We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Energy Use in the US & Global Agri-Food Systems: Implications for Sustainable Agriculture

from Culture Change. This is a must-read article. The author provides a breathtaking perspective on peak oil, and it's implications for food production and, I think, the survivability of the human race--all based on solid references.
Although the knowledge needed to transition to localized, sustainable agriculture exists, the current structure of power relations and resource control in the United States prevents the widespread move away from fossil fuel based agriculture. Those in positions of power within the United States government and in agribusiness have no interest in altering a system from which they greatly benefit. Without a change in the status quo, however, small local and sustainable producers will have a difficult time competing against the fossil fuel subsidized overproduction of agribusiness which finds its way into our grocery stores. The adoption of sustainable agriculture can only be truly transformational if we broaden its scope to focus on the relationship between social, economic and ecological factors within the agri-food system.