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Klare writes: "Food - affordable food - is essential to human survival and well-being. Take that away, and people become anxious, desperate, and angry."

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in 'The Hunger Games.' (photo: Lionsgate)
Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in 'The Hunger Games.' (photo: Lionsgate)



The Hunger Wars in Our Future

By Michael Klare, TomDispatch

08 August 12

 

he Great Drought of 2012 has yet to come to an end, but we already know that its consequences will be severe. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains.

This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences: if history is any guide, rising food prices of this sort will also lead to widespread social unrest and violent conflict.

Food -- affordable food -- is essential to human survival and well-being. Take that away, and people become anxious, desperate, and angry. In the United States, food represents only about 13% of the average household budget, a relatively small share, so a boost in food prices in 2013 will probably not prove overly taxing for most middle- and upper-income families.  It could, however, produce considerable hardship for poor and unemployed Americans with limited resources. “You are talking about a real bite out of family budgets,” commented Ernie Gross, an agricultural economist at Omaha’s Creighton University. This could add to the discontent already evident in depressed and high-unemployment areas, perhaps prompting an intensified backlash against incumbent politicians and other forms of dissent and unrest.

It is in the international arena, however, that the Great Drought is likely to have its most devastating effects. Because so many nations depend on grain imports from the U.S. to supplement their own harvests, and because intense drought and floods are damaging crops elsewhere as well, food supplies are expected to shrink and prices to rise across the planet. “What happens to the U.S. supply has immense impact around the world,” says Robert Thompson, a food expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. As the crops most affected by the drought, corn and soybeans, disappear from world markets, he noted, the price of all grains, including wheat, is likely to soar, causing immense hardship to those who already have trouble affording enough food to feed their families.

The Hunger Games, 2007-2011

What happens next is, of course, impossible to predict, but if the recent past is any guide, it could turn ugly. In 2007-2008, when rice, corn, and wheat experienced prices hikes of 100% or more, sharply higher prices -- especially for bread -- sparked “food riots” in more than two dozen countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti, Indonesia, Senegal, and Yemen. In Haiti, the rioting became so violent and public confidence in the government’s ability to address the problem dropped so precipitously that the Haitian Senate voted to oust the country’s prime minister, Jacques-Édouard Alexis. In other countries, angry protestors clashed with army and police forces, leaving scores dead.

Those price increases of 2007-2008 were largely attributed to the soaring cost of oil, which made food production more expensive. (Oil’s use is widespread in farming operations, irrigation, food delivery, and pesticide manufacture.)  At the same time, increasing amounts of cropland worldwide were being diverted from food crops to the cultivation of plants used in making biofuels.

The next price spike in 2010-11 was, however, closely associated with climate change. An intense drought gripped much of eastern Russia during the summer of 2010, reducing the wheat harvest in that breadbasket region by one-fifth and prompting Moscow to ban all wheat exports. Drought also hurt China’s grain harvest, while intense flooding destroyed much of Australia’s wheat crop. Together with other extreme-weather-related effects, these disasters sent wheat prices soaring by more than 50% and the price of most food staples by 32%.

Once again, a surge in food prices resulted in widespread social unrest, this time concentrated in North Africa and the Middle East. The earliest protests arose over the cost of staples in Algeria and then Tunisia, where -- no coincidence -- the precipitating event was a young food vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, setting himself on fire to protest government harassment. Anger over rising food and fuel prices combined with long-simmering resentments about government repression and corruption sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. The rising cost of basic staples, especially a loaf of bread, was also a cause of unrest in Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan. Other factors, notably anger at entrenched autocratic regimes, may have proved more powerful in those places, but as the author of Tropic of Chaos, Christian Parenti, wrote, “The initial trouble was traceable, at least in part, to the price of that loaf of bread.”

As for the current drought, analysts are already warning of instability in Africa, where corn is a major staple, and of increased popular unrest in China, where food prices are expected to rise at a time of growing hardship for that country’s vast pool of low-income, migratory workers and poor peasants. Higher food prices in the U.S. and China could also lead to reduced consumer spending on other goods, further contributing to the slowdown in the global economy and producing yet more worldwide misery, with unpredictable social consequences.

The Hunger Games, 2012-??

If this was just one bad harvest, occurring in only one country, the world would undoubtedly absorb the ensuing hardship and expect to bounce back in the years to come. Unfortunately, it’s becoming evident that the Great Drought of 2012 is not a one-off event in a single heartland nation, but rather an inevitable consequence of global warming which is only going to intensify.  As a result, we can expect not just more bad years of extreme heat, but worse years, hotter and more often, and not just in the United States, but globally for the indefinite future.

