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Thread: Nine meals from anarchy
06-09-08, 02:25 PM #1
Nine meals from anarchy
I found this very interesting.
Nine meals from anarchy - how Britain is facing a very real food crisis
By Rosie Boycott
Last updated at 1:41 AM on 07th June 2008
But that was the expression coined by Lord Cameron of Dillington, a farmer who was the first head of the Countryside Agency - the quango set up by Tony Blair in the days when he pretended to care about the countryside - to describe just how perilous Britain's food supply actually is.
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Crisis: Britain's food supply is in peril
Long before many others, Cameron saw the potential of a real food crisis striking not just the poor of the Third World, but us, here in Britain, in the 21st Century.
The scenario goes like this. Imagine a sudden shutdown of oil supplies; a sudden collapse in the petrol that streams steadily through the pumps and so into the engines of the lorries which deliver our food around the country, stocking up the supermarket shelves as soon as any item runs out.
If the trucks stopped moving, we'd start to worry and we'd head out to the shops, cking up our larders. By the end of Day One, if there was still no petrol, the shelves would be looking pretty thin. Imagine, then, Day Two: your fourth, fifth and sixth meal. We'd be in a panic. Day three: still no petrol.
What then? With hunger pangs kicking in, and no notion of how long it might take for the supermarkets to restock, how long before those who hadn't stocked up began stealing from their neighbours? Or looting what they could get their hands on?
There might be 11 million gardeners in Britain, but your delicious summer peas won't go far when your kids are hungry and the baked beans have run out.
It was Lord Cameron's estimation that it would take just nine meals - three full days without food on supermarket shelves - before law and order started to break down, and British streets descended into chaos.
A far-fetched warning for a First World nation like Britain? Hardly. Because that's exactly what happened in the U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. People looted in order to feed themselves and their families.
If a similar tragedy was to befall Britain, we are fooling ourselves if we imagine we would not witness similar scenes of crime and disorder.
Well, today Britain is facing a very real crisis. Granted, it is not the threat of a sudden, terrifying phenomenon such as the hurricane that struck New Orleans. But in its capacity to cause widespread hardship and deprivation nationwide, it is every bit as daunting.
Oil prices are spiralling - $120 a barrel this week, up 23 per cent since the start of the year - and the cost is being felt not only by drivers but by each and every one of us who has seen our food bills soaring.
This week, the British Retail Consortium revealed that food price inflation had risen to 6 per cent - the highest figure since comparable records began - and up from 4.7 per cent in April and 4.1 per cent in March.
At its most basic, the reasons for this food inflation are twofold: increasing demand (particularly in the emerging economies of India and China) and spiralling production costs.
The former had been predicted for years, but the latter is more unexpected.
Conventional wisdom had it that in an age of mechanisation, the cost of producing the food that we eat would decrease as technology found new ways of improving yields and minimising labour costs. But there was a problem that hadn't been factored in. Production methods are now such that 95 per cent of all the food we eat in the world today is oil-dependent.
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As oil prices have risen, so has the cost of food
The 'black gold' is embedded in our complex global food systems, in its fertilisers, the mechanisation necessary for its production, its transportation and its packaging.
For example, to farm a single cow and deliver it to market requires the equivalent of six barrels of oil - enough to drive a car from New York to LA.
Unbelievable? One analysis of the fodder pellets which are fed to the vast majority of beef cows to supplement their grazing found that they were made up of ingredients that had originated in six different countries. Think of the fuel required to transport that lot around the world.
Now factor in the the diesel used by the farm vehicles, the carbon footprint of chemical fertilisers used by most nonorganic beef farms and the energy required to transport a cow to the abattoir and process it. The total oil requirement soon adds up.
And so as oil prices have risen, so too has the cost of food - and I'm afraid it's only set to get worse. The age of cheap food is at an end - and it will impact not only on our supermarket bills, but on the whole economy.
Fifty years ago, food represented around 30 per cent of the average household budget, whereas nowadays it is nearer to 9 per cent.
In other words, cheap food has not only helped keep inflation down, it also allowed the postwar consumer boom to flourish.
With our most basic and necessary commodity - the food on our plates - costing proportionally less every decade, we had plenty of free capital to spend on luxuries: flat-screen TVs; the holidays abroad; the home improvements and extensions that so many of us have acquired.
That's all set to change in a major way. A new era of austerity is approaching, and we are illpreparedfor its scale and effect. As a farmer myself, who runs a smallholding in Somerset, I was one of the first to detect the winds of change, as the prices for my animal feed rose.
