Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity

submitted by Gabrielle Price

The following slideshow presentation is available for download as a Powerpoint and PDF here, thanks to The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.  From the site: Some permies may wish to download the slideshow files to use, or modify to use, for “It’s time to wake up” type presentations in your local schools and community halls, etc.
Food is the new oil.  Land is the new gold.
Full Planet, Empty Plates Slideshow Presentation from Earth Policy Institute

The world food situation is deteriorating.  Grain stocks have dropped to a dangerously low level.  The World Food Price Index has doubled in a decade.  The ranks of the hungry are expanding.  Political unrest is spreading.
On the demand side of the food equation, there will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night.  And some 3 billion increasingly affluent people are moving up the food chain, consuming grain-intensive livestock and poultry products.
At the same time, water shortages and heat waves are making it more difficult for farmers to keep pace with demand.  As grain-exporting countries ban exports to keep their food prices down, importing countries are panicking.  In response, they are buying large tracts of land in other countries to grow food for themselves.  The land rush is on.
Could food become the weak link for us as it was for so many earlier civilizations?  This slideshow presentation, based on Lester Brown’s latest book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, explains why world food supplies are tightening and tells what we need to do about it.
The slides are designed to be shared, so feel free to pass along the link to others who might be interested.  Use the slideshow to anchor a lesson in the classroom or to spread the word within your community on why and how we need to mobilize to fix our food system.  You are welcome to modify it to suit your needs.  We ask only that you appropriately credit Earth Policy Institute and the photographers, notably Yann Arthus-Bertrand, eminent French photographer and friend of EPI, whose works appear within.

Blue Moons, Time Outs and Ma’s Tough Love

Originally posted on a former blog called Zen and the Art of Radical Detachment on September 5, 2012; from El Paso, Texas after WOOF’ing in New Mexico. ~ G

The shifting energies of the blue moons [two in a row] are usually seen as rare events — the next month to witness this phenomenon isn’t until July of 2015.  It is difficult to imagine what the moon will witness us going through then as it is to imagine where it will see humanity two months from now.

Here in El Paso, working with an executive producer who reports on Occupy events around the country, I am lucky to experience how the culture is shifting — which still feels to most to be underground, but it is exciting to witness it bubbling up and creating conversations that have been long overdue.

Are they too late?  I can’t say that with certainty and I don’t think anyone can.  If there is one thing I have learned about change — is that it is the only constant — and it comes with a lot more chaos than structure.  I’m finding [again] it is best to embrace my understanding of the Tao and simply go with the flow and offer my assistance where I’m able while witnessing history unfold.

My time in New Mexico taught me many things about our notions of change, especially when it comes to the concept of time — a man-created structure.  Clever, yes — but applying this structure to nature’s rhythms is counter-intuitive.  I learned this from the goats, chickens and ducks, whose days begin with the sun and follow it’s natural progression throughout the day, all season long.  They are the timekeepers.  That alone is a lesson in respect for nature — then when you realize how far removed most people are to this knowing, to never witness this most ancient arrangement nature has with the sun and moon, it makes you sad for them.

It also makes you compassionate toward anyone who is disconnected from it.  I think this rhythm is the heart of humanity when it comes right down to it.

We’ve always been meant to live in harmony with the song of the land.  But we have been hearing the screeching, sour notes of industry so long that many have forgotten the song.  Indigenous peoples still sing it and you can hear it in your heart if you are still enough to listen.

Empire is like having to live with an abusive father [or Uncle Samsara], all the while longing to be with mother.  Knowing that when we care for her, she reciprocates.  She provides and nurtures us back to health when we are ill and she is always there — we, however, will not be.  And it has always been this way.

Man continues to rage and break chains against the knowledge of his own death without realizing it is part of life — part of the ancient arrangement with nature.  Without her, history would not exist — the stories, the struggles, the love, the joy — we would not exist.  The human experience from the first cave drawings to the Mars Rover are all owed to the fact that we existed on one living planet in the vastness of the universe — one we will no longer be able to explore because we have squandered the resources to do so.  In a drunken petroleum rush for the ‘look what I can do’ search for ‘human excellence’ — she has been sending us a message that we are not excellent — no matter how much greenwashing, back patting and chatter about ‘exceptionalism’ we hear trumpeted in those sour notes.  The message is becoming ever clearer that we are in for some tough love.  As evidenced by the record heat and drought this summer.

Personally, I am not upset by her message.  I understand it because of my connection to the earth and because I understand science — which is her language. [Don’t confuse science with technology.]  Science is the language of truth — and men have butchered it with religion, politics and commerce since time immemorial.  Mother nature is about to sit us all down in the corner for an epic ‘time out’ — and we’re going to have a very long time grounded from our toys to think about what we’ve done.

When?  Again, certainty isn’t a term I use often — like guarantee.  But if current history is any indicator of future behavior, we’re going to continue to behave like brats, hurt people, break stuff, take stuff that doesn’t belong to us and rage a bit longer.  Like the ‘terrible twos’, Western civilization is throwing its final embarrassing tantrum before mom puts us in that corner for the last time.  Those who listen and heed her message are preparing.  Some are preparing better than others. It’s not a contest.  All you can do about change is get ready for it the best way you know how, with what you have available and go with it.

Unfortunately, the ‘best way’ in this country looks a lot like violent revolution.  Fighting to keep a broken system that is teetering on the verge of collapse seems ill-advised rather than an educated, compassionate look at the reality of global collapse which will impact everyone on the planet.  I think even Mr. Spock would agree that was logical but I think we lack more than the political will — we lack the ‘supposed’ adults to have that conversation.  Which is why I think it is important to gather the wise ones, spiritual leaders and healers to the table now.