Until recently, most scientists were reluctant to blame particular storms or droughts on global warming.  Now, however, a growing number of scientists believe that such links can be demonstrated in certain cases. In one recent study focused on extreme weather events in 2011, for instance, climate specialists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Great Britain’s National Weather Service concluded that human-induced climate change has made intense heat waves of the kind experienced in Texas in 2011 more likely than ever before. Published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, it reported that global warming had ensured that the incidence of that Texas heat wave was 20 times more likely than it would have been in 1960; similarly, abnormally warm temperatures like those experienced in Britain last November were said to be 62 times as likely because of global warming.

It is still too early to apply the methodology used by these scientists to calculating the effect of global warming on the heat waves of 2012, which are proving to be far more severe, but we can assume the level of correlation will be high. And what can we expect in the future, as the warming gains momentum?

When we think about climate change (if we think about it at all), we envision rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, freakish storms, hellish wildfires, and rising sea levels. Among other things, this will result in damaged infrastructure and diminished food supplies.  These are, of course, manifestations of warming in the physical world, not the social world we all inhabit and rely on for so many aspects of our daily well-being and survival. The purely physical effects of climate change will, no doubt, prove catastrophic.  But the social effects including, somewhere down the line, food riots, mass starvation, state collapse, mass migrations, and conflicts of every sort, up to and including full-scale war, could prove even more disruptive and deadly.

In her immensely successful young-adult novel The Hunger Games (and the movie that followed), Suzanne Collins riveted millions with a portrait of a dystopian, resource-scarce, post-apocalyptic future where once-rebellious “districts” in an impoverished North America must supply two teenagers each year for a series of televised gladiatorial games that end in death for all but one of the youthful contestants. These “hunger games” are intended as recompense for the damage inflicted on the victorious capital of Panem by the rebellious districts during an insurrection. Without specifically mentioning global warming, Collins makes it clear that climate change was significantly responsible for the hunger that shadows the North American continent in this future era. Hence, as the gladiatorial contestants are about to be selected, the mayor of District 12’s principal city describes “the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land [and] the brutal war for what little sustenance remained.”

In this, Collins was prescient, even if her specific vision of the violence on which such a world might be organized is fantasy. While we may never see her version of those hunger games, do not doubt that some version of them will come into existence -- that, in fact, hunger wars of many sorts will fill our future. These could include any combination or permutation of the deadly riots that led to the 2008 collapse of Haiti’s government, the pitched battles between massed protesters and security forces that engulfed parts of Cairo as the Arab Spring developed, the ethnic struggles over disputed croplands and water sources that have made Darfur a recurring headline of horror in our world, or the inequitable distribution of agricultural land that continues to fuel the insurgency of the Maoist-inspired Naxalites of India.

Combine such conflicts with another likelihood: that persistent drought and hunger will force millions of people to abandon their traditional lands and flee to the squalor of shantytowns and expanding slums surrounding large cities, sparking hostility from those already living there. One such eruption, with grisly results, occurred in Johannesburg’s shantytowns in 2008 when desperately poor and hungry migrants from Malawi and Zimbabwe were set upon, beaten, and in some cases burned to death by poor South Africans. One terrified Zimbabwean, cowering in a police station from the raging mobs, said she fled her country because “there is no work and no food.” And count on something else: millions more in the coming decades, pressed by disasters ranging from drought and flood to rising sea levels, will try to migrate to other countries, provoking even greater hostility. And that hardly begins to exhaust the possibilities that lie in our hunger-games future.

At this point, the focus is understandably on the immediate consequences of the still ongoing Great Drought: dying crops, shrunken harvests, and rising food prices. But keep an eye out for the social and political effects that undoubtedly won’t begin to show up here or globally until later this year or 2013.  Better than any academic study, these will offer us a hint of what we can expect in the coming decades from a hunger-games world of rising temperatures, persistent droughts, recurring food shortages, and billions of famished, desperate people.

Michael Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, a TomDispatch regular, and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left (Metropolitan Books).  A documentary movie based on his book Blood and Oil can be previewed and ordered at www.bloodandoilmovie.com. You can follow Klare on Facebook by clicking here.

