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World wide Humanitarian crisis

For discussions of events and conditions not necessarily related to Peak Oil.

Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 May 2016, 20:04:39

Damn, I can't figure out why I'm loosing so many posts!

The mind exercise is .....can a state support the current population based solely upon resources in its own borders?

This question does not consider the time required for the transition.

At this point I can't prove or disprove what ultimate population any one srptate could support on its own, given the time to plan out and make a orderly transition.

But, since it seems humanity is hell bent on denial I think it fair to assume the transition occurs very, very quickely. Let's say, arbitrarily, within one year. That's more than Cuba had, no? Since we were using Cuba as a comparison. What then?

All available at land would have to be worked. Where do you get draft animals? Where do you get the implements? Where do you get the seeds?

Who would do the work? Under 5% of our population now works in AG. Most of the rest are in a "service" economy, living in a densely populated city. They would have to moved to the land, housed, and taught to farm. And in one crop season they would have to be sufficiently successful to keep themselves alive.

But then look at places like NY and th NE in general. Once upon a time the hills were mostly stripped bare for whatever pasture could be used. Much of this has been filled in with forest, or paved like the river valleys. Th NE have little energy reserves. They don't have the manufacturing needed in-house to extract the shales. That all comes from out of state, and requires massive investment that would be gone.

How are you going to feed NYC and Boston and the massive suburbs in between? How are you going to heat the homes in winter? NYC would need to be largely abandoned, move the folks out to work the fields.

Are there even enough fields in NY State to support that population? It gets cold in NY. Short growing seasons.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 May 2016, 20:13:40

Cog wrote:I'm wondering if it is even possible to go backwards with regards to farming practices. Modern farming resembles a mining process more than sustainable agriculture. Without the addition of artificial fertilizers, would the soil even be organic rich enough to support going back to more ancient practices?

I would surmise that soils on the mega-farms might be so depleted of organics that it might take considerable amendments before you could generate food from what was once very rich soils.


It's not just the soils but our knowledge base and manufacturing base that are eroded. Not to mention the human base, how many office worker middle aged men would survive a month doing manual farm work?
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 May 2016, 20:18:34

Actually this thought experiment was tried out in India ( and elsewhere) during WWII. India was run the. As a gaggle of "states" or principalities. There was not a strong central identity. When things got tough many states passed legislation banning the export of foods. So you had the situation where states had significant reserves bordering states where people were starving.

The Brits worked hard to break this log jam but not until several millions had starved.

So much for humanity. Lifeboat ethics writ large.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 12 May 2016, 00:55:09

Well, here is the latest number of all these unfortunate people forced to move in very precarious conditions. Makes me appreciate what I have. Shelter, sufficient food, some entertainment, some medical care. My heart goes out to all these people. https://www.yahoo.com/gma/record-number ... ories.html
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby careinke » Thu 12 May 2016, 02:30:10

Cog wrote:I'm wondering if it is even possible to go backwards with regards to farming practices. Modern farming resembles a mining process more than sustainable agriculture. Without the addition of artificial fertilizers, would the soil even be organic rich enough to support going back to more ancient practices?

I would surmise that soils on the mega-farms might be so depleted of organics that it might take considerable amendments before you could generate food from what was once very rich soils.


It takes about three years to convert over to a regenerative (beyond sustainable), state. You can make it work out economically with some good design. It usually works better on smaller acreages. Surprisingly, there is soon going to be a large shortage of farmers, due to current demographics. Certainly lots of opportunities for younger people to earn a decent living, without having to go 250K in debt for some useless college degree. You just have to work for it.

Lots of possibilities forming partnerships with older farmers. I personally know a few who would be open to such partnerships, some have no relatives, and may even leave the land when they die.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 12 May 2016, 06:01:57

Newfie wrote:Damn, I can't figure out why I'm loosing so many posts!

The mind exercise is .....can a state support the current population based solely upon resources in its own borders?.........

