The Coming Climate Famine Anarchy

Organic permaculture is both the past and the future of food

Organic Permaculture

Together as a society we choose to embrace an agro-ecology ethic that governs our relationship with our food and the natural world or we face the coming climate anarchy including mass famine, needless societal and economic collapse, horrendous suffering and depredation, and then death. EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, de-toxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable (and more tasty, nutritious, and healthy as well). Critically this will require reducing human populations and greater equity.

“The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.” – Dr. Glen Barry

Earth Meanders by Dr. Glen Barry
December 27, 2017

The global environment is collapsing and dying. For too long we have lived our lives as if nature doesn’t matter and have failed to embrace an ecology ethic. We have treated water, air, land, and oceans as resources to be plundered and as waste dumps. Nothing grows forever – certainly not economies on the back of finite ecological systems – and mass psychosis pretending infinite growth is possible is a death wish.

Such ecological imprudence is now catching up with us, threatening our very daily bread.

Climate change is having profound impacts upon agricultural systems including a lack of regular seasonality. That is, the boundaries between cold and warm, and dry and wet, periods have become highly variable. In much of the world this makes it difficult to know when to grow your food. Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is becoming extremely problematic and this aseasonality is decreasing yields. This climate weirding is the direct result of our haphazard changing of atmospheric chemistry.

Climate change is making it more difficult to grow food the way we have been. Huge swathes of farmland are faced by droughts and floods. Temperate region’s lack of cold weather and snow has meant an increase in agricultural pests. Similarly, factory animal agriculture and fisheries are being hammered from disease, parasites, and decreased feed stocks brought on by abrupt climate change.

Shifting seasonality, and at times even a lack of seasonality, simply exacerbate problems associated with industrial farming. Modern agriculture consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels which cause both warming and are finite. Factory animal farming’s prodigious amounts of fecal waste become even more toxic in the heat. Increasingly toxic GMO Frankenseeds are being peddled in conjunction with a soup of dangerous chemicals as a means to keep production high.

Our increased dependence upon limited genotypes mean that one crop or animal disease could swiftly kill vast amounts of agricultural products ushering in massive price increases and widespread hunger. Soils are eroding and becoming less fertile due to increased industrial intensification.

Any increase in plant growth from increased temperatures and/or carbon dioxide is quickly eliminated as another limiting factor such as water and nutrient availability goes unmet. In many cases rising temperatures simply kill plants. And the food that is grown is often stressed and thus contains fewer nutrients. The end result of climate stressed industrial agriculture is low quality junk foods that are killing our bodies and our planet. Much of the over-developed world is addicted to the sugar and additives found in this industrially produced crap.

As the global food supply becomes more precarious and subject to unexpected extreme weather events, the global population continues to soar, and has now reached approximately 7.5 billion people.

Already nearly one billion people experience chronic hunger, sapping their soul and energy, and providing limited opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life. Billions of emerging consumers now view steaks and hamburgers as their birthright, with all the attendant medical and ecological costs. In much of the world the cost of food is by far the greatest expenditure, and quality food is increasingly expensive in over-developed nations as well.

The world’s agricultural system is weak and vulnerable to major disruption that will soon result in an international famine of the sort that already ravages numerous nations such as Haiti and Somalia. Abrupt climate change may well be the final straw that ushers in global mass hunger and collapse into the bad sort of anarchy.

It is difficult to communicate the horrors that await us if the globe faces widespread failure of food systems. Suffice it to say that post-modern collapse will utterly strip cosmopolitan consumers of technological vestiges of comfort including variety of high-quality and nutritious food. Rural areas will face a shortage of open-pollinating seed due to seed monopolies, and lack of traditional farming know how. Everyday life will be a struggle to avoid murder, find food, and otherwise meet basic needs. Sadly this is already the reality for a billion people who live in abject poverty, and soon it will be all our fates if we don’t change.

It is increasingly probable that climate change will precipitate a massive crop failure on a global scale. Perhaps America’s wheat and corn crops fail. Or globally a drought persists for years that wrecks the majority of Earth’s foodstocks. Or a super pathogen takes out genetically modified corn. One can expect in our lifetime for periods where the supermarkets are mostly empty and each of us left to persist from what we can raise, exchange, or gather locally.