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+50 # Barbara K 2012-08-08 11:25
All of us who possibly can need to go back to the land. Grow gardens, preserve the food grown, if you have too much, pass the extra on to people who couldn't grow a garden. We'll need to get creative. We are all in this together and need to help each other. We can loan out plots of our ground to a neighbor who doesn't have any ground to grow his/her most used foods and teach the younger generations how to preserve, can and freeze the crops they reap. We can water a garden with our hoses, but we cannot make it rain. Teach the less fortunate how to garden and grow their food. It is much cheaper and much better anyway. I know this won't be able to help everyone, but for every one it does help, is one less hungry person. It is a beginning.
 
 
+6 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-08-08 16:06
Barbara, you cannot grow a garden if there is little or no rain, and even if you use well or municipal water that won't guarantee food if temperatures are extreme. Plus what will you eat until there is enough in your garden? We may all get to try Soylent Green someday in the not too distant future!
 
 
+3 # brux 2012-08-08 22:44
you should search for an watch a documentary called "return to eden" that will upend all your notions about farming. not farming because you cannot immediately do it perfectly makes learning the enemy of experience. there is a lot we can all do, I am finding that out for the first time this year when I have taken up urban container gardening.
 
 
+3 # Lolanne 2012-08-09 09:55
Quoting brux:
you should search for an watch a documentary called "return to eden" that will upend all your notions about farming. not farming because you cannot immediately do it perfectly makes learning the enemy of experience. there is a lot we can all do, I am finding that out for the first time this year when I have taken up urban container gardening.


And how are your containers doing? I have a small back yard where I could have a garden if I were physically able to handle it. I've always managed at least a small one til this year, but now I can't, so I also decided to try a few containers this year. But mine are barely clinging to life in this hot, dry TX summer, even though I water daily in the early a.m. -- a thorough, soaking watering. Even some of my herbs (parsley, basil) are not doing well. They're clinging to life but not growing at all. And tomatoes? Forget it! Plants appear to be drying up and dying. It's discouraging.
 
 
+3 # michelle 2012-08-09 17:45
"We may all get to try Soylent Green someday in the not too distant future!"

I love rich people. They are mostly lean, white meat and they taste just like chicken.
 
 
0 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-08-12 11:46
Michelle, great response, I'll keep your advice in mind! But seriously, so many Americans take so much for granted. Ask the Vikings who starved out of Greenland several hundred years ago when climate change turned Greenland into ice-land, or when five successive years of drought forced the Mayans to abandon their cities to forage for food. With 307 million Americans we have no margin for successive crop failures! It would help if we stopped eating so much grain fed beef, pork, chicken, and cat fish, and produced more fruits and vegetables for direct human consumption, and if we relied on grass fed beef and free range chicken! Even the oceans are being depleted and unfavorably altered by our mindless actions!
 
 
+4 # RLF 2012-08-09 04:08
Welcome to the future! There are too many people for the productivity of the planet. the high oil use of modern farming and fertilizing are unsustainable and we have governments around the world that refuse to do anything about any problem...so get used to it babs...lots of people are going to starve and it is only going to get worse.
 
 
+35 # fredboy 2012-08-08 11:45
Just do the math: an eco-system that can maybe support eight billion people--maybe. And here we are, approaching seven billion, and breeding like flies. With zip planning to identify how to sustain so many of us. All the while decimating the environment that currently keeps us alive and denying all challenges. Sort of reminds one of locusts, doesn't it?
 
 
+9 # Lolanne 2012-08-09 09:59
Quoting fredboy:
Just do the math: an eco-system that can maybe support eight billion people--maybe. And here we are, approaching seven billion, and breeding like flies. With zip planning to identify how to sustain so many of us. All the while decimating the environment that currently keeps us alive and denying all challenges. Sort of reminds one of locusts, doesn't it?


Yeah, and makes it even more idiotic that our so-called leaders have chosen this particular time to wage a war on contraception! How stupid and short-sighted can they be??? We desperately need to limit the exploding population of the earth, but instead of making it easier to obtain and use contraception, the repugnant ones are constantly doing everything possible to prevent women from having access to it. Go figure...
 
 
+15 # bluemonk 2012-08-08 11:46
An interesting and well written book on this subject appeared last year: The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding. Mr. Gilding is a past head of Greenpeace and has written a work which allows for a bit of optimism - if the world wakes up to the danger, or at least to those few who do. It is worth the time to read.
Bluemonk
 
 
+15 # Elroys 2012-08-08 12:49
Yes - Paul does share some potential optimism under the assumption that we will change. That is a HUGE "if", especially when the time pressure grows more intense every day. Remember - what we are experiencing today in climate change is caused by the CO2 we spewed in the 1970s / 80s. We ain't seen nothin yet. In 25-30 years we'll begin to experience the CO2 we're adding today - which is double what we did 30 years ago.
 
