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End of Human Race?


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Guest TrueMetis

How exactly are food shortages going to come about, to trigger all of these filmic post-apocalyptic fantasies ?

Some type of wheat attacking virus? Climate change? Farmer's strike? When people think about how to survive a disaster people rarely think about how it happened.

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How exactly are food shortages going to come about, to trigger all of these filmic post-apocalyptic fantasies ?

You are not honestly that detached from reality to ask such a question....

80% of our food in Canada is imported from somewhere else. Much of what is produced here is not produced locally and is truck 100's of miles just to make it to the store.

Almost 100% of food consumed in the city comes from outside the city and has to be trucked in on a daily basis. If there is just an interruption in the transportation for 3 days, the entire city would be beginning to starve and hoard food.

In the rural areas they could fair a bit better, but since the majority of food consumed there still comes from foreign sources the result would be the same. The reality is neither the rural areas or the country as a whole produces enough food to sustain even a fraction of our population, and there isn't enough in natural food sources to sustain large populations.

Shut down the internet tomorrow and see how many people would be dead in a month.

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In the rural areas they could fair a bit better, but since the majority of food consumed there still comes from foreign sources the result would be the same. The reality is neither the rural areas or the country as a whole produces enough food to sustain even a fraction of our population, and there isn't enough in natural food sources to sustain large populations.

Shut down the internet tomorrow and see how many people would be dead in a month.

I don't know that we need the internet to live, but we do need food - you're right. As DogOnPorch pointed out, the scenarios that cause such a thing are huge - comet impacts and what have you. Such events would be disastrous no matter what.

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Then ... yes ... but somehow I don't think that they were talking about that.

No. What I am talking about is glitches in our system, with no back-up of critical information or replacements. Try to run a computer network without the kinds of fail-safes we have in our food supply and you could easily bankrupt a billion dollar corporation ins a matter of weeks.

We not only have given our food industry over to foreign production but we have surrendered to factory produced foods as well as genetic modification of our most simple staples. All it would take is a glitch and the entire system would begin to fall apart.

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We not only have given our food industry over to foreign production but we have surrendered to factory produced foods as well as genetic modification of our most simple staples. All it would take is a glitch and the entire system would begin to fall apart.

What is a 'glitch' ? A world wide virus isn't a glitch.

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A strike by fuel transportation companies.

A fertilizer shortage due to US embargoes.

A break-down of the banking and financial system - ie a full blown depression.

There are lots of little glitches that could end up having devastating food supply problems.

A strike would be ended by legislation. A depression would mean that people would only buy food and would eliminate non-essential spending. A fertilizer shortage due to US embargoes would happen after a protracted breakdown between Canada and the US, which is difficult to envision.

Of course, you can't anticipate what unknown unknowns could happen but then again it doesn't make sense to build a wall around a country based on such things.

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A strike would be ended by legislation. A depression would mean that people would only buy food and would eliminate non-essential spending. A fertilizer shortage due to US embargoes would happen after a protracted breakdown between Canada and the US, which is difficult to envision.

Of course, you can't anticipate what unknown unknowns could happen but then again it doesn't make sense to build a wall around a country based on such things.

No one is building a wall....

But emergency planning must always consider such scenarios and plan according. Governments don't see the need I'm sure to plan for food issues but they have no problem planning for a nuclear meltdown (and the evacuation of 500,000 residents) of a CANDU reactor with 12 automatic safety shutdown systems, 4 monitoring computers and and 1 in 25,000,000 possibility of ever happening. Do you get where I'm going with this?

Food and water are not commodities that we can play with or trade away. They are human necessities that should be entrenched as rights in any law.....meaning access to food and clean water should be guaranteed, complete with back-up systems in the event of a failure.

Let's go back to the nuclear stuff, again. Do you realize that about 10 years ago Ontario Power Generation spilled about 5000 gallons of tritiated heavy water into Lake Ontario and never told anyone about it for about 10 hours. The plume of radioactive water by this time had already started to have been taken up by the water treatment plants in Ajax and Whitby and was heading towards water. The problem: there was no action plan - no emergency plan - because no one ever though it would have been a possibility, nor had they considered that the water treatment plants were down current from Pickering GS.

That one glitch at Pickering could have affected about 300,000 people in a 10 hour period and the only saving grace is the they managed to get the spill under control and limit the amounts diluted to high but acceptable limits.

