On Aug 17, 2012, at 4:19 PM, John D’hondt wrote:
> What is the draught doing in your calculations Tony.
I’m glad you asked–it makes my point! The USDA harvest projections show how complex and unpredictable the food systems are. Harvests of all grains are down 12-15% in the US–which means the worst harvest in 8-10 years; far less of a catastrophe than one might think, given that the drought is the worst in 56 years. But get ready for this: The projections are for greater total stocks of corn than last year by 10% or more, because the decline in the global economy means less exported corn, less being made into ethanol, and, for reasons I haven’t learned, we are importing more this year. http://www.agweb.com/blog/Farmland_Forecast_148/
This–more food, not less–shows how unsuited linear thinking is (like, less oil means less food; bad weather means less food, and so on) in a complex adaptive system like food, the economy, and most of everything else we live in. That’s why I’m not a doomer. Systems adapt in utterly unpredictable ways, and they often adapt well.
Much of the reason we default to “it’s gonna get real bad,” besides being hard-wired for the scarcity thinking that is habitual, is that the systems we depend on are more complex that we can grasp without a lot of study, both of the system and of systems thinking in general. That’s hard work, and it’s much easier to think “It can’t possibly hang together, it’s so complex,” when in fact it is the complexity that allows it to hang together, adapt, and survive even extremely severe shocks. And it’s why “grow all your own food” is the least resilient, least adaptive response to food issues: it’s totally un-networked, vulnerable, and simple in the worst sense of the word. That kind of self-reliance is not a permaculture principle; it’s a default scarcity response and if I can achieve one (more) thing in life, it would be to root that out.