 
+6 # brux 2012-08-08 22:46
Good thing we have a space program because these idiots are going to have to go up there and create a giant parasol umbrella for the whole damn planet we are getting it so hot.

this is the direct fault of the west, and specifically the war making industrialists who make everything about destruction, scarcity and conflict.
 
 
+33 # Elroys 2012-08-08 12:54
We need to remove most of Congress - Repubs are liars and owned by the greedy of the elite/ some major corps; the Dems are simply whimps with little backbone to speak truth, and also owned by major Wall St. and corp interests. We are living in the midst of a disaster and we don';t even know it. We are so ignorant to reality and unwilling to take off the blinders of denial that our children will wonder what the f--- we were thinking. Cowards - most all of us. Just care about out own sorry asses, never mind the future. This is truly sick.
 
 
+9 # indian weaver 2012-08-08 13:59
Each of us will soon be defending our homes and lives against those starving in amerika, and any incoming waves of immigrants and invaders hunting for survival rations. We will see neighbor murdering neighbors for food. In the short term, your best investment is a sawed off stainless steel riot gun to ward off the neighborhoods' invaders. Small towns will be under siege from larger city folks where starvation will occur first. Remote areas are safest, hoping the starving will run out of gas before they get to your front door. And that shotgun will only cost you about $500. Get real, or else. I see lots of vapid immature writing on these blogs but, until you've experienced killing, torture, assassinations, torture, rape, burning, blown up living bodies dying, and dismemberments of your children and spouses from these attacks which will be neverending and ongoing, you won't get serious. Soon, maturation from this amerikan childishness will be not only required, but unavoidable I'm sorry to say. And experiencing horrible tragedy, atrocities committed against your innocent loved ones, and permanent loss is a sure way to grow up fast in spite of our cowardice and ignorance at present. Self Denial is rampant among amerikans. So, disregard this looming terrible reality at your own peril.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2012-08-09 04:10
The kids won't een notice until there is no food in the house...as long as they've got their video games and ipods.
 
 
+18 # Andrew Chase 2012-08-08 13:00
Listen to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and all the other right wing bloviators. They absolutely deny man made global warming and refer to those who do believe as idiots, morons, retards, buffoons, Chicken Littles, etc. These people have millions of fawning, idolizing, and believing listeners and viewers who blindly believe every word they say without question like it's Holy Gospel.

If we are to be saved from ourselves, it can only happen if there is absolute unity of purpose. Sadly, we are nowhere near that. Half the population can't even be bothered to vote in a Presidential election. And of those who do actually bother to vote, no less than half voted no less than twice to install and maintain the greediest, most power hungry pack of thugs, thieves, crooks, connivers, shysters, sycophants, and whores in history in the halls of power. Reversing that kind of firmly entranced, bone deep stupidity would be excruciatingly difficult under the best circumstances. With the likes of Limbaugh and his ilk reinforcing it on a daily basis, it's pretty much impossible. Oh well, the human race had a great run.

This is why we will likely never make contact with extra terrestrial beings. Every intelligent species in the universe that evolved to our point either trashed their planet to the point where it was uninhabitable, or they blew it all to Hell.
 
 
+25 # MJnevetS 2012-08-08 13:02
Mother nature has a way of dealing with unequal balances in nature. Fredboy, above, pointed out that we have overpopulated the planet and are losing the ability to sustain such population. Further, we have hastened nature's solution through unintentional means (man-made climate change) When 1 species so takes over its environment so that it decimates the lands' ability to support it, the natural consequences are mass die-offs caused by disease, predator, starvation, or internal conflict. Man has no natural predator which can cause a massive global death-count. That leaves disease (H5N1, or a variant perhaps, which might be fatal and kill off 25%-50% of the world population, a la the Bubonic Plague), Starvation (aided and abetted by man-made climate change), or war (something we are unfortunately too capable of, and which is the only one of the three which would be likely to end man's reign on earth in the near future, versus distant). I always find it amusing (in a macabre sort of way) when people (whom I otherwise agree with) state "we are destroying the earth!" The simple truth is, no, we are not. We are destroying the earth's ability to support HUMAN life. Our existence is a flyspeck in the course of life on earth. (Yes, Mr. Huckabee, it's been around way longer than 6,000 years!) Life will continue on earth as it has for HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of YEARS. We'll just be sitting out the rest of the dance.
 