T..............
Are there even enough fields in NY State to support that population? It gets cold in NY. Short growing seasons.

Look here for some insight to what can be produced in NY.
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/A ... NEW%20YORK
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Cog » Thu 12 May 2016, 06:32:39

The way my father did his garden on the farm was to move the garden plot every couple of years. This also helped with insect pests that would get established in a garden plot. We had some cattle and where they congregated to eat hay during the winter and drink water they would obviously deposit manure. By moving fences around, what was once a feed lot is now a new garden spot. It worked very well and we didn't have to add amendments to change the soil. Worms and the cows did that for us.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 12 May 2016, 07:13:37

Carinke,
That assumes you have a farm, some equipment, and some knowledge. What about all the folks in the city apartments?
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 12 May 2016, 07:20:38

Cog wrote:The way my father did his garden on the farm was to move the garden plot every couple of years. This also helped with insect pests that would get established in a garden plot. We had some cattle and where they congregated to eat hay during the winter and drink water they would obviously deposit manure. By moving fences around, what was once a feed lot is now a new garden spot. It worked very well and we didn't have to add amendments to change the soil. Worms and the cows did that for us.


Anyone who has gardened extensively has witnessed this. In a new plot the first year you can have excellent yields with no pests. And then the 2nd and 3rd year the nematodes, slugs and cutworms have discovered your garden. Rotate.

The only problem with gardening in former feedlots is that cattle compact horribly the soil. Here at Totumas we grow coffee and it is not possible to plant coffee on former cattle pastures even after 5 years of leaving them regenerate. Ater 15-20 years you can. We tried planting coffee in two areas, one that had cattle 5 years previous and one area that the former owners had left reforest probably about 15-20 years ago. At this location the coffee seedlings are now almost mature and next year we will get our first good harvest.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 12 May 2016, 07:26:44

As one who has lived in NY city, I can attest that New Yorkers know much about diverse cuisines but little about producing food. haha.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 12 May 2016, 07:58:21

I'm a privileged white dude who moved to Panama and bought 400 acres. I have indigenous staff who work as farm laborers earning $ 12 a day. I hired local latino Panamanians who helped with the construction of our lodge and cabins. We harvested trees from the forests with chain saws and milled the timber locally on site. When I say we I should mention that my 58 year old bones where mostly looking on with awe at the physical labor that was performed.

What I have witnessed in the past 8 years in terms of the physical labor involved and the calories burned on daily basis to build and maintain this site has been nothing short of breath taking. I marvel and honor deeply the physical labor performed. Most Amerians or Europeans no longer have a clue about how much physical labor an average human is able to perform. But of course our grand fathers and great grand fathers did.

I appreciate Careinke's comments that one day old farmers may open up their land for younger folks to help out in farming tasks. I feel like that old farmer many days.

I imagine the diaspora, the grand exodus of human refugees one day abandoning failed bio-regions and pouring into still intact bio-regions..... Local land owners will only consider the most able and fit to help them till their soil. The rest will have to stay in the refugee camps eating thin lentil gruel.

This will be transformative.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 12 May 2016, 08:54:23

I have travelled extensively most of my life in Australia & the need for people with energy to contribute is surprisingly acute. I have a couple of friends in Europe tell me the same is true in rural areas there- old folks suffering from multi generational exodus. You can use machinery to upscale farming but you can't socialise with a tractor. People are funny enough, still danged useful things when they want to be. When you have a lot of land, but not much money, people is what you need & these days there's often none around.

Reminds me of the phenomenon in the Philippines, where the exodus to the cities & international jobs market has largely left behind relatively functional rural agricultural communities. But they have 100 million people & no safety net social security. You could magically vaporise 5% of the landscape, 80% of the people would go with it & the other 20 million would be doing OK, provided basics like a bit of pump fuel & fertiliser was around life would continue not too differently. The same 5% here in Oz, 90% of 25 million are gone & the country dies, with only scatterings of people anywhere approaching sustainable basic local agricultural economy.

