Are you feeling the pinch at the grocery store lately? If you are, then you aren’t the only one.
In a recent online article written by Elishabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times, she explains that the abnormal increase in global food commodity prices is a result of diminished global supply caused by freak weather events. This past summer, the flooding in Pakistan and prolonged drought and wildfires that plagued Russia, have co-conspired with other incidents worldwide to cause many dietary staples, such as the onion in India to more than double in price since 2009.
Sadly, this state of global food affairs will get a lot worse before they improve. This is due in large part to the phenomenon of peak oil. Our global addiction to economic growth over the past fifty years has been supported by sourcing and exploiting cheap oil, which is coming to a resultant end. With the lack of new oil wells being found and opened, as existing ones are exhausted the only solution has been to extract oil from previously undesirable and costly locations such as the tar sands in Northern Alberta.
Oil, has been so instrumental in the global food production model, that the green revolution of the 1950s and 1960s wouldn’t have occurred without it. The old idiom of being what you eat is shockingly relevant when we considered the role of oil and oil based derivatives in the cultivation of our food, says Richard Heinberg a peak-oil author: “about 350 gallons (1,500 litres) of oil equivalents are required to feed each American each year, and every calorie of food produced requires, on average, ten calories of fossil fuel inputs.”
If you are anything like me, than this is where we encounter the collective, ‘o-shit’ moment. We are in over our heads, when you consider that the North American food budget has shrunk dramatically over the past half-century. So, what is to be done to avert this coming crisis- well stayed tuned for my next post to find out the answer to this very important question.