Edited by charter.rights
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Funny thing is there is enough to eat in the backyards of most suburban homes if you have the knowledge. As well things that most people wouldn't touch (like stinging nettle) can be eaten. You just have to know where to find it and how to identify it.

Guns are useless as prolonged hunting weapons because they need replenishment of ammunition. With most city folks poor shots how long to you think it would take for them to run out? So, yes survival skills are a good thing but unless you are willing to go into hunter-gatherer mode and spend the rest of your life on the move, understanding that agriculture can be viable in the middle of the forest is a much better arrangement. Plus there is no competition for the same food sources, which will quickly run out with urban pressures on it.

actually the hunter gather lifestyle is the most reliable, agriculture is prone to failure with the weather /crop failure it's a feast or famine existence...when the Vikings of Greenland starved when the climate cooled marginally they died out while the hunter gather Inuit continued on...the millions of dead from the Irish potato famine is another example...agriculture works for us because we are good at logistics, bringing in and distributing food from other sources when primary sources fail...
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How exactly are food shortages going to come about, to trigger all of these filmic post-apocalyptic fantasies ?

major pandemic-breaking down of society and it's infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, security...

small meteor-for the same reasons as above, Katrina caused a brief local societal breakdown...

a cause not covered in the top 10 or 5 lists...solar pulse, our own sun couldd produce a burst of energy that will knock out electrical systems for a year, destroying satellites, computers, generators, power systems,. anything running at the time...how quickly would our society breakdown in N America if we lost power for a year? distribution, travel, food production, energy transfer, comes to a halt, 300+ million people unprepared with no more than a two week supply of food in their homes most with less...last solar pulse of that size came in the 19th century before we were an electrified society so it went unnoticed, we were an agricultural society with local low tech food delivery systems...

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How exactly are food shortages going to come about, to trigger all of these filmic post-apocalyptic fantasies ?

Several ways I am thinking.

More food is needed to feed a growing planet wide population. That already puts a strain on the current supply. Food might get expensive to the point where no one is going to pay for it, and you get a whole new problem. I am seriously amazed we are able to feed 35 million Canadians, let alone the ability to feed 7-8 billion people on this planet.

Urban dwellers, are going to feel the pinch large. Rural folks will have an easier time as tough as it will get. The resourceful ones will survive and have already taken those steps. If you do not know how to fend for yourself, you are going to die.. quick.

One problem is that once you raid the stores for food, don't expect anymore. It's all gone. And what ever is or may be coming won't be enough to feed the left over survivors. The supply chain is pretty weak as it is. The way food is moved around is to flow it as efficiently as possible and so that it is always on the move, and you never have to hold any kind of stock anywhere in your supply chain. It does deliver the freshest food possible, at the expense of a shortage if you have any hiccups. The supply chain keeps it consistantly refreshed. One small glitch in this'always on time' system and things start to fall apart. I've been in the grocery business long enough to see these changes and the current challenges.

The reason why food prices are going up is also due to the rising cost in fuel, and equipment. It's not cheap to move the food around, and it's only this high and not 3x as high (yet) because we move it on a mass scale. Massive scale would be more appropriate. Think of how food is produced and moved and brought to your table. It is astounding and mind blowing.

We've already seen a minor impact to the scares of certain products coming from China. Melamine, and other chemicles in baby food were found a few years ago. So you have a weak supply chain along with tainted food, which again reduces the supply.

The last couple years has been tough for wheat farmers all over the world. Russia and China were having problems and the yield is less than expected. In a world that is always demanding more, any impact here will be felt globaly, because prices of wheat based products (think about it) will go up.

Food is one of the things we need most to not only live and live well, but we need it to survive.

Another problem I see is with GM foods. North America is almost completely reliant on companies like Monsantos to supply them with seed. The reason being is that the Monsanto seed is resistant to another pest control product Monsantos produces. Essentially farmers have to buy seed every year now. They can no longer harvest the crop, store some seed for next years growing season. They harvest and process it all. And then they got to buy seed for next year. If any farmer goes with any other seed, essentially the pests and chemicles we use to combat pests are going to hurt the crop. So if you have any issues here and the crop goes bad one year, the next year is going to be pretty tight, prices will rise because of the shortage. This is not even taking into account for bad weather that destroys crops or reduces the yeild.