 
+30 # dkonstruction 2012-08-08 13:03
Unfortunately, this piece makes it sound like it is all "nature's" doing (or due to global warming) but the reality is much more "political" and complicated. For example, there is no discussion here about how traditional forms of agriculture which people have been practicing for thousands of years is being consciously destroyed by financial capital and giant agribusiness such that they are forcing (or trying to) farmers in less developed nations to use their patented seeds and preventing people from doing what they have always done, collecting their own seeds and trading them internally (often outside of the money economy)...whic h doesn't even get to the issue of genetically modified seeds that Monsanto and other giant agri-business firms are trying to force farmers to use.

Sorry, but i don't want to have to grow my own food....this is not the answer...there are plenty of people that want to farm but we have made it virtually impossible for small independent family farms to survive. We need to be calling for breaking up the "too big to fail" agribusiness firms and get back to supporting genuine small family farms as well as supporting local agriculture and consumption of locally grown foods as much as possible.

Lastly, it is criminal that there is no disussion here of the role of finacial speculators in the futures markets from manipulating food (most often grain) prices and taking advantage of "natural" disasters to maximize their profits.
 
 
+9 # indian weaver 2012-08-08 14:32
The situation is too advanced in deterioration for any political discussion or solution. I've worked with Tibetans for years, and now Navajo Native Americans closely for years, on a daily basis very personally with their entire families. Yes, these are the folks worldwide whose culture was founded upon respect and honor for our Great Mother. Our culture has no respect but is instead founded on greed and arrogance, hence our destruction and rape of our Mother, daily to the maximum extent possible, meaning our own rape and destruction. Up here in the Four Corners, everyone can still farm and ranch unlike most of amerikans. Local growers are numerous, in fact almost everyone in my town, and many are aware of our need for discussions such as this one. The Navajos learned that when we committed our genocide against their race at the Bosque Redondo prison camp in 1864 - 1868, they can and did still survive and so they do. The last survivors will be these native peoples like the Navajos and Tibetans who, in spite of genocide, have learned to survive facing atrocities we committed against them. They are and were forced to face daily tragedy and know it in their bones forever now. The have wisdom, we have none. I'm hanging with the Navajos as the clock chimes midnight, and it is now 11:50 pm. The desperate who are starving will not make it this far, and we can see them coming from a long way off anyhow.
 
 
+2 # brux 2012-08-08 22:49
i can see not wanting to grow your own food, but what about planting fruit trees, tomatoes and stuff like that. Anything more local helps a lot, even if it's just a little and just for the summer growing season. we start to put money into the gardening industry, encourage people to develop products and expertise.

our food system must be changed, like much of our society,and the only way we can do that is forcing them, because this is basically a war against indigenous populations, and that means most Americans too.
 
 
+3 # Human Right 2012-08-08 13:15
Hunger and food availability brings to mind that we in the USA are fortunate to have socialism as our economic base bringing huge subsidies to our agricultural base. Without the subsidies food would be a much larger part of our budgets than the 13% mentioned above. However if the global warming continues to reduce food production it's possible even the subsidies won't be enough to provide food for the citizens in the USA.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2012-08-09 04:15
All politicians know, nothing is more dangerous than hungry people.
 
 
+1 # indian weaver 2012-08-09 15:23
The saying is: after 3 days of no food, every man and woman is a killer. Most folks have no experience with self defense for survival. When looming starvation or incoming death for any reason confronts one, the surprise is always: is this what I am when cornered, a killer? For most of us, the answer is a big surprising YES.
 
 
+7 # 666 2012-08-09 05:30
that's not socialism, it's inverted socialism. The vast majority of these "subsidies" go to large agricultural corporations -- who spend tons of money lobbying congress to get them.
 
 
+13 # reiverpacific 2012-08-08 13:15
Makes me almost grateful to be older and to have known abundance.
But it really goes to show that we, the commodifiers, polluters, wasters, and hoarders are lousy stewards of the planet that exists in a tiny "Goldilocks Zone" that can originate and foster life, and we are screwing it all up for short-term gain for relatively few and no regard for the generations to come in our denial and rationalization.
It is as the native people of this and other countries who lived in in harmony with the earth predicted. If you believe some who study these things, we have already gone past the tipping point of no return
As Louis XV of France recognized and was reputed to have said, "Aprés moi le Deluge" (after me comes the flood) -of retribution!
 
