Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food And the Coming Crisis in Agriculture (Anglais) Broché – 1 octobre 2006
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Do we have time to correct this, as a move to a sustainable food production system would allow? Pfeiffer writes to this question to some length, the jury is still out on it. He does write that most oil experts expect about a two percent decline per year of oil after peak oil hits, that would allow a transition, however rough, to a more energy efficient food production infrastructure. Pfeiffer gives the example of North Korea, where many have starved after their oil supply was mostly cut off after the Soviet Union collapsed, very poor planning there, then gives the example of Cuba, which also lost most of it's supply of Soviet oil, and how they successfully overcame that and converted to a sustainable agriculture system. North Korea and Cuba remain exceptions, Pfeiffer writes, as they abruptly lost most of their oil stream. The rest of the world will face a more gradual decline (my guess, sometime between now and 2025 peak oil will hit). Anyway, Pfeiffer writes that production and consumption need to be closer to each other, with local communities and individuals participating in food production. This is obviously a large and difficult problem to solve. There is also discussion in the book about corporations with their special interests which could be a problem to overcome. In the last chapter Pfeiffer describes twelve 'fun' activities if you want to become an activist. Farmers' markets, for example, are a good way to sell local produce to local people, eliminating the middleman, and overall more energy efficient than buying food shipped thousands of miles, Pfeiffer writes. But in reality the marketplace will determine the real winners and losers here, with convenience and quality also considerations, none of this is stressed in the book. Overall, though, Pfeiffer gives readers a great introduction to a subject that will probably get much more attention in the future.
For anyone who reads much about "peak oil" or modern agricultural policy, this will come as no surprise. Pfeiffer's book shines, though, in his discussions of the examples of South Korea and Cuba. It is fascinating to consider the different paths taken by each of these countries during their politically-imposed sudden drop in oil availability.
Pfeiffer goes finishes with a discussion of sustainable agriculture and some ideas for what a concerned activist might do.
On the whole, I learned much from the short, well-written book about an important topic.
Most people think that technology will remedy the situation, but if you read more about energy you will realize the future's precarious situation. Governments in the world need to put an eye on it and start doing energy projects, particularly Nuclear. India must control its population growth also. I have my opinion on Cuba but considering all this is a very informative book.
Spade up those (organic) Victory Gardens, folks, and learn how to provide and preserve at least some of your own food. Support your local food producers. This year. You'll be glad you did.