I also do not think we have fully understood the effects of genetically modified food on our biology and chemistry of the human body. Canada no longer puts growth hormones in dairy cattle for more yeild, because of the health issues it has known to cause for humans.

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....Another problem I see is with GM foods. North America is almost completely reliant on companies like Monsantos to supply them with seed. The reason being is that the Monsanto seed is resistant to another pest control product Monsantos produces. Essentially farmers have to buy seed every year now.

Nope...not the case at all:

The World's Top 10 Seed Companies

Company - 2007 seed sales (US$ millions) - % of global proprietary seed market

1.Monsanto (US) - $4,964m - 23%

2.DuPont (US) - $3,300m - 15%

3.Syngenta (Switzerland) - $2,018m - 9%

4.Groupe Limagrain (France) - $1,226m - 6%

5.Land O' Lakes (US) - $917m - 4%

6.KWS AG (Germany) - $702m - 3%

7.Bayer Crop Science (Germany) - $524m - 2%

8.Sakata (Japan) - $396m - <2%

9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) - $391m - <2%

10.Takii (Japan) - $347m - <2%

Top 10 Total - $14,785m - 67% [of global proprietary seed market]

Source: ETC Group

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Several ways I am thinking.

Urban dwellers, are going to feel the pinch large. Rural folks will have an easier time as tough as it will get. The resourceful ones will survive and have already taken those steps. If you do not know how to fend for yourself, you are going to die.. quick.

depending on your body fat starvation can come very quickly, 30 days on average I heard as a guide...
One problem is that once you raid the stores for food, don't expect anymore. It's all gone. And what ever is or may be coming won't be enough to feed the left over survivors. The supply chain is pretty weak as it is. The way food is moved around is to flow it as efficiently as possible and so that it is always on the move, and you never have to hold any kind of stock anywhere in your supply chain. It does deliver the freshest food possible, at the expense of a shortage if you have any hiccups. The supply chain keeps it consistantly refreshed. One small glitch in this'always on time' system and things start to fall apart. I've been in the grocery business long enough to see these changes and the current challenges.

if such a situation occured then you have to think things are very bad everywhere, society has broken down and there will be no quick fix...

when I was a kid in the days of nuclear bomb shelters the estimates for food reserves in city grocers was two weeks, it's probably less now...back then my parents yard was a huge garden every year and that supplemented our store bought groceries...back then my mother and my friends mothers all made preserved foods from our garden produce to last the winter,I have no idea how to preserve foods there was no need to learn... oranges and a lot of other fruits mid winter were a rarity back then, highly seasonal, many fruits and veggies we take for granted today weren't available when I was a kid...those of us old enough to remember have forgotten and the younger generations have no clue...

Food is one of the things we need most to not only live and live well, but we need it to survive.
our civilzation/morality/ethics goes out the window without food...we're living charmed and deluded lives thinking it can't happen to us... Edited by wyly
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...back then my parents yard was a huge garden every year and that supplemented our store bought groceries...back then my mother and my friends mothers all made preserved foods from our garden produce to last the winter,I have no idea how to preserve foods there was no need to learn... oranges and a lot of other fruits mid winter were a rarity back then, highly seasonal, many fruits and veggies we take for granted today weren't available when I was a kid...those of us old enough to remember have forgotten and the younger generations have no clue...

Our garden produces enough to freeze, can and dry to last us until about May of the following year. Not only do we know where all that food comes from but our 'store' is only about 20 feet from our kitchen.

I am presently working on expanding a small deep water culture hydroponic experiment that I am hoping will provide us with fresh greens all winter long. There are lots of things to learn about growing, preserving and reconstituting foods that we all should be learning. However, waiting for a major event, when the internet is no longer accessible, or when the food stores are exhausted will be too late.

...our civilzation/morality/ethics goes out the window without food...we're living charmed and deluded lives thinking it can't happen to us...

That is why as much as possible we need to reject import food and instead rely upon local producers for fresh produce, meats and dairy. They are far more reliable than waiting for e-coli infested Mexican lettuce hits the shelves of SaveMart and 100,000 people get sick before anyone notices where the sickness came from...The 100 mile diet is a good philosophy but eh 10 mile, or 25 mile diet is even better...even if it costs us a bit more...

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No one is building a wall....

