Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Pasture is Dead - Long Live the King!

Here's a nice brief article over at Mother Jones regarding the steady demise of pasture in favore of monoculture corn fields: King Corn Mowed Down 2 Million Acres of Grassland in 5 Years Flat.

The passage I find most interesting is as follows:

[T]he stakes are high. Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture released a 186-page report (PDF) called "Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States." The authors mainly concerned themselves with the question of whether our current system of corn-and-soy-dominated agriculture can be sustained in the context of rising temperatures. The answer is less than comforting. In the short term, the authors conclude, the US agricultural system is "expected to be fairly resilient to climate change." But by mid-century, when "temperature increases are expected to exceed 1°C to 3°C and precipitation extremes intensify," the authors expect to see significant yield declines for major US crops.

Do tell. As I've written before, the climate change folks are often proven woefully wrong in their predictions, so it's not a sure thing that we'll have the uptick in global temperatures for which they are calling. And for the record, I'm pretty much convinced of anthropogenic climate change; I am not one of those "deniers" towards which the progressive media so often spits vitriol. Industrial agriculture is definitely a heavy contributor to the worsening of the environment; the only question is how much, and how soon.

In any case, climate change could be proven entirely false tomorrow, and we would still be worse off than before. Two million acres of field corn means two million acres of junk crops fed to sickly cattle and poultry and pigs, which in turn will feed millions of people being made sick and obese by the food which they are eating. Nothing will become good under this paradigm. So if the theoretical rising sea levels do not kill everybody, we'll still have heart attacks and diabetes to look forward to.

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