Profile
Search
Register
Log in
Food Theory
View previous topic | View next topic >

Post new topic Reply to topic
Strange Famous Forum > The General Forum

Author Message
mlanifesto



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 354
Location: UK>Head Like a Fucking Orange County>San Francisco
 Reply with quote  

Japanese scientists have made "edible steaks" from human shit.

"Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef."

It has been suggested that this process creates less waste and emissions than traditional farming.

The "steaks" cost 10-20 times the amount of a normal steak, but they think they can get the price down to the same as actual meat.

Its also low calorie.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/digitaltrends/20110615/tc_digitaltrends/japanesescientistscreatesmeatoutoffeces

Who will eat excrement and fart rose petals?
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:23 pm
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Charlie Foxtrot



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 1379
Location: Rochester, NY
 Reply with quote  

That article says that beef is 65% protein and 3% lipids (fat):

"It tastes like steak and it's good for you? Gee doc, what's the catch?"
"It's made out of feces."
"..."
"..."
"Go fuck yourself doc."
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:56 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: North Smithfield, RI
 Reply with quote  

I seem to have two modes of eating: when I'm active with exercise, and when I'm not. The latter is filled with whatever kinds of foods I feel like eating, whenever I feel like eating it. This doesn't last very long though and is usually followed by me returning to a healthy veggie/fruits/lean protein diet with exercise incorporated. If I'm not working out on a routine, I can't stick to healthy eating, but I don't get as worried about it as I used to when I notice myself slacking into junk food territory.
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:59 pm
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
name



Joined: 12 Nov 2002
Posts: 955
 Reply with quote  

Finn wrote:

Parts of this paragraph are borderline lunatic. "Sustainable" produce costs more, generally speaking, because yields are lower. That doesn't mean that more environmental resources are consumed. At all. It may mean that more human resources are "consumed," but the employment of human resources has not, to my knowledge, been deemed a negative.

You cannot, in fact, guarantee that this food consumes more resources than other forms of agriculture. This is as ridiculous a blanket statement as the ones you so adamantly oppose. You're deriding the notion of organic as nonspecific, but are insisting that you can prove things about it. What?

People who "insist" on organic food are placing no more of a burden on society than people who insist on the existence of art, or sport, or any other pursuit which perpetuates some model of humanity that is concerned with anything more than supporting the maximum number of human lives on the planet. The argument that these individuals burden society is an insane, mechanistic position to take on what it means to be alive.

It's true that if we suddenly switched tomorrow, many people would die. It's absurd, though, to argue that this is evidence for the efficacy of the current system, or against the wisdom of the proposed one. This is a misleading and arbitrary thought experiment. If ten million people became surgeons overnight, many people would die, but this isn't because we shouldn't have more surgeons. It's because those people who suddenly found themselves surgeons wouldn't know what the fuck they were doing, and would butcher everyone they operated on.

You're correct in noting that a person who drives considerably farther to purchase a (potentially) marginally better product is in fact living hypocritically. But this has nothing to do with the food, and is not really the subject of this conversation.

The number of straw men that you are attacking in this thread is excessive.


oh boy. i'm short on time tonight... but i will definitely respond to this when i have a chance.

in the mean time, i provide to you your own quote to reconsider:

"Organic food isn't always perfect, but its better. If you can't buy something organically, don't buy it at all. That's a fine motto. If organic blueberries went up to $100/lb, I wouldn't buy non-organic ones, I'd just stop eating blueberries."

whatever floats your boat, chief... but i'd be willing to bet the farm that your position is firmly rooted in ideology.
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:19 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
flex vector



Joined: 03 Nov 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Portland, ME
 Reply with quote  

IAmNiki wrote:
I seem to have two modes of eating: when I'm active with exercise, and when I'm not. The latter is filled with whatever kinds of foods I feel like eating, whenever I feel like eating it. This doesn't last very long though and is usually followed by me returning to a healthy veggie/fruits/lean protein diet with exercise incorporated. If I'm not working out on a routine, I can't stick to healthy eating, but I don't get as worried about it as I used to when I notice myself slacking into junk food territory.


I do pretty much exactly the same thing. I find it a lot easier to stick to a strict diet of good, clean food when I'm also sticking to a strict exercise regimen. The two just seem to go hand in hand for me. When I've been pushing my body hard at the gym it gives me an extra incentive to eat healthy foods. Knowing that I'm putting good clean nutrients in my body gives me a weird sense of satisfaction - almost like some sort of buzz like I can actually feel the nutrients feeding my muscles or something.