This time last year, it cost me around £7.50 a month to feed one of my pigs. Today, as wheat prices nudge upwards towards £180 a ton, that figure is closer to £15 a month.
Over the past year, wheat prices have doubled, leading not only to increases in the price of bread, but also to demonstrations by pig farmers like me who are going out of business just as fast as you can fry your bacon.
And while wheat farmers might be having a brief moment of glory in the sunshine of rising prices as the world competes for rapidly decreasing supplies, the crisis is hitting home in ways that I certainly never expected to see in my lifetime.
In a report published on Thursday, 18 charities found that many disabled people and poorer pensioners are having to go short of food in order to pay for home care or simple things such as transport to their local day care centre.
Sue Bott, director of the National Centre for Independent Living, said: 'The shocking reality is that people are being forced to choose between eating properly and using vital care services.' So much for our civilised society.
It's not just a matter of cost, either, but of real shortages. In the U.S., supplies of rice are so low that retail giant WalMart has been rationing the amount any one customer can buy.
Is that a prospect that now lies ahead of us - a life of rationing similar to the one my parents lived in the years immediately following the war, when we eked out tiny rations of orange juice, and a banana was an almost unheard of treat?
If so, how will a nation that has grown accustomed to having what it wants, when it wants, cope? We are no more used to real deprivation than we are to the pandemic diseases that claimed so many British lives a century or so ago.
Yet the truly shocking fact is that the Government has made no plans at all to prepare for this possibility. Indeed, it has utterly failed to address the vital issues surrounding our food supplies and security.
For years, experts who warned that the combined impact of climate change and oil depletion would converge and plunge food supplies into crisis have been ignored.
John Krebs, former chair of the Food Standards Authority (FSA), told me recently that not only was the issue not even considered, it was laughed at when anyone dared suggest that a country so apparently bountiful as ours could one day find itself facing a food shortage. But Britain, as an island nation, is particularly vulnerable. We have not been self-sufficient in food since the late 18th century, but the situation is rapidly worsening.
In 1995, 27 per cent of UK food was imported. By 2006 it was 37 per cent. The situation is obviously more critical in cities: London imports more than 80 per cent and a food shortage would hit the capital the hardest.
The situation is worsened, of course, by the fact that we are having to compete for supplies on the global market with many more nations than ever before.
For centuries, the typical Chinese diet consisted of rice and vegetables, but as the Chinese pour into the newly emerging cities, so their diets are changing. In 1962, the average Chinese ate just 4kg of meat per year: by 2005 that figure was 60kg and rising.
The result has placed huge pressure not only on prices, but on natural resources required to cope with this increased demand.
It is not simply that we do not have enough land to grow the grain to feed the animals which in turn feed us. In the past two decades, pressure on our natural resources has increased to a level which many experts fear has become unsustainable.
For example, in the U.S., the use of hydrocarbon pesticides has increased 33 times as farmers sought to increase production and yet, as soil structures weaken due to over-use and mono-crop cultivation, more crops are being lost to pests every year.
The world has a finite supply of fresh water too, yet 70 per cent of all freshwater is used for agriculture, often horribly wastefully.
For example, it takes four litres of water to grow a single Kenyan green bean stem which we in Britain import by the ton - and this is from an officially ' water-stressed' country. And that's before we factor in climate change, which many believe will render great swathes of land infertile.
Certainly, intensive farming methods are only adding to the problem: according to the UN, animal farming now accounts for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, due to forest clearances and the methane emitted by cattle.
The net result is a looming crisis of which soaring oil prices could simply be the starting gun.
In this regard, the dominance of the supermarkets in British food retailing contributes massively to our vulnerability. Rising energy prices have an immediate impact on many of the food giants' common practices.
Their reliance on diesel trucks for 'Just in time delivery' and ' warehousing on wheels'; their endless plastic packaging and their transportation of processed foods and raw materials around the world means that our supermarkets have been hit doubly hard by the high oil price.
(How much longer, I wonder, will the seafood business Young's of Scotland find it economic to fly prawns to Thailand to be cleaned and de-shelled, before flying them back to Scotland for packaging)?
During the fuel protests of September 2000, we caught a glimpse of how even the supply of basic foodstuffs are dependent on oil: Justin King, the CEO of Sainsbury, warned Blair that we would be 'out of food' within 'days not weeks' if the protests continued.
Today, we stand on the brink of a longer-term problem. In the words of Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University, London: 'We are sleep-walking into a crisis.'
Yet even now, the Government has not woken up to the immediacy of the problem. Indeed, it doesn't even have a coherent means of taking control of the situation. Food, and its related issues, currently straddles no fewer than 19 different ministries.