Imagine the coming horror of starvation in the heartland as formerly petite bourgeoisie experience the depredations of the street people they once ignored.

The solutions are difficult yet known. We must re-localize our agriculture systems. More of our food must be grown in our own bioregion, and exchanged and consumed locally. Much more of our population is going to have to find employment in growing food. Every human being will be called upon to grow an increasing percentage of their own food, and bartering and otherwise exchanging their surplus with those nearby.

The use of fossil fuels must be eliminated from the global food chain. Factory animal feedlots must be eliminated and whatever meat is produced come from time-tested small scale animal husbandry practices (or when desired eliminated).

Monocultures protected with synthetic toxic pesticides and herbicides are literally death traps. We must return to inter-cropping and no-till agriculture that focuses upon maintaining the soil’s structure and fertility. The emphasis must be upon organic food production and permaculture from natural seed stocks, whereby the boundaries between natural ecosystems, tree crops, and food crops are not strictly delineated.

Permaculture is committed to realizing the full potential of righteous land and soil management to benefit the community’s well-being including both high quality food and ecosystems. Increasingly our forest tree crops and traditional garden vegetables will be intermingled, to the extent feasible given a bioregion’s flora, as forests and gardens merge.

In general an agro-ecology ethic requires a profound shift in global consciousness to re-embrace our oneness with nature. Industrial agriculture has viewed natural ecosystems as decadent wastelands that should be destroyed, rather than embracing them as the ecosystem engines that make the biosphere habitable. And which provide the genetic seed stocks and inspiration for constructing semi-natural productive ecosystems.

Continued exponential growth in human populations, particularly as some have so much as many have so little, can only result in global ecological collapse. Human population growth must be limited with urgency through incentives, and educating all girls and boys, including in the use of contraception; or the global environmental system will seek balance far more harshly.

There is no path to food sustainability that does not include reducing military expenditures, a basic income, and more sharing. Fairness is not communism.

In sum, much more work must be done to achieve the balance between natural and semi-natural productive ecosystems necessary to sustain Earth, her humanity, and all creatures. My peer-reviewed science “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” suggests that 2/3 of Earth’s land mass must remain as ecosystems, 2/3 of which must be natural ecosystems (44%), and 1/3 semi-natural permaculture and other productive ecosystems (22%).

Or we face biosphere collapse and the end of being.

The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.

EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, de-toxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. We are in the process of creating Internet resources which will help fulfill this vision. And we could use your help. More soon on these exciting initiatives.

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9 Responses

  1. Johan Streulens says:

    Agreed mostly with this last message spread.. You know..I know.. Reaching who? Europe? North America? What about China,, India, Russia, Africa, South America etc? North Pool? Who CAN having”internet” at the first place to join you? Having 110% reasons to react? Not having one “bite” at all to protest! They have nothing at all to “having” their rights a all! Only ‘rights” for “us” at first..using those who haven’t to “speak” at the first place! They “CAN’T”! “DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS ALL ABOUT”! Only surviving, what ever it cost! “Extreme surviving!”All by all! In reservations, not having a future at all..not being “animals” but only %.. Animals are better of! Only being “statics” to clean for “statistics ” economical! A new I pad every year..Xmas every year.abusing the “world worldwide” for “almost” “free” presences, by slavery, kids.. labor! Killing and destroying cultures for “manufacturing” those “blood, killing” cheap gifts! Ecolinternet? Describe me your end of year: Xmas; New Year..events..Free food spilled, drinks spilled. Gifts given at the most low-costs, made by slavery, kids, abusing sources worldwide! Don’ say:WE DON’T ! Even you wouldn’t , you CAN go around at all! THIS IS TE WORLD TODAY! Knowing myself..I know you! Only having a difference between us: You are a “social” and wanting to be “more” social product on being “economical”.. I’m no one..wanting to be no one..at best..not leaving traces behind me. No Xmas or New year for me for ages! No gifts to give..no to get ..ans still: having friends who respect this! How about you? I’m solitaire..You being a “business”! Depending om a “lot”! “BEING IMPORTANT” See, my point? Being “no one”! Wanting “nothing”..giving away what is “to much”.. to exist for a while? Don’t even care if I couldn’t..

