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The looming agricultural crises
Posted: 06 September 2012 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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[And everyone thinks I’m crazy when I say we should live on vat-grown miycoprotein, GE algae, and krill.  That crap we could make underneath out stripmalls and bargain stores.  Where values are king.


/quote]


Can you make it taste like a medium well T bone DM? If so then I’m your man! Spoon me up some if that algae and krill.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 07 September 2012 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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FreeInKy - 15 August 2012 11:56 AM

I have this argument often with some of my back-to-nature type friends. Most of them live on farms and raise most of what they eat, and they rail constantly against big agri-business, GM crops, pesticides, etc. And I have to constantly remind them that it’s only because of the rapid pace of advances in agricultural science that we have been able to keep feeding the world. There is no way to feed 7 billion people from the produce of small organic farms. I am by no means comfortable with all the practices of modern agriculture, particularly of the treatment of animals and the effects on the environment. But I am even less comfortable with watching the world starve to death.

Yea, perhaps if we hadn’t been so successful with all those fertilizers our populations wouldn’t be going through the roof and on the way making life impossible for everyone.  But, than that’s an old feeling grump crying over spilled milk.  Too late to close that barn door, now we just scramble to postpone the inevitable.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Yeah, I’m worried about arable land and forests being consumed for suburbia, suburban sprawl.  I think that farms and forests for wildlife are better uses for the land.  I think the daily walker lifestyle is better than the daily automotive one.  Maybe the local food movement will take some of the wind out of the industrial farm sails, small farms fit into tighter spaces.  I would like to be familiar with more farmers in my locale.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 07 September 2012 12:43 PM

I think the daily walker lifestyle is better than the daily automotive one.

I do too, but the car culture is so deeply embedded in (most) Americans. Also, it’s not always easy to find an affordable place to live near where you work, especially in large metropolitan areas.

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Derek

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Posted: 07 September 2012 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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During the recent real estate bubble the national trend was more houses, more suburbia, and more house such as McMansions.  Since the bubble burst and the economic decline, people are flocking back to cheaper rental apartments, cities have rental apartments. 

I think cities will rise again, and the suburbs will be waning.  More attention being payed to cities means landlords will want to raise prices, without any laws requiring affordable housing, they will try profit from the economic decline.  But many people want bigger spaces within the city, hopefully that can be built and be helpful to the economy, and restrain prices in the cities.  That’s one opinion, anyway.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I guess it depends on people wanting to live in the city. I like visiting the city, but I don’t want to live there. smile I like having a bit of a yard where my children can play and we can have a garden. Showing my views on the car culture… I also like plenty of parking.

My biggest complaint with high density living is I don’t want to hear what my neighbors are doing.

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Derek

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Posted: 08 September 2012 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I think that the rural attitude is: live out in the country, find a nice plot of land, despise the factories that are near-by for their noise and pollution (which is what the city people despised about them a hundred years ago when they were in the cities).  I think the suburban attitude is: I’m done with the city’s problems, I have a house with lots of space but want more, and I visit the city whenever I like, but parking should be as free as air and isn’t in the city.  I think the city attitude is: I like to be in the heart of the action, I’ll deal with the problems, I’ll visit the ‘burbs and rural areas when I have friends or family who invite me, but only a couple of times a year.

Audio privacy is a big deal that isn’t being addressed.  Infrastructure is a big deal too, hopefully the gov’t is taking that seriously.  When they buried cables and pipes in the walls and streets, people wanted to forget about them, and now they can blow up in people’s faces, a big cry for attention, infrastructure is important.

I think lots of city people want garden space too, but I don’t really want to water a lawn, water is more important than lawns to me.

I think that the city attitude protects arable land, and uses land efficiently.  I think this is an important factor in Thevillageatheist’s topic.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I think lots of city people want garden space too, but I don’t really want to water a lawn, water is more important than lawns to me


I know this is a bit off topic but what impressed me most about NYC for example is the ability to literally walk from the bustling heart of commerce in the U.S. into a park with lakes, ponds, boathouses huge trees, in short a piece of the country tucked in the middle of the largest city in America. There are also small gardens maintained by the residents. It is possible to meld all of the areas that we enjoy from the country to the city in one area.  Hiwever, we’re facing the challenge of land shortage as the population grows and we must find ways to produce food efficiently on limited land surfaces. potable water will also become a problem that must be resolved and the only logical way to solve it is desalination plants along the coastal areas. They’re costly but we may have to sacrifice (oh no, raise taxes!!) or eventually die of thirst. Of course, we could also prevent pollution of the available fresh water resources inland as well (oh no, cut profits!). In the short run we will be facing the overall problem of survival say in another 30-40 years at present usage. Hydroponics can’t feed us all. Besides, the veggies taste bland!