As Ibon & I are most on the same page for years about, outcomes are going to continue to be enormously variable around the world, which when cheap kerosene is over is about to get a whole lot bigger once again. Right now I have an invitation to go & join Ibon in Panama. I could technically right now book 3 flights, spend 2 weeks pay, be there by the weekend. In the future this same journey will require enormous trepidation, crossing oceans, climbing through lawless mountain trails for days, if not already dead from WBT while sailing over the equator ;)

Maybe I fly up by solar PPG one day Ibon ;)
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:17:14

Speaking of regions, I do not see how the Philippines can feed but a small percentage of their huge population further down the road. No matter what land is available or what percentage still retain agricultural production knowledge. Just the physics of extracting enough food for a huge population seems difficult now and especially into the future.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Lore » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:26:30

onlooker wrote:Speaking of regions, I do not see how the Philippines can feed but a small percentage of their huge population further down the road. No matter what land is available or what percentage still retain agricultural production knowledge. Just the physics of extracting enough food for a huge population seems difficult now and especially into the future.


The same problem exists in much of the Middle East. There are 400 million people living there subject to food deficit. In fact, a good portion of the world's countries are in a deficit position as far as being able to produce enough food for its own people.

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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:30:03

The population 100 years ago was about 5 million. It is one of the most fertile places on earth, volcanic mountains facing the Pacific trade winds at their strongest point thus huge rainfall. It sure cant sustain anything like it has now, but it is a place people will hang on a long time after oil is gone.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Cog » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:40:38

Lot of untapped potential for food growing out there. Around here the suburbia schools have acres of ground that is covered in grass, which is mowed, fertilized, and weeded. You have a large population of potential gardeners, strong in limb and young sitting in classrooms.

Much could be done and you wouldn't even need to be authoritarian about it. Just make it part of the curriculum to graduate. Many schools have community service requirements to graduate. Just substitute a gardening program. Tear up that useless grass and plant something useful that could feed kids real food, learn about where real food comes from, and exercise those bodies.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Lore » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:45:39

Currently, the Filipino population is under nourished by approximately 100 calories a day.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SN.ITK.DFCT
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 12 May 2016, 09:56:33

So we can all agree that lawns are truly a waste and would be much better to be converted to some sort of plot to grow food!
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby Timo » Thu 12 May 2016, 10:39:27

onlooker wrote:So we can all agree that lawns are truly a waste and would be much better to be converted to some sort of plot to grow food!

Not necessarily. We discovered a woodpecker who had dug a hole into one of our trees to build a nest yesterday. Obviously, the tree is dying, and we were planning on cutting it down this fall. I hope the pecker has successfully nested and moved on by then. Long story short, food gardens don't make very good habitat for wildlife, unless you're growing food for them and not yourself. Everything needs a balance to survive. Humans have tipped that balance against ourselves. Now, we're falling PDQ, and we're facing an uphill battle to restore that balance so we can continue living.
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Re: World wide Humanitarian crisis

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 12 May 2016, 10:51:19

Timo wrote:
onlooker wrote:So we can all agree that lawns are truly a waste and would be much better to be converted to some sort of plot to grow food!

Not necessarily. We discovered a woodpecker who had dug a hole into one of our trees to build a nest yesterday. Obviously, the tree is dying, and we were planning on cutting it down this fall. I hope the pecker has successfully nested and moved on by then. Long story short, food gardens don't make very good habitat for wildlife, unless you're growing food for them and not yourself. Everything needs a balance to survive. Humans have tipped that balance against ourselves. Now, we're falling PDQ, and we're facing an uphill battle to restore that balance so we can continue living.

what about microorganisms and even creatures like worms. Will not the natural fertility of that plot of soil induce and develop a feedback ecosystem geared to allow food and concomitant organisms to thrive?
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