    • Mike Makuye says:

      The social breakdown you’re experiencing (individual isolation, more polarized “resource” use – that is, wealth equaling access to proper nutrition)is characteristic of overdense populations unable to disperse. Experiments have been done in labs over much of the 20th century which support both your experience of distress and niche-seeking, as well as Dr. Barry’s broad overview of the problem.
      We must understand, though, that the distress itself is a motivator.

      While Dr. Barry suggests that anarchic response will occur, those who are familiar with social mammals, including the finely-grading human animal, who assesses extant and imagined social and environmental inputs, will recognize that anarchy will merely be a phase, leading to more totalitarian violent social regimes.

      because we are evolved to reproduce quite early – after 11 to 13 years (and any mortality pressure will bring that down slightly over time, as we have earlier puberty inn some populations and cases), we will continue on, even though being MORE susceptible to autocratic and oligarchic controls (a very good argument for these already being in place can be made, and only relatively slight changes to greater coercive slave-like existences can easily be instituted)

      this earlier reproductionnwill insultate the populationn from diminution. That will leqad to a shorter-lived H sapiens, and it appears that like all other organisms subject to stress and higher mortality, reproduction will possibly increase.

      So the actual outlook is quite bleak.

      However!
      Step back, like a good ecologist for a moment.
      Miccroorganisms have already shown us that they are evolving faster, incubated in the denserr human and domestic animal populations. This will, inn my view, save the earth from the horrific projected increase to 9 or 10 billion. THe easy transport corridors we’ve created will alow virulent disease to travel more swiftly as well.

      I donate and work collecting research geared towardd saving large fauna, islands of relatively intact ecosystems. THere is a critical proximate problem, the present USA administration and legislature, which are both attempting to dismantle protections ofr the flora, fauna, and natural systems remaining.
      While I cannot participate in removing the guilty parties (anything I could do would be useless, and only result in my being vilified and arrested), I wholeheartedly support ONLY wild systems and organisms.
      Another immediate problem is the ending of china’s acceptance and recycling of UK , US, and several other nations’ recysling waste. This may result in either more toxic waste-dumping into soil and hydrologic systems in the “developed” nations. This may precipitate some change, but NOT in the present US sociopolitical climate. So Dr. Barry’s projection has real substance in the toxification portion of his discussion.

      I have been looking into th3e phenomenon of misfolded prion proteins – cellular components flipped into persistent frozen shapes. Many of you kow that proteins are useful because of their facultative shapes. Prion diseases (Mad cow CJD, CWD, being the three most widespread types defined in medical literature. THe peculiar frozen proteins for some reason cause their functional cohorts to flip inito nonfunctional forms, causing cells to necessarily commit suicide to proteect the organism. This apoptosis is the method by which multicellular organisms persist. But the strange combination of misfolded prions affecting the same proetins virally, cause weeks and months of shedding of warped prions, which bind to soil particles, creating infected killing grounds.
      Each organism makes slightly different proteins, and thus CWD does not affect non-ungulates.Yet, because all organisms vary individually inn their protein production, dense and heavy populations vastly inncrease the chance of “species-jumping”, just as they do for more complex viruses and bacteria.
      So, should one prionn disease catchh on well enough, it will very likely spread (by the tie significant numbers of neurons are destroyed, it can be years to decades before an individual becomes dysfunctional enough to die, and in the meantime, has shed incredible numbers of these infectious prions.
      So, the human future WILL NEVER AGAIN become so overdense, SHOULD a prion disease establish itself in our species.
      You have read of anthrax spores surviving Pleistocene permafrost, infecting recent caribou inn tundra areas. This is less likely to drastically correct human overpopulation, but is illustrative of nature’s correction of our invasive overabundance.

      Catastrophe is in the eye of the beholder, and from my viewpoint, the massive concrete freeways, the possible nuclear war devastation, and continuance of the Anthropocene Extinction Event now occurring, are the deadliest problems.

      Again, Species will favor r-selectionn over K-selection, and this is heartbreaking to one who loves the brilliant minds of wolves, elephants, birds, bears, the responsive ungulate species, and all the rrest of the critically endangered megafauna.
      Humans are an omnivorous social primate, whose brains have been selected for fantasy – arising from extreme evaluation of reciprocity and scheming to gain temporary groups violently grasping at social status for reasons related to reproductive opportunity.