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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Australia is interested in desalination.  Since the ocean is the biggest water source in the world, it is the ultimate water supply… unless people start capturing comets and Saturn’s belts.  So someday, it will be necessary, I think.  Agriculture needs some water supply, and a predictable water supply (unlike rain) would help.

I people have been guessing about overpopulation for a long time.  I hear that at the beginning of the twentieth century the big news was about too many people in the world and not enough food.  Then World War I isolated Germany who couldn’t trade for fertilizer, endangering their food supply.  Through the great German science and technology by chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, in 1909, by synthesizing fertilizer and other nitrates through captured Nitrogen from the air, the protected Germany’s food supply.  BASF supplied Germany with fertilizer to sustain them for WWI.  The war ended, the chemistry got out of Germany, and the world forgot about the crisis of having four billion people in the world.  Maybe the synthesizer can be credited with feeding three billion people today now that we have seven billion people in the world?

On the one hand the Organic standard wants to ban synthetic fertilizer for environmental reasons, on the other hand how much less arable land would there be without it?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I’m surprised that Australia would be focusing on desalinization.  Since they are close to Antartica, I’d guess they’d follow up on the technology that was proposed to tow large ice bergs to their port cities where the fresh water could be gathered as they melted.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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CC:

Yea, perhaps if we hadn’t been so successful with all those fertilizers our populations wouldn’t be going through the roof and on the way making life impossible for everyone

.

Why pick fertlizers?  Why not pick the invention of the iron plow; the yoke or for orginal cause of the problem; the agricultural revolution?  Without that no one would be living in cities and our main problem would probably be “Where’s dinner?”  Stravation does keep the population down.

But, than that’s an old feeling grump crying over spilled milk.

From an old grump angry  that’s glad that milk didn’t get spilled.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I hear that Antarctica is protected from development now-a-days, might that protection include harvesting ice?  Didn’t humanity harvest natural ice from the North, back before refrigeration?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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You may be right, but the glaciers there regularly calve ice bergs that float away and slowly melt in the ocean so they could at least capture them.

Of course, they were collecting the ice at first for the coldness.  This would be about the same, but for a different purpose.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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garythehuman - 08 September 2012 01:47 PM

CC:

Yea, perhaps if we hadn’t been so successful with all those fertilizers our populations wouldn’t be going through the roof and on the way making life impossible for everyone

.

Why pick fertlizers?  Why not pick the invention of the iron plow; the yoke or for orginal cause of the problem; the agricultural revolution?  Without that no one would be living in cities and our main problem would probably be “Where’s dinner?”  Stravation does keep the population down.

One thing that baffles me is the fact that we know fertilizers are no more effective in the long run as organic farming. By rotating crops organic farming allows the natural decomposition of different organic materials into nutrients and the land can be constantly used, where “fertilized” land may produce large crops for a few seasons but then needs to lay “fallow” for several seasons before it can be used again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallow
http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq6/en/

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Posted: 08 September 2012 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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One thing that baffles me is the fact that we know fertilizers are no more effective in the long run as organic farming. By rotating crops organic farming allows the natural decomposition of different organic materials into nutrients and the land can be constantly used, where “fertilized” land may produce large crops for a few seasons but then needs to lay “fallow” for several seasons before it can be used again.


This is all well and good for farming both in the pre-industrial era and even today in some barely inhabited areas, but with the World population doubling in the near future not only will we have fewer acres to farm (even with a high crop yield there will only be a limited amount of life sustainable food available) where will the trade off be: living space or farms? Will we build 100+ story apts. as the mega cities grow? And what happens to the ice calves when even the ice cows melt? We can’t leave GW out of the equation. I really hate to sound like chicken little here but unless the Malthusian theory kicks in or we find ways to farm the sea our species will be sol.


Cap’t Jack

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