If I get out of my exercise routine - usually during the long New England winter - I'll kind of slip out of my good eating habits as well. I never let it get too out of hand though and usually get back on track after a couple months.
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:26 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 9263
Location: london
 Reply with quote  

mlanifesto wrote:
Japanese scientists have made "edible steaks" from human shit.

"Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef."

It has been suggested that this process creates less waste and emissions than traditional farming.

The "steaks" cost 10-20 times the amount of a normal steak, but they think they can get the price down to the same as actual meat.

Its also low calorie.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/digitaltrends/20110615/tc_digitaltrends/japanesescientistscreatesmeatoutoffeces

Who will eat excrement and fart rose petals?


this woman
</object>
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:31 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Finn



Joined: 05 Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Boston, MA
 Reply with quote  

name wrote:
Finn wrote:

"Organic food isn't always perfect, but its better. If you can't buy something organically, don't buy it at all. That's a fine motto. If organic blueberries went up to $100/lb, I wouldn't buy non-organic ones, I'd just stop eating blueberries."
whatever floats your boat, chief... but i'd be willing to bet the farm that your position is firmly rooted in ideology.


I think that all "beliefs" are rooted in ideology. Since when is ideology a bad thing? All human beings operate through them, and I have no issues discussing mine. If that quote reads as though it were born via some ideology, that's because it was. Ideologies themselves do not crowd out facts, or empiricism, or whatever else it is you imagine opposes ideology. Anyone who thinks his beliefs aren't rooted in some ideology is almost certainly kidding himself.
Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:33 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
name



Joined: 12 Nov 2002
Posts: 955
 Reply with quote  

Finn wrote:
Parts of this paragraph are borderline lunatic. "Sustainable" produce costs more, generally speaking, because yields are lower. That doesn't mean that more environmental resources are consumed. At all. It may mean that more human resources are "consumed," but the employment of human resources has not, to my knowledge, been deemed a negative.

First off, as I already stated, the notion of sustainable practices has absolutely nothing to do with organic farming. The marketing geniuses at a number of corporations, though, would love for you to keep believing there is a relationship (by the way, most of the organic food companies in the US are now owned by mega corporations like Kraft, Altria, Cargill, etc). Second of all, if yields are lower, then that would certainly imply that the resource-per-unit of produce cost is higher, wouldn’t it? Or are you arguing that eventhough yields/per unit are, say, half as much, the energy-per-unit cost of organic food is less than half as much. If so, I think the burden of proof is on you.
Finn wrote:
You cannot, in fact, guarantee that this food consumes more resources than other forms of agriculture. This is as ridiculous a blanket statement as the ones you so adamantly oppose. You're deriding the notion of organic as nonspecific, but are insisting that you can prove things about it. What?

To address your second point first, I have been putting quotes around the term “organic” precisely because many people don’t even know what they are trying to describe when they use the word. I think this fact is largely responsible for perpetuating misinformation – the aforementioned corporations would love to keep it nebulous. For the sake of clarity, I define “organic” as: no synthetic fertilizers, no genetic engineering, no synthetic pesticides used in the production process (see USDA guidelines). With livestock, it’s a bit different. But cattle, for example, consume huge majorities of the world’s corn and soy product, so it’s safe to say that the relative cost of organic beef is analogous to that of plant matter . Producing organic beef costs about 1.6 times as much energy per pound compared to grain-fed industrial beef. In addition, non-organic farming requires about half of the land resources of organic farming. Why? Genetic engineering. For decades, we have been reaping the benefits of food engineered to require less water and less nitrogen content in soil, and be more resistant to pests and disease. So, guess what? I can guarantee beyond a reasonable doubt that for pretty much any mass produced agricultural commodity, the resource cost of going organic is higher. How is this not abundantly clear to you? Please point out the hole in this argument. How can you deny that engineered Round-up-Ready seeds reduce resource costs compared to non-modified crops that require more water, more nutrients, more land area, and exhibit a higher attrition rate to top it all off. Please. Tell me.
Finn wrote:
People who "insist" on organic food are placing no more of a burden on society than people who insist on the existence of art, or sport, or any other pursuit which perpetuates some model of humanity that is concerned with anything more than supporting the maximum number of human lives on the planet. The argument that these individuals burden society is an insane, mechanistic position to take on what it means to be alive.