But emergency planning must always consider such scenarios and plan according. Governments don't see the need I'm sure to plan for food issues but they have no problem planning for a nuclear meltdown (and the evacuation of 500,000 residents) of a CANDU reactor with 12 automatic safety shutdown systems, 4 monitoring computers and and 1 in 25,000,000 possibility of ever happening. Do you get where I'm going with this?

Planning for nuclear evaluation is one thing, but creating an economy that doesn't depend on foreign food would represent an ongoing economic hit that would amount to paying for food insurance forever.

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Planning for nuclear evaluation is one thing, but creating an economy that doesn't depend on foreign food would represent an ongoing economic hit that would amount to paying for food insurance forever.

I am not understanding you here. The point is not to create an economy idependent of foreign food imports, but to focus more on locally grown food and use those local systems in disaster planning. Could you expand on 'food insurance?'

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I am not understanding you here. The point is not to create an economy idependent of foreign food imports, but to focus more on locally grown food and use those local systems in disaster planning. Could you expand on 'food insurance?'

If charter.rights is right, then we only grow 20% of our own food now. Using local food systems in disaster planning makes sense, but focusing on locally grown food... I'm not sure what that means.

If the idea is for us to increase food security by adding tariffs to imported food, or by subsidizing local food then that amounts to paying more for food security, hence it's like food insurance.

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If charter.rights is right, then we only grow 20% of our own food now. Using local food systems in disaster planning makes sense, but focusing on locally grown food... I'm not sure what that means.

If the idea is for us to increase food security by adding tariffs to imported food, or by subsidizing local food then that amounts to paying more for food security, hence it's like food insurance.

It means we buy local so that we can directly support the agriculture industry that feeds us. It helps guarantee that local farms remain viable and ensures that should world crops fail, or transportation glitches etc, we have direct access to one of our primary survival mechanism.

Bottled water versus pristine lakes and rivers have the same concerns. If we disregard what we do to the water sources in Canada, and instead rely upon bottled water, what happens is a world drought suddenly removes our access to the bottled water supplies? We can always drink contaminated water but at what costs?

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It means we buy local so that we can directly support the agriculture industry that feeds us. It helps guarantee that local farms remain viable and ensures that should world crops fail, or transportation glitches etc, we have direct access to one of our primary survival mechanism.

Whatever would cause crops around the world to fail, would cause our crops to fail. No transportation glitch cuts Canada off for weeks. And again, we arrive back at the point where we're talking about huge unknown unknowns and what the value is in ensuring against such a thing.

Evidently, we buy 20% local now. Given that there are subsidies in place, that means that people wouldn't normally be interested in paying more to support local farming, which makes sense because they don't spend other dollars with a "buy Canadian" mindset so much.

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Whatever would cause crops around the world to fail, would cause our crops to fail. No transportation glitch cuts Canada off for weeks. And again, we arrive back at the point where we're talking about huge unknown unknowns and what the value is in ensuring against such a thing.

Evidently, we buy 20% local now. Given that there are subsidies in place, that means that people wouldn't normally be interested in paying more to support local farming, which makes sense because they don't spend other dollars with a "buy Canadian" mindset so much.

Most people don't buy locally because it isn't in front of them at the supermarkets. Nuclear meltdown preparedness are even bigger unknowns and yet there are action plans in place for almost every possibility, no matter what the percentage of risk.

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Most people don't buy locally because it isn't in front of them at the supermarkets. Nuclear meltdown preparedness are even bigger unknowns and yet there are action plans in place for almost every possibility, no matter what the percentage of risk.

Yes and no. Nuclear meltdowns have unknown consequences, but the idea is to evacuate people from the area, and that is probably as far as the plans go.

Why do you think local food isn't in front of them at the supermarkets ? Some of it is, especially when it is in season.

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Yes and no. Nuclear meltdowns have unknown consequences, but the idea is to evacuate people from the area, and that is probably as far as the plans go.

Why do you think local food isn't in front of them at the supermarkets ? Some of it is, especially when it is in season.

if only 20% of our food is locally produced then in regards to the OP we are living dangerously, that'll only feed 20% of the population, at that point our government will be long gone and society will break down, it'll be everyone for themselves...

it doesn't have to be an end of days event that wipes us out just medium event, civil disorder and starvation will finish us off.

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