 
+7 # indian weaver 2012-08-08 16:45
See my other reply comments regarding Native American culture with whom I am now and have been in daily contact for many years. I don't study it, I live it. And so we need everyone to understand it and try to become one with the Great Mother thereby. The Native Peoples' cultures do not fear death but honor it and recognize it as part of the Great Wheel. That is why so many spiritual ceremonies are celebrated very often, to remind oneself to be in harmony and balance with the Great Mother. They do not have many of our "amenities" but, then again, the native peoples' way does not destroy the planet and never would, can never harm our Mother in any way. Death is not something to avoid. Instead it is celebrated in many ceremonial ways and lifeways, often. I believe our european culture is based on fear of death, hence our endless distractions from it, meaning greed and arrogance to feed distraction constantly, daily and avoid facing the place and value of death. We might go to church weekly or less, but they are in church all of the time, and they know it. And so do I. Next incarnation, if the planet is still here, I'm going Native.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-08-09 10:55
Quoting indian weaver:
See my other reply comments regarding Native American culture with whom I am now and have been in daily contact for many years. I don't study it, I live it. And so we need everyone to understand it and try to become one with the Great Mother thereby. The Native Peoples' cultures do not fear death but honor it and recognize it as part of the Great Wheel. That is why so many spiritual ceremonies are celebrated very often, to remind oneself to be in harmony and balance with the Great Mother. They do not have many of our "amenities" but, then again, the native peoples' way does not destroy the planet and never would, can never harm our Mother in any way. Death is not something to avoid. Instead it is celebrated in many ceremonial ways and lifeways, often. I believe our european culture is based on fear of death, hence our endless distractions from it, meaning greed and arrogance to feed distraction constantly, daily and avoid facing the place and value of death. We might go to church weekly or less, but they are in church all of the time, and they know it. And so do I. Next incarnation, if the planet is still here, I'm going Native.

I also have always admired and lived with some of the original inhabitants of the Americas including the Central and Southern parts and take their example seriously including the warrior part; I'm Scottish and we have a lot in common.
 
 
+5 # brux 2012-08-08 22:51
Our modern technological system has resulted in more extinctions per given time than the great extinction when all the dinosaurs died after the giant meteor hit the planet ... our species has been a deathly cancer for this planet.
 
 
-27 # MidwestTom 2012-08-08 13:34
We are now at over 70 locations offering free lunches to children under 18 years of age in California no matter their economic situation. This is being done by the Federal Department of Agriculture. We are all paying for these lunches. You see once this program expands even more people will become dependent on the Federal government.
 
 
+40 # dkonstruction 2012-08-08 14:53
Quoting MidwestTom:
We are now at over 70 locations offering free lunches to children under 18 years of age in California no matter their economic situation. This is being done by the Federal Department of Agriculture. We are all paying for these lunches. You see once this program expands even more people will become dependent on the Federal government.


What about the "free lunch" that corporations such as GE get when they pay no taxes on $14 billion in profits? Or, what about the "free lunch" that the "super rich" recieve when they hide (according to a recent study) between $21-31 trillion dollars in offshore tax havens such as the Caymen Islands and Switzerland? And, what about the free lunch that the middle and upper income people in this country get via the mortgage tax deduction or from not having to pay social security taxes on anything over something like $90,000 a year or the 15% tax rate paid by hedge fund owners on their income because they get to file it as capital gains? If you want to trash "free lunch" programs in this country then at least be consistant and realize that those at the upper end of the income scale get alot more "free lunches" in this country than poor people ever did or ever will
 
 
+6 # jky1291 2012-08-08 15:38
Or, we may have students healthy enough to learn and become independent contributing members of society, rather than starving and resorting to crime to survive, eventually draining our resources in the penal system.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2012-08-08 16:49
Quoting MidwestTom:
We are now at over 70 locations offering free lunches to children under 18 years of age in California no matter their economic situation. This is being done by the Federal Department of Agriculture. We are all paying for these lunches. You see once this program expands even more people will become dependent on the Federal government.

Well, I for one don't mind paying for these free lunches and then some -better than lashing out on a new generation of bunker-buster bombs, prisons, military might and oh aye, how many of these meals would one tax-deductible lunch or dinner at a four-star restaurant for a corporate manager buy?
You take me back to the days in the UK when "Hatchet" Thatcher as we then named her, decided that a 1/2 pint of milk for primary school kids every morning was wildly excessive but her husband's oil-baron buddies got many tax loopholes punched in her patchwork of tax-evading new laws and the already-wealthy were spared the excesses of her draconian attempts at a poll tax. Fancy that do you?
 