This statement is just ridiculous, and largely addressed above. I can only add to this by reiterating the following: essentially, I believe "buying organic" is a luxury - just like buying a Lexus instead of Toyota. People have EVERY RIGHT to spend their money as they wish. But it's annoying when they come back and argue that the Lexus is actually better for society. Why can't people just say they bought a Lexus because it's faster and they like the leather seats - and leave it at that?
Finn wrote:
If ten million people became surgeons overnight, many people would die, but this isn't because we shouldn't have more surgeons. It's because those people who suddenly found themselves surgeons wouldn't know what the fuck they were doing, and would butcher everyone they operated on.

I’m sorry. I can’t begin to understand how this analogy makes any sense in the context of our discussion.
Finn wrote:
You're correct in noting that a person who drives considerably farther to purchase a (potentially) marginally better product is in fact living hypocritically. But this has nothing to do with the food, and is not really the subject of this conversation.

You’re right; hypocrisy, annoying as it is, is not the main issue. Check where you’re organic produce is coming from. In most cases it travels considerably farther and at much greater cost in its journey to your store. “Locally produced” and “organic” are also commonly conflated by people, despite the fact they have nothing to with each other. That is on top of the above mentioned travel costs; relevant to the conversation, I think, because we’re talking about resource-cost-per unit. True, if the whole world switched to organic, this drawback would evaporate. But as it stands now, it must be factored in.

I’ll leave you with this: Recently the World Bank released a report on golden rice, a decidedly non-organic, engineered rice crop that produces beta-carotene and vitamin A. Well, the report estimates that introduction of this crop into the food chain would save the equivalent of 1.5 million life-years, every year in India alone. To achieve this it would require people to ingest as little as 150g per day, at a cost affordable to such countries. Want to take a guess at golden rice’s biggest opponents?

We can argue all day about whether your organic purchasing practices are a burden on the rest of us. My answer is yes, albeit minimal. But it doesn’t mean I’m urging you to stop. I’m just urging people to admit it. I do LOTS of things that cause a disproportiate burden on others. I eat more fatty foods than I should (increased health care cost to society), I drive a V6 (waste of gas), I commute 12 miles to work , I water my lawn occasionally. None of this is about laying a guilt trip; it’s about being accurate and honest. I have a much bigger problem with the crusaders who fight against things like “golden rice” in the name of some warped ideology (and yes, I have a problem with ideology – it is diametrically opposed to hypothesis-driven thought). Straw men? Maybe. But tell that to rural communities in the third world.
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:22 am
 View user's profile Send private message
IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: North Smithfield, RI
 Reply with quote  

Eating organic, for the most part, is a priviledge. I love mother Earth a whole bunch, but if I only purchased organic food, I would barely be able to buy much at all for groceries, and I definitely wouldn't be healthy for it.
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:12 am
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Finn



Joined: 05 Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Boston, MA
 Reply with quote  

I completely agree with your issues regarding the very nebulous definition of "organic," and I don't much like to use the word myself. I guess I should've placed it in quotes wherever I used it. I don't mean to use it as a blanket term that comes from packaging, and it's my own fault for not being clearer on this: while most people inaccurately conflate organic and sustainable, I personally tend not to be as confused on this issue. I don't eat any meat, and purchase almost all of my vegetables from Massachusetts farms, year round. Food storage and availability have gotten very good here; there are only about two months a year when local pickings are really slim. I'll eat old beets and potatoes and carrots all winter. I don't care. And a lot of farms here have started to grow grains, which can easily be stored all year.

I'm aware that this is a privilege, though Massachusetts has made great strides through the SNAP/EBT system to allow low-income families to purchase food from the markets. I am extremely well-off relative to families in third-world countries, but we do not earn more than the average American household. We eat great because we sacrifice elsewhere, make food a priority, and take advantage of our opportunities.

I recognize many of your conclusions as logical, but do not favor your ideology, a disagreement you've already identified. This is something that I struggle with. I do not agree that we should maximize the number of human beings on the planet. You seem to be implying that you do think we should do this, and many great thinkers have fallen on your side. But people take up space, and while technological advances may push the Malthusian ceiling upward, I'm not prepared to begin genetically engineering human beings so that they require less space or less stimulation.