      We are a rather ugly thing, shutting down our compassion and mental function when appropriating lethal projectile weapons (there is no cure for this in the USA!). Thus, the world, if a significant proportion of its species can be saved just until evolution takes H sapiens back to a number that will not again disrupt the world’s life, ten all will be well.

      THere are several ways in which habitat carrying capacity for humans can be envisioned. I hope that Dr. Barry will work with this idea, rather than presuming thhat humans should occupy and exploit 1/3 of the land mass.
      For a thumbnail observation, I merely look at te human populatino surve. Before 1500 we see a long somewhat level line somewhere beneathh one billion. I tend to look earlier, as Europe and parts of Asis clearly suffered from regional excessive ecological damage due to humanity. I find it more likely that the steady line somewhere in the five million to 50 million range, possibly defines our actual carrying capacity. A good widespread prion and other disease (analogous to canine parvovirus, and other diseases that emerged in the 20th century, and trend to endemicity in a population) should hold the inventive and violently destructive species to its proper low levels.

      In the meantime, I’ll continue to shovel up to half of my income and most of my working time into protecting the voiceless and vulnerable beautiful minds of earth and waters , hoping that they make it through this coming few decades. (I live where devastationn so disheartening occurred – the ancient redwoods, individuals who lived for two to almost three thousand years, I have seen turned into stumps in a month,, now number only 2 percent or so of what they did less than two human lifetimes ago. I walked among many with a wolf, a creature so brilliant, communicative, and honest that no human could ever compare.

      That species is the hope of the mammalian world, balancing and keeping in motion species and ecosystems. For introduction to the value of apex predators, of which the gray wolf is North America’s, Eurasia’s , prime hopeful example, please see Hairston, Smith, Slobodkin, “Green World Hypothesis” Humans are the antithesis of apex predators, their actions being exactly opposite of what true predators accomplish.

      Your mission, should you gain the courage to accept it, is to assist the great forest remnants and the large (over 20 kilogram and including the largest – perhaps through de-extinction of temperate and subarctic elephants and others we have destroyed) fauna through this storm of excess humanity. A mere half a human lifetime should suffice to see it through.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am a small scale, organic (without the paperwork to prove it – due to unreasonable cost) produce market-gardener. While I recognize a lot of what is said in your note, there are a few realities that should be mentioned.

    First, the idea of combining forests and agriculture is very hard to do in a North American context. The reason is simple – LIGHT. Please name me three vegetables that grow in the shade of a mature forest. Mushrooms and…, and…

    Second, while we are thinking about light, gardening at a northern latitude is difficult – where I live, the quality of light is only suitable for vegetable growth in the time period between the equinoxes. The climate can warm, but sunshine (day length and intensity) will never change. A warmer climate will not provide much of an opportunity to grow more food, and as correctly pointed out – may have a lot of outcomes that will result in less food being grown. As a result, in northern latitudes a local diet in winter will be comprised heavily of ‘storage’ vegetables (potatoes, turnip, squash, carrots, beets) plus what ever might be effectively preserved – which requires far more effort than many people are willing to invest in their food. So a northern local winter diet is quite un-appealing – this is a tough issue to solve.

    Vegetarian-ism is fine, but in a northern context, it is difficult to ignore the role of meat. On my farm, I used to compost residual vegetable matter to build the soil. It takes a lot of effort and skill to do this well. Instead of composting, I now use animals – specifically pigs. They will eat just about anything left over in the garden and produce organic fertilizer in the process. They have a habit of digging, and are the best roto-tiller that you can imagine – without using any fossil fuels. There is a very beneficial role for small scale animal use in the right settings, ignoring this, and mandating a vegetarian diet in all circumstances is foolish.

    In a similar approach, I raise black soldier flies, in self contained rearing houses on the property too. The larvae (fondly called maggots) will eat just about any organic waste as well. I feed them garden residuals plus any waste I can get my hands on from local restaurants (ie table scraps). They are a great alternative to composting – they make organic fertilizer as well, and if you harvest the maggots at just the right point, they are very useful. The maggots can be frozen (humane, chemical free way to kill them), and dried. Dried maggots run through a hammer mill and combined with a bit of appropriate vegetable matter can be pulverized into a very high quality fish food or chicken feed. This allows sustainable production of other appealing animal products. I prefer to eat chicken over maggots , thank you very much haha. Point is, we can use natural processes to our benefit, but some do involve animals (and insects).