When I questioned Joan Ruddock about whether the Government would change its policy about allowing pig farmers to feed their animals swill made from left-over food scraps (a practice banned after the food-and-mouth outbreak) she replied that she couldn't answer the question because it fell under the jurisdiction of a different department.
This is madness. Food, along with shelter and safety, is one of our most basic needs. Professor Lang believes that nothing short of a radical change in our diets - away from meat and towards vegetables and grains - will solve the problem long term.
But in the meantime, alarm bells should be going off all over Westminster about the scale and impact of the impending food crisis.
Suddenly, that warning of being 'nine meals from anarchy' no longer seems such a distant or improbable threat.
06-09-08, 07:31 PM #2
Are you going to stay home and defend your family or go to work?That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.
If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.
I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones
Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman
I'd be a better people person if I was around better people.
06-09-08, 07:44 PM #3
I am sure the Swamp Mafia can speak volumes on this but Katrina really opened my eyes to just how close to anarchy we are at any given time. I never thought that I would see gas lines a mile long, people breaking into fights in those lines, people following gasoline tankers through town, and the police having to escort those same tankers. I saw a side of society that I did not like at all.*************************"It wouldn't take much for me to up and run...to another life somewhere in the sun."*************************"There's something inherently wrong with having to put on a bullet-proof vest and a gun to go to work."-(An old friend)
Any statements or opinions given in my postings or profile do not reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employer or anyone else other than me. They are my personal opinions or statements only, thereby releasing my employer , any other entity, or any other person of any liability or involvement in anything posted under the username "Cidp24" on O/R.
06-09-08, 09:47 PM #4
Reminds me of the gas crunch in 1973. The 18 wheelers need to stage another protest. That will get the prices down.
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
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In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.
06-10-08, 02:06 AM #5
Citizen: "I want" Security, Comfort. Convenience. "I want it now".
Gov't: you shall have whatever you want, I'm Nannie, trust me....
But to eat in Nannie's kitchen, you have to play by Nannie's rules. You have to pay Nannie too. Nannie will protect you too, surrender all your worries. Got a problem? Nannie will fix. Nannie needs to come into your home to make sure you dont hurt yourself. Nannie doesnt like what you hear outside of Nannie's hearing. Nannie wants you to be happy, listen to or watch Nannie's plans for your crisis free future. Nannie says you need to share.....more. Nannie told you your grandfather's WW-2 Lee Enfield or Garand is dangerous. Nannie takes it to protect you, because you might hurt yourself, or hurt the poor burglar who is coming to steal it. Nannie's pet judge will send you away for 10 times as long as the burglar, if you hurt the burglar, or even fire a warning shot.
Anyone see the movie "Misery?" That's my pic of Nannie, she will mother you, until she eats you.
Shit has hit the fan. Nannie took the day off to move her family on special escape routes. The banks are closed or looted; so what, your money is worthless. Transport has collapsed, hijack replaces reservations or freight invoicing. Stores are empty, looted before selling out, the employees stopped counting the worthless money just as they took the last of the essential foods off the shelves. The manager asks "why did the frozen pizaa, chips, and cigarettes go first?" Food, ammo, fuel and water are today's money. Nannie's money is in gold in Geneva, and her guns stashed under a mountain near the Equator. Nannie's family eats from special govt stores. You no longer pay Nannie, so dont expect Nannie to come back. Nannie is taking care of "immediate family" only. Nannie has a Browning 9mm taken away from a now imprisoned retired Army NCO. "I dont need a permit, I issue them". The police become targets and escape, their appointed leaders left days ago with the judges and their families. The firefighters follow, they have become targets too. The hospitals are staffed with people who are not your neighbors, do not speak your language ,and have no loyalty to the flag flying atop the hospital. Medicine stocks are gone, or locked in govt vaults. These medics will take their families home, they leave little more behind than what Nannie held over their heads.
The burglar is back with guns raided from the registry lists, and hungry friends fresh out of jail cells. Your children believe in Nannie, 'cause she educated them. Your kids look to you now for protection. What about all that Nannie promised me, what about the Law? The phones are now dead as the govt pre-empted the circuits. Your vision dims. The outlawed double edge knife across your throat only hurt for a second, less than the rifle butt ....the last thing you hear is screams........."they promised me security...."
Dependency on the govt. Remember one thing, the govt protects the govt, first, last, always. If the govt does not protect itself, it will dissolve, after the leaders have reached safety. Examples: Carthage, Rome, Czarist Russia, Soviet USSR collapse, Nazi 3rd Reich, DDR & Stasi, South-Vietnam, Cambodia, NIcaraugua, etc. Colombia, Cuba, Zimbabwe are in "transition".
