2025.  This is happening to some degree right now, but extremely exacerbated in coming years.  Mass starvation is certain to occur.  Everyone reading this now will be affected.

Perhaps the countries of the world will get it together and impose a carbon tax, the only real solution to global warming.  If that happens, the importation of food will become close to prohibitive.  No more fresh fruit and vegetables year around.  Everything in the grocery store will become seasonal, and local.  People will relearn canning and storage for the winters.  It'll be like the thirties and the forties again.  At least in North America.  Elsewhere there'll be starvation.

Without the carbon tax we have serious warming to look forward to.  Oil companies will keep the freight ships and trains going and an international food market will continue, getting more and more expensive as time goes on as extreme weather has its impact.  Then only the wealthiest and most well placed will have steaks and melons and bread.

What will the rest of of us do?  I'm not sure.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, local farming will become important.  But the demand will be intense.  Distribution will be highly stratified.  Some will have, and some will not.  What are the people without resources or influence going to do?  Everyone will cultivate a garden, but how is that going to supply a family for a year?

This may sound strange, but the acidification of the oceans will be favorable for one type of seafood species, the jellyfish, and they're edible.  And the Puget Sound will be filled with them in the coming years.