I don't know how to relieve population pressures on the planet in a way that minimizes human suffering. You'll probably say that the answer is obvious: make more food in less space. Man requires more than food, though, and is greatly outnumbered by his neighbors on this planet. This is simply not a plan that can be pursued indefinitely, lest we begin to synthesize more and more of the world in order to replace the pre-existing systems that we break. It's possible that we destroy the planet's ability to recycle clean water. It's also possible that we replace this system with our own, and solve our water problem forever. I'd simply prefer the one we already have. This is personal preference, and I will fight for it.

--

As far as yields and resources are concerned, really, the disagreement comes down to consumption versus utilization. It's true that crop production efficiencies are increased via GMOs and the like. What's less clear is that current methods will result in a net benefit over time. Chemical fertilizers increase yields, but they pay nothing forward, except in perhaps serving to nourish children who may one day invent ways to squeeze more from less. "Organic" (note the quotes) uses more human labor, more time, and assumes more seasonal risk (via pests etc). This can be seen as increased resource "consumption," but I view them as largely -- if not entirely -- renewable. Again, there are right ways and wrong ways to do everything. I'm not arguing that all food is produced intelligently, "organic" or not. A lot of organic is a cloak of bullshit. Yes.

There's an obvious philosophical difference underlying all of this. If I was of the same mind as you regarding the sort of future we should be aiming for, I'd agree with you. And yes, I do think that yours is an ideology; when you view ideologies themselves as being diametrically opposed to hypothesis-driven thought, I have no problem classifying that as scientism. You can argue that my position -- my ability to even think like this -- is one of privilege, and if I was hungry, I'd think much differently. I guess I don't really care. Ideas compete in society. I don't think that anyone should go hungry. But I also don't think that nobody ever will.

And finally (though I doubt anyone but name is still reading this), I'd caution people to view anti-"organic" rhetoric just as skeptically as they view pro-"organic" rhetoric. A lot of organic talk comes from companies who stand to make a lot of money appealing to peoples' hearts and minds. The same amount of anti-organic talk comes from companies who stand to make a lot of money appealing to peoples' wallets and their sensibilities. For the most part, people who attempt to shop sustainably are trying to help. They may be deluded into thinking that they're making a bigger difference than they are, but this isn't a reason to distrust their actions. We shouln't be trying to shit on these people. We should be trying to do them one better. Corporations want nothing more than for consumers to try and take positive action by... fighting with other consumers.

Eating "organic" food is a privilege only because more people don't demand it. If the entire human population started demanding Lexuses -- really DEMANDING them -- we'd all get them. We would. Who's stopping us? God? We'd obviously have to shift our priorities and the ways in which we live a little, but if we really decided that every man and woman had the right to a Lexus, we'd all up and make them for ourselves. We create societies and economies. They are not created for us. They do not create themselves. Attitudes which imply that they do are perhaps the industrial revolution's most formidable and dangerous offspring.
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:37 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
ecapataz



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 1960
Location: Bonn, Germany
 Reply with quote  

For anyone who would like to improve their diet I would suggest following this.

If you don't know your blood type, you can use this product from Amazon and do it yourself.
http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Type-Kit-Eldoncard-micropipette/dp/B000FSOCR4


Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:17 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
 Reply with quote  

I've read very, very little of this thread. However, what I've skimmed seems like this is a very aptly timed article:

http://www.cookingissues.com/2011/06/17/raw-deal/

This is only about a third of the article, but it contains the payoff:


Quote:

Raw Veganism, My Take:

Adherents of raw vegan-ism believe that food that hasn’t been cooked and is minimally processed contains active enzymes that are vital to our health and well-being. Typically, cooked food is seen as a form of poison to be avoided. Typical claimed benefits of this diet are an increase in energy, facility of weight loss, and the appearance of a healthy glow. Here are some specific claims, my responses, and some gripes:

Enzymes and the 118 F (or 106F, or whatever) rule: Almost all raw literature sites a temperature in this range as one at which enzymes are broken down. This notion is simply not true. Some enzymes are denatured at those temperatures but many are not. Even enzymes that will denature at 118 F typically take a while to do so. Take beer as an example. To make beer you need malted barley –barley that has started to sprout, activating the enzymes (alpha and beta amylases), that break starches into sugars. Malted barley is invariably kiln dried well above 118F to develop flavor and preserve its enzymes. When it comes time to actually use those enzymes to make sugar, in a process called mashing, the temperature is usually between 140 and 158 degrees F. Down at 118 F they just aren’t active enough.

