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The following excerpt is from a recent U.N. assessment on the state of the world and food production. It’s not a pretty picture, but despite alarm bells ringing, our trajectory of ecological collapse is still firmly on track…

Click to go to full letter:

The human rights of people and well-being of the planet first? Don’t make me laugh. There’s that oxymoron again – sustainable development. Given the track record of the U.N. on solving problems, rest assured there won’t be any radical ideas coming out of that institution that might threaten capitalism’s death grip on the planet. If there’s no money to be made, resource to be exploited, or economic growth to be had, then it won’t get done. Period.

…From the UK Guardian article discussing the above U.N. assessment:

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013  - The Guardian

…Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

“We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UNFood and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With foodconsumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently…

…In a shocking new assessment of the prospects of meeting food needs, Lester Brown, president of the Earth policy research centre in Washington, says that the climate is no longer reliable and the demands for food are growing so fast that a breakdown is inevitable, unless urgent action is taken.

“Food shortages undermined earlier civilisations. We are on the same path. Each country is now fending for itself. The world is living one year to the next,” he writes in a new book.

According to Brown, we are seeing the start of a food supply breakdown with a dash by speculators to “grab” millions of square miles of cheap farmland, the doubling of international food prices in a decade, and the dramatic rundown of countries’ food reserves.

This year, for the sixth time in 11 years, the world will consume more food than it produces, largely because of extreme weather in the US and other major food-exporting countries. Oxfam last week said that the price of key staples, including wheat and rice, may double in the next 20 years, threatening disastrous consequences for poor people who spend a large proportion of their income on food

“The geopolitics of food is fast overshadowing the geopolitics of oil.”

“The situation we are in is not temporary. These things will happen all the time. Climate is in a state of flux and there is no normal any more.

“We are beginning a new chapter. We will see food unrest in many more places.

“Armed aggression is no longer the principal threat to our future. The overriding threats to this century are climate change, population growth, spreading water shortages and rising food prices,” Brown says.

Further reading…

Food prices from 1990 to the present…

And an open letter(10-12-2012) by Professor Christopher Rhodes on our looming problem of Peak Phosphorus…

Our politicians should be running on a platform of issues concerning basic survival at this point.