Hat tip to O’Reilly Radar for leading me to this video of Michael Pollan speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit last month. Pollan tells it like it is – that agriculture is the key to tackling climate change and many other modern ills.
Food is the shadow problem if they [the politicians] hope to deal with energy independence, climate change and healthcare because as soon as you start working on these issues, and attempt to get anywhere, to reduce our oil consumption, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to curb healthcare costs, you discover that food is the key to doing that. And that food is the shadow problem, the way we are feeding ourselves, so you’re going to need to deal with it.
Basically if the problem is that we’re eating oil, we need to switch, and put the food system back on a diet of contemporary sunshine. This is plausible – remember, every calorie of food you have ever eaten is ultimately the product of photosynthesis. The original solar technology.
Only photosynthesis can take the energy of the sun and turn it into usable carbohydrates, usable energy for us. The challenge is reorganising the system.
Meanwhile, our government seeks to remove agriculture (food) from every consideration of climate change, despite it’s contribution to about 30% of global, anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
Even in the House today, the Prime Minister kept insisting that no-one would be affected by the government’s flip-flop delays on the ETS, despite several members including Jeanette pointing out that forestry is already in the ETS, has already started and that foresters will be applying for credits in less than three weeks. He clearly has no idea what he is talking about, hence the four different versions of government ETS policy that we currently have on the table.
But I am digressing from the main thrust of the post, which is that food (and it’s production) is probably the most important lynch pin issue any government faces. It affects all aspects of our economy.