 
-2 # brux 2012-08-08 22:40
In general I agree with you, but those bunker busting bombs can come in handy at certain times! we can do both, but if we fail to feed our kids and plan for a future, what the hell are all the bunker busters in the world protecting?
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-08-09 10:57
Quoting brux:
In general I agree with you, but those bunker busting bombs can come in handy at certain times! we can do both, but if we fail to feed our kids and plan for a future, what the hell are all the bunker busters in the world protecting?

You mean we don't have enough destructive and surveillance power already, as in more that all other nations combined?!
Bread, not bombs is what we need.
 
 
+3 # universlman 2012-08-10 12:42
Quoting MidwestTom:
We are now at over 70 locations offering free lunches to children under 18 years of age


Firstly, there is no reference to "free lunches" in the article. I also believe the correct term is "school lunches" unless the reference is intended to include the food stamp program. There are people in this country who would throw people into the street who are unable to pay for food or medical treatment.

I would rather live poor in a country that takes care of the less fortunate among us than to live rich in a country that doesn't.
 
 
+17 # VoiceofReason613 2012-08-08 13:47
What a frightening picture of our future world. As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I think it is madness and sheer insanity that in the face of potential major food scarcities, 70% of the grain produced in the US and 40% of the grain produced worldwide is fed to farmed animals. Animal-based diets also require far more water, energy. land, and other resources than vegan diets. If the world is to have even a chance of avoiding a climate catastrophe, severe food, wate, and energy scarcities, and other environmental disasters, a major socital shift toward vegan diets is essential.
 
 
+11 # cordleycoit 2012-08-08 13:47
The American Empire runs on two legs: cheap food and cheap fuel. The cheap fuel is gone and the cheap food will not be there.
the administration of the empire is still in the hands of the politicians who will do nothing until it time to dispatch troops and start bombing those who do not agree to the corrupt terms of
our corrupt empire.

Now settle back and watch the blood flow as the misery becomes world wide and our blood will be mingled with the rest of humanity's.
 
 
+5 # brux 2012-08-08 22:38
You forgot cheap exploitable labor.
 
 
+4 # John Steinsvold 2012-08-08 14:09
An Alternative to capitalism (If the people knew about it, they would demand it)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative".
She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.
--Georg C. Lichtenberg
 
 
+6 # indian weaver 2012-08-08 16:35
Working with Navajos for a long time, up close and personal, I and they know, in fact all Native Americans know, that survival depends on sharing, respect for Mother Earth (remove nothing from her that is not readily sustainable - bison were, clean healthy land, air and water was always sustainable and readily available, but are fast disappearing), and helpfulness. The greatest Native American societies had / have the so-called Potlaches which were the huge ceremonial gatherings where the richest among the tribe would give away all of their belongings to those needing them. The sick, injured, elderly were high among their priorities, in the worst of times and best of times. That was what the greatest leaders and the "rich" among them did routinely. And that earned them immeasurable respect from everyone. These were the great people of the planet. Even today, hoarding material things is not acceptable - sharing enables survival, not hoarding and excess. Extra cattle / sheep are not extras but gifted to those needing them. That is how they survived for 1000s of years. Well along come the Europeans, and we've doomed ourselves, and terribly enough the Native Peoples to extinction due to our culture of greed and arrogance, i.e., Capitalism. The Native American culture enabled survival, like Native Peoples worldwide whose culture is based on respect and honor of Mother Earth. Now us, we poison and destroy, rape our Mother daily. Who expects us to change our ways? Rots of ruck.
 
 
+12 # Lawrence 2012-08-08 14:34
Soon, the only food available to the general populace will GMO food. Shown to induce infertility, and premature death from organ damage, The Elite's Depopulation Agenda aims to reduce world population by 93% in three generations. This will produce Utopia for the few, who will enjoy absolute rule of a feudal state. Those lucky enough to survive will be their serfs and peasants. The Great Culling is ten years in progress.
 
 
+2 # Andrew Chase 2012-08-08 20:46
Quoting Lawrence:
Soon, the only food available to the general populace will GMO food. Shown to induce infertility, and premature death from organ damage, The Elite's Depopulation Agenda aims to reduce world population by 93% in three generations. This will produce Utopia for the few, who will enjoy absolute rule of a feudal state. Those lucky enough to survive will be their serfs and peasants. The Great Culling is ten years in progress.