It is a good idea to eat all sorts of active enzymes: First, your body makes all of its own enzymes. Secondly, even if you lacked enzymes, they, like all proteins, need to be broken down into short polypeptides to be absorbed through your small intestine.You can’t increase the enzyme count in your cells by eating enzymes because they aren’t absorbed into your bloodstream. All the influence an eaten enzyme can have, therefore, happens in your mouth, stomach, and intestines. Some eaten enzymes are destroyed by the acid in your stomach and the native protease enzymes in your stomach and small intestine. Those that make it through might have some beneficial effect, but I haven’t seen any (real) studies that show why. Your intestines are teeming with living bacteria that produce loads and loads of enzymes that help break things down in your gut. The way I see it, obsessing over the few extra enzymes you get from raw food is like dumping water in the ocean to raise the tide.

Raw food is better, and everyone would eat that way if they knew enough or had enough willpower: I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t feel raw food is healthier in any way to cooked food. I think you should eat what tastes good and is well prepared in moderate quantities. Eating 3 pints of fresh blueberries because it is all you can find at the corner fruit stand that looks remotely appealing and you can’t sate your hunger ain’t healthier than having a piece of delicious baguette. Even if eating raw was not an imposition I would not do it. I don’t see a valid health advantage, plus I am guided solely by taste.

Raw food helps you lose weight: I feel this is true. You don’t digest raw food well. I don’t know how to put it politely. I’ll just say my body didn’t alter the raw food I ate very much; plus it made me an intestinal transit-time race car driver.

Raw food gives you energy: Not in my experience. My energy took a steep nose dive during my week of raw food. Even though I am 40 and non-athletic with two small kids, I am a pretty high energy guy. Many people think I take meth-amphetamines because I get so wound up. Raw food left me feeling like I had lead in my legs all the time. I was told by a raw food friend that I have to do the diet longer than a week to see the benefits. I suspect that after a couple of weeks your body goes into a starvation euphoria where you think you have a lot of energy.

Raw Food is more Natural: Not so fast. Most raw food recipes are highly processed, using dehydrators, high speed blenders, and expensive juicers. That’s not a negative thing, but it isn’t “natural” either. Furthermore, the raw diet isn’t natural for anyone that doesn’t live in a tropical or semi-tropical climate where good things that can be eaten raw grow year round. The raw diet, as it is now practiced, is elitist. It requires many expensive or difficult to source ingredients that usually can’t be sourced locally year round by most people. Elitist diets aren’t bad, but they aren’t “more natural” than normal diets. How can they be natural if they rely on modern transportation and farming techniques to make them possible? As an aside, prepared raw food is preposterously expensive. Almost everything I bought cost eight bucks. A tube of cashew “cheese?” Eight bucks. A tiny bag of raw chips? Eight bucks. Miniature raw chocolate bar? Eight bucks. And so on.

These 16 ounces juices cost more than 8 bucks. I'm not saying that the company is gouging. I'm sure their costs are high. I'm just saying raw food is expensive.

The Raw Glow: I am loath to put any credence into this claim but I will relate this incident 5 days into my raw diet. I am a glow-in-the-dark translucently white guy who prefers the troglodyte life and avoids the sun like the plague it is. I was walking through the farmers market perusing the raw-food possibilities when a woman handed me a flier for a white water rafting company saying, “take this, you look out-doorsy.” Holy crap. The raw-food glow.
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:57 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
IAmNiki



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: North Smithfield, RI
 Reply with quote  


Quote:

Eating "organic" food is a privilege only because more people don't demand it. If the entire human population started demanding Lexuses -- really DEMANDING them -- we'd all get them. We would. Who's stopping us? God? We'd obviously have to shift our priorities and the ways in which we live a little, but if we really decided that every man and woman had the right to a Lexus, we'd all up and make them for ourselves. We create societies and economies. They are not created for us. They do not create themselves. Attitudes which imply that they do are perhaps the industrial revolution's most formidable and dangerous offspring.