    But a garden is not a natural thing. It has plants, but they do not occur the way they might in nature. In a garden, nature is suppressed and wild interactions (such as a rabbit nibbling on the lettuce) is discouraged (the rabbit gets chased off in a hurry). Some bugs are helpful (bees) while others are not (turnip maggot). We support the bugs we like (bee hives), and come up with creative solutions to minimize the bugs we don’t like. This is not natural either. The very plants themselves do not occur in natural settings very often. When was the last time you came across a broccoli growing in the forest – it does not happen. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that even the very best of our practices are ideal – they are not.

    I support the idea of practicing the very best agriculture that is possible, to minimize our impacts – but I’m not fooled into thinking any food production system is going to solve our problems – it won’t. It will only provide a ‘less harm solution’.

    • John Donovan says:

      You sound like someone that has thought this through a bit.

      On the value of animals, we just raise chickens but they produce very fertile plant food (compost) for our hillside garden from mostly kitchen waste and weeds.

      Your point about latitude and available light for growing vegatables is very important with regard to long term climate change.

      Excellent.

    • Kathleen says:

      As a northerner myself I’d like to find out more about your gardening/farming practices. I used to have. Greenhouse but the cost and effort to produce vegetables during winter months doesn’t pay off bc of limited light , as you said. How do you feed your animals in winter? And flies If chaos comes I do wonder how my children and grandchildren can survive.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Kathleen
        I wish I had a great solution for effectively operating a greenhouse in the winter, but sadly I don’t. LED lights exist, which are very energy efficient, but the initial cost can be rather heart-stopping. I operate my greenhouse in the early spring, when the light is good (after March 15), and supplement heat using wood pellets (made from sawdust – which otherwise is a waste product from the production of lumber). I also prefer it to alternatives (aka fossil fuel). I have 45 gallon barrels filled with water under the greenhouse shelves too. They absorb heat during the day when the sun heats the greenhouse, at night they give off heat – this is an old idea using water as thermal mass to moderate temperature fluctuations. It will help with your heating costs – if you can find a very inexpensive supply of barrels.

        My strategy for winter and animals, is to reduce the numbers to bare minimum in fall (a few breeding pairs), then increase again in spring. So feed requirements in winter are minimized. Mature pigs are a big exception – they eat, well, like pigs! haha A great feed crop for pigs through the winter is turnips. They store very well and can be grown in great abundance. But in all honesty, I am reliant on restaurant scraps for the pigs year round though – I would not be able to keep them going with what I produce on my own small operation.

        How to prepare kids… it very much depends on your setting, and I can only speak from where I sit. In my situation, the biggest thing I think I can do is teach self sufficiency. Teaching others how to grow and prepare almost everything we eat. Pickling, canning, preserves, freezing things, how to make bread from scratch – pizza dough, pasta or things like sausages, and how to clean a fish, or a chicken. By the way, some reading this might wonder – so I’ll just say it – I am a very well educated individual (Master’s degree), with a very high paying job. None of this is borne out of necessity, but rather a firm conviction that I should be as capable of being self sufficient as possible. Self-sufficiency skills are increasingly becoming uncommon, but they are well worth passing on.

  3. Deepa says:

    Hello
    i enjoyed your article about climate famine anarchy
    however, one point of yours raised my ire
    educating only girls about birth control is WRONG
    it is the semen of males that get women pregnant
    therefore you must educate both– an excited man rarely listens to women anyway — so both must have an awareness of the potential future of the actions they do today
    as the old saying goes, it takes two to tango
    if men do not accept their responsibility and take charge of their seed, it seems hardly fair to blame the women for the results
    otherwise i am in agreement with you
    thanks!
    deepa

  4. What bothers me more is that this is so obvious yet every politician is acting as if it wasn’t

    • John Donovan says:

      Because old men seeking short term profits at our general expense. I’m an old man too, but I hope I think a little bit about long term sustainability.

      Our culture is a religion that worships mammon (wealth).

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