DPRK, Iran, and Myanmar are still redefining their next book of "truth".
Marxists, Socialists, Progressives, Communists, Juntas, Nazis, Totalitarians, ...use authority (power) of the State to "change" societies. They begin with re-defining everything. Pick a topic, it's been re-defined. Old Mugabe even re-defined Zimbabwe's "free" elections as "harmony". They now re-define the simple words like liberty, safety, honor, and are now selling the re-defined word "change". They know what is best, and they silence "you-there" as unwanted vermin. "Vermin" now includes enemies of the "people". So what does "people" mean now? The word "constitution" is not far off, will it have the same meaning as used in your oath of office?
Yeah, the "honorable" Bill Clinton............Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
06-13-08, 07:50 AM #6
06-13-08, 09:24 AM #7
Agreed. When will the rest wake up and see this. Oh I'm sorry. Must be my paranoia acting up again.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
06-13-08, 03:20 PM #8
06-13-08, 03:43 PM #9
06-13-08, 04:02 PM #10
Ahhh, one of my old avatar pics. Some good posts here. The nanny state is probably one of greatest concerns. I have always felt that when the fecal matter hits the fan I know how to help me best. The sad thing is most people could not even tell you who Patrick Henry is today. They sure can't tell you why he should be remembered.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
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06-14-08, 01:58 AM #11
The nanny state is here. There just aren't enough of us to roll over and go on welfare and govt assistance..........yet. But its coming.Are you a 3%er? If you aren't, you should be.
06-14-08, 02:17 AM #12
What I'm reminded of, is Hurricane Katrina. I remember sitting home and the media reporting officers "abandoning their posts and fleeing" while other officers were basically holed up "under seige" in stations and precinct houses. I remember being absolutely livid and yelling at the TV. "How can they leave their brother officers?" Until I later met a NOPD Detective at a training class. He and I talked and I wanted to know if all the stuff on TV was true. He was one of the under seige officers. He told me it was bad, but that the media had it wrong. The majority of officers who left were leaving to get their family out. But once they were out and safe, the officers came back. There were only a very few who said "fuck it, I quit!" He also told me that no one he knows in their agency holds it against those officers for getting their families to safety. Mostly because they would have done the same, and also, they came back when the family was settled.
So, seeing it in that light....I understood. I'd get my family out too. And then I'd worry about the town.Are you a 3%er? If you aren't, you should be.
06-14-08, 11:11 AM #13
the question keeps looming...... how are we going to fix this fucking mess. i having this growing pit in my gut that things are going to get really ugly. i have no faith is any of our leaders, because as what was said before, government will protect themselves before any others.MANNNNN.... YOU MUST BE FAST, BECAUSE I WAS HAULIN ASS WHEN I PASSED YOU!
06-16-08, 07:56 AM #14i having this growing pit in my gut that things are going to get really ugly.
06-17-08, 07:40 AM #15
Just remember guys....if social order collapses, every jackass with a grudge against LE is going to come looking for payback.
Prepare now.Are you a 3%er? If you aren't, you should be.
06-17-08, 10:15 AM #16
With the advent of UPS, FedEx, and overnight frieght, the whole supply system now is moving toward what's called a "JIT" (Just In Time) model. It is certainly efficient because a product like food or spare parts is on the retailer's shelf days or weeks after it's produced.
But since the number of warehouses have declined dramatically, there is no buffer in times of an interruption, and goods are only scheduled for delivery days or hours in advance of the need.
It's like the proverbial house of cards - The shortages will be felt immediately, not only at the retail level, but also at the manufacturing level (manufactures use JIT parts and materials delivery to avoid having to keep stockpiles on the manufacturing site).
Basically our stockpile for emergencies is limited to what's on the supermarket shelf and already in the transportation system pipeline, which may include a few small regional warehouses at best - Supermarkets don't even have much stuff stored in their back rooms anymore.
That's why there was such a big concern for the Y2K computer glitches when the year rolled over from '99 to '00, which indeed upset a lot of older supply chain software. I think the only thing that divirted Y2K chaos (maybe short of a disaster) was that the warning bells were sounded about 10 years in advance in the computer industry.
Since JIT scheduling, ordering, and dispatching is wholly dependant on computers and electronic networks, I think some of the more rational scenarios being floated about food and fuel disruptions would have materialized if billions of dollars had not been poured into patching and updgrading 20- and 30-year-old software that some of the world's major producers and distributors were using.
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