Out of curiosity — and I could be wrong on this — but wouldn't the actual processes that make food 'organic' also make it more expensive even with a demand? For example with beef cows, it would cost the farmers more land and more expensive, quality feed to raise their cows as free-range, without conditions requiring them to be full of antibiotics. Or with fruits and vegetables, as it would apply to those food groups too. Without the large scale operations where quality is sacrificed to make more product, not high quality product necessarily, I would think these farms would still need to charge higher prices, as well as fund more workers and other preventative measures. I don't know, though. I'm sure a lot of the elevated price IS from the fact that it's a novelty for most people, but part of my concern is that sustainable farmers wouldn't be able to meet the demands of the general population given the fact that they can't produce as much.
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:08 pm
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 2216
Location: Las Vegas
 Reply with quote  

I worry that focusing on the cost and amount of resources it takes to get organic vs. non organic at this point in time puts us in the same place as the energy debate.

Every oil lobby and republican makes the same point name does about oil vs alternative energy. Right now it costs too much to use purely alternative energy. And alternative energies have their problems too. If we outlawed oil, the world would come to a stand still and chaos would ensue. The infrastructure for alternative energy is not in place yet.

But I don't think that oil being more cost effective (even though there are other future costs, just like industrialized farming) is a reason to trivialize the work of people that are trying to make the world less dependent on oil. We have to start somewhere, no?
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:45 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Finn



Joined: 05 Jan 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Boston, MA
 Reply with quote  

IAmNiki wrote:
Out of curiosity — and I could be wrong on this — but wouldn't the actual processes that make food 'organic' also make it more expensive even with a demand? For example with beef cows, it would cost the farmers more land and more expensive, quality feed to raise their cows as free-range, without conditions requiring them to be full of antibiotics. Or with fruits and vegetables, as it would apply to those food groups too. Without the large scale operations where quality is sacrificed to make more product, not high quality product necessarily, I would think these farms would still need to charge higher prices, as well as fund more workers and other preventative measures. I don't know, though. I'm sure a lot of the elevated price IS from the fact that it's a novelty for most people, but part of my concern is that sustainable farmers wouldn't be able to meet the demands of the general population given the fact that they can't produce as much.


Your concerns are echoed by a lot of people on both sides of the fence. There is simply no clear answer to this question. What's extremely important to keep in mind, though, is that we're not feeding the world as it is. We don't know that agribusiness can feed the world. This isn't a question of what we know works versus what we know doesn't; it's a question of looking at the world around us, deciding what's working and what isn't, and picking the best course of action for ourselves. It's very clear that many aspects of the current food system aren't working.

In actuality, it's quite clear that many aspects of the American food system cannot feed the world, because they are petroleum-intensive. If we export these models to the developing world, we are setting them up for devastating failure. Fuel prices will continue to rise; it'd be very, very bad to force developing nations into vital systems which they cannot afford. This has happened numerous times in the financial world. It's ugly and immoral and absolutely cannot be how the future is build.

People often see that first-world consumers have access to cheap food -- and that many third world people have some access to the cheapest of that food -- and assume that the current system works. We still have hunger; we also have rapidly growing epidemics of obesity and Type II diabetes. It's also important to remember that "big business" crops, meat, and dairy farmed in the United States are massively subsidized. By some estimates, the total figure is in the neighborhood of $200 billion annually. There's nothing preventing these subsidies from going toward sustainable farms but political lobbying power. If that money was spent on sustainable/organic/whatever food, you'd see prices come way, way down. If the money wasn't spent at all, you'd see current food prices go way, way up. This is already happening as fuel prices rise.

More workers will be required, yes, but job creation is a good thing, not a bad thing.

And "sustainability" is not inherently anti-business. There is little reason to think that sustainable operations cannot achieve economies of scale, or cannot learn lessons in efficiency from current agribusiness operations. People tend to think that sustainable food means everyone has a muddy backyard garden and a flock of chickens. It doesn't. It's technologically friendly. It's just a different type of technology, and a different model for resource use.

--

I think its prudent to note that, in my opinion, "sustainability" and GMOs are not mutually exclusive. It's not clear that the two can't be part of the same future. GMOs are not a sustainability issue; they are a moral issue, and ethical issue, and a scientific issue. There are many clear danger to consider, but there is also clear benefit, and as many rightly point out, we have been genetically modifying plants and animals for millennia. Within reason, I see little reason why we cannot achieve a sustainable future with GMOs. We don't have a choice, anyways.[/i]
Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:14 pm
 View user's profile Send private message

Post new topic Reply to topic
Jump to:  
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
All times are GMT - 6 Hours.
The time now is Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:59 pm
  Display posts from previous:      


Powered by phpBB: © 2001 phpBB Group
Template created by The Fathom
Based on template of Nick Mahon