Archive for December, 2009

Is there any fish left in the house?

December 2nd, 2009

We read in the papers about the degradation of the environment, whether you believe that global change is man made or not is immaterial: the  instances of our environmental problems are accelerating.  The blue fin tuna, fished from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea is en route to extinction.  Even reducing the fishing quota to under half, or 8,000 tonnes, would only give the blue fin a 50% chance of recovery by 2023.  (The World Wide Fund for Nature)  The world hunger for protein is growing.

On the other side of the world the health of the salmon fisheries of British Columbia is changing.  The Fraser River, famous for its Sockeye Salmon, saw only 1.7m of the 10.4m that were forecast to return actually made it. (The Economist Nov.21-29, 2009).

Combine the dearth of fish in our oceans, the hewing down of the rainforest to insustainably  raise one crop of cattle before moving on to the next lot, and some pretty tough questions about our future emerge.  How will we sustain a growing populace?  Especially now that China is seeing a rise in median wealth per household and the concurrent desire for meat that follows.  It takes an estimated 24 acres of land to sustain an American, and the rest of the world is aggressively  trying to catch up. (Our Ecological Footprint, Wackernagel and Ress, New Society Publishers 1995)

Food prices will have to rise to keep up with the rising demand and the limited supply of agricultural land.  For the past 25 years governments have not beein investing in sustainable agriculture.  “During the Green Revolution of the 1960s, staple crop yields were rising by 3-6% a year.  Now they are rising by only1-2% a year. in poor countries, yields are flat.” (The Economist, Nov 21-29, 2009)

Doom and gloom aside, the wailing above is really a call to eat local, to buy local, and to really know from where and from whom your food comes and to honor those people and that structure which delivers it to you.

Shop at a farmers’ market if you can; eat out at restaurants who pay attention to the world food crisis; do what you can to ensure the existence of natural foods so that our children too may celebrate the bounty of the earth.