Apparently plans are underway to make growing one's own vegetables illegal, and anyone doing so declared a "terrorist", so that agribusinesses like Monsanto become the only game in town.
 
 
+4 # Andrew Chase 2012-08-08 21:02
Funny thing is, I always liked the "Mad Max" movies. I never thought they might become a documentary in my lifetime.
 
 
+4 # Bodiotoo 2012-08-08 15:22
Been eating out of my small urban garden for quite awhile, iif it is any fresher it is still on the vine,...but current law seems to indicate if you stock pile more than a weeks worth of food you can be considered a terrorist...wha t is that all about? No more bomb shelter preparations... just dog eat dog when the s#=@% hits the fan!
 
 
+4 # brux 2012-08-08 22:37
> current law seems to indicate if you stock pile more than a weeks worth of food you can be considered a terrorist.

Where do you get this? Yours is the only mention of terrorism on the board?
 
 
-1 # MendoChuck 2012-08-08 19:19
Makes you wonder what kind of fool would throw s#it at a fan?
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2012-08-08 20:23
I consider myself lucky to have a farm up the road that sells me GRASS-fed beef and lamb at a price well below the supermarkets -and I don't have to go but two miles. Also have two vegetable farms who are both off the grid and make their livings from going to farmer's markets and supplying a few good-quality restaurants that choose to care where their food comes from. OK Lucky me but I truly and hopefully suggest that y'all try to find at least some local farmers or sources of food and stock up before the corporate suppliers get their pound of extra flesh by bumping y'r meat and veg' prices through the roof this fall and winter. The small farmers are coming back and deserve support.
And vegans/vegetari ans are not exempt from this either.
 
 
+5 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-08-09 00:43
Vegetarians are certainly not "exempt," but they are doing more than most to combat the problem. Anyone who read this article and is concerned about global warming should cut out most meat from their diet. Meat consumption contributes hugely to all these problems.
 
 
+4 # suziemama 2012-08-09 00:54
Misery in so many forms is indeed before us, as we all pay for the consequences of humanity's destruction of the natural world.

The more each of us can do to grow organic food, and support local farmers, the better, even as we work on systemic economic and political change. I hope that if enough of us work and live for true sustainability and planetary healing, a change in consciousness (an behavior) will occur before the worst is inevitable.
 
 
0 # chinaski 2012-08-09 05:52
Not to worry. The rich taste like chicken. Of course since we're dealing exclusively with white meat here, proper cooking is important. The ultra rich are tenderer still, much like veal, with that high fat-to-muscle ratio you want in a sedentary milk-fed product. Choosing the right cut is pretty easy, just remember the more extensive the portfolio, the tenderer the meat.
Just the other day I had a nice investment banker with some fava beans and a nice chiaaanti..ffff ffffffft.
 
 
-1 # dkonstruction 2012-08-10 07:15
Quoting chinaski:
Not to worry. The rich taste like chicken. Of course since we're dealing exclusively with white meat here, proper cooking is important. The ultra rich are tenderer still, much like veal, with that high fat-to-muscle ratio you want in a sedentary milk-fed product. Choosing the right cut is pretty easy, just remember the more extensive the portfolio, the tenderer the meat.
Just the other day I had a nice investment banker with some fava beans and a nice chiaaanti..ffffffffffft.


If the rich truly taste like chicken as you say (being a vegetarian i'll just have to take your word on this one) as long as they are heterosexuals you might want to pass this on the Chic Fil A.
 
 
+1 # brenda 2012-08-11 23:25
Lesson 1: The oceans. What we know already is that there is such a thing called red tide. It's figured that it comes from the polluted rivers and water runoff. It spreads around the shores for up to 5 miles. I've seen it. There was no fishing there because the red tide killed all the fish that normally habitat the shores. Then there is this thing called red spores that fell from an exploding asteriod. Now lets switch to all the coral reefs. Many of them are dead, thus not producing any sustenance to the fish that would feed there. Those fish feed bigger fish and so on. Then there's a plague of blue starfish with spines emitting from each leg. They also kill any coral in their path and they are very hard to contain. They can be killed by injecting them with a poison in each leg. Then there is the Large jellyfish plague where if you cut them in half you now have two jellyfish to worry about. Fishing nets just cut them into more jellyfish. If one third of the oceans are killed, you also loose the fish that would have made their habitats there. That means a one third decrease of the world's food supply from the oceans. Let's just remember that we stand to lose lots of fish.
 

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