As Chief Oren Lyons stated in his eloquent speech to the UN, the four words we all must pay heed to now more than ever, implement individually as well as bring to our communities: Value Change for Survival.  It is simple, really.  Only our industrial, state-structured brains complicate what is not complicated.

It’s the bottom line of bottom lines.  What do you value?  Are you, yourself willing to change for your own survival?  The survival of your species?  If we don’t break this denial and make these changes, will she allow us to stay?  If we allow this system we’re addicted to continue unabated, I’m not certain she will.

What is certain?  The sun will continue to shine and every moonrise will play on our mother’s face whether we are here to cast shadows upon her or not.  I am certain she owes us nothing.  I am certain we owe her everything we are.  I am certain she will collect.  She always has. . .if ancient history is any indicator.

Michael C. Ruppert on Occupy, Peak Oil, Environment and The Shift

submitted by Gabrielle Price

12/17/11 – Occupy Fear and Loathing Media Tour:

The Refreshment Center’s Gabrielle Price interviews Michael C. Ruppert at his home in Sebastopol, California.  We talk about Occupy and how the collapse of industrial civilization is coinciding with the most dynamic protest movement since the 60’s.  Mike touches upon geopolitics, energy depletion and environmental issues that humanity faces and the spiritual awakening that is taking place globally.  He also shares his experience of the Occupy camps, the women of Occupy and the many veterans who support the movement. [We also verify that no animals were harmed during the making of this film…].

For more information about Michael Ruppert and Collapsenet, please visit http://www.collapsenet.com and make a connection in the Lighthouse Directory.  You can also tune in every Sunday night to hear Mike’s radio show, The Lifeboat Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Disaster Capitalism Isn’t Racist ~ It Hates Everybody

The current capitalist mindset is that many want to believe that ‘business as usual’ is a good thing, growth without regulation is a good thing – but at what moral cost?  Not just outwardly but our own moral code.
We are all learning that a lot of rich people are unethical – but the dots not getting connected in this day of ‘free market/disaster capitalism’ is that people become rich by BEING unethical.  This system makes more by destroying, robbing, defrauding and marginalizing everyone. Me, you, your wife, husband, daughter, son…and it will be far, far worse for their kids if we ignore it. No matter what color you are.
There is no honor to be salvaged from this system.  Americans need to break ties in this co-dependent relationship with an abuser.  And stop defending it and apologizing for it because it DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.  I know it comes back and says nice things but that’s what abusers do – lulling you into a false sense of security before it snatches your pension, your healthcare, or takes your house.  No matter what color you are.
And by defending the abuser, it has made a society not just financially but morally bankrupt.  Ready to sell our own souls, sell out our own neighbors, wives/mothers/sisters, our children to be what?  Part of the 1%?  Part of a cacophony of paid parrots?  What are we, trained monkeys pulling levers for an ‘atta boy’ moment of fleeting bottom-feeding jocularity?  Or are we really as delusional as Steinbeck described – a country of ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ – no matter what color we are?
What happened to standing tall and proud of being from this country?  I’ll tell you what happened – our backs are hunched over trying to prop up a free market dead corpse with a flag in its hand.  It’s not one man’s fault.  It is the entire system – the entire two-party corporate  Frankenstein that we’ve created has run loose through our country, our media, our workplace, our environment, our homes – I have seen people who have been neighbors for decades that can barely talk to each other today.  Even people of the same color.
I personally think that many good people, both religious and secular are embarrassed by the Uncle Sam monster – the giant, lumbering, senile, oil addict that we no longer invite to parties or conversation – we pity it because we want it to stop stealing and molesting and abusing – we still love it because of what it once represented in us.  Now a shell of it’s former self, it is having a nervous breakdown – it’s time to move forward and quit encouraging the pity party.
People make a rule in some cases to refrain from speaking about politics and religion altogether before gathering – just to avoid the ugliness of discourse that seems to be rehashed every week of perpetual campaigning.  Aren’t we sick of it?  Aren’t we better than those political poo-flinging, rich dolts who have their speeches written FOR them?  The people who gather with this rule in place are able to enjoy themselves – but the system doesn’t want us to behave civilly with one another.  It prefers we abuse each other the way it abuses us.  No matter what color we are.
NOW they have us arguing with each other about basic things that we all should have learned in kindergarten!  Media asking us to believe that the law doesn’t work for all Americans – only white ones?  I mean, C’MON!  An American is an American.  Soldiers of all colors, creeds and denominations fight for ALL OF US.  No matter what color, creed or denomination YOU are, they take an oath to defend YOUR constitutional rights – not to defend politicians and media who would demean any soldier of color [and sex, I might add], so why ARE YOU participating in such UnAmerican hooey?!
If you say you support our troops – does that mean only some of them?  Only black soldiers or white soldiers?  Does that mean you only think that some parts of the Constitution apply or are worth dying for?  I can’t imagine any soldier taking a half-assed oath like that when it means possible loss of life, not just the liberty it affords us ALL to enjoy.  The only reason media spews the poison it spews is because they do it from on high, from a place of moneyed safety.  The owners of this system laugh while they watch us scramble and pick each other apart like pawns in some sick Roman game.  Mainstream media has offended and dishonored the place that was given to them by the Constitution.  They are paid poo flinging monkeys, just like politicians.  NO MATTER WHAT COLOR THEY ARE.
Why would you spew their garbage?  You aren’t paid to do the bidding of the 1%, are you?
So I ask, what if Zimmerman had shot a different man in a hoodie – a black soldier home from leave?  Do you still think he would have ‘stood down’ when the cops told him ‘not to pursue’?  No, because it is the hoodie that would have kept his identity hidden from view – it could have been anyone under that hoodie.  Zimmerman knew he was black…what other reason was given by him to pursue?
So, would we be talking about whether an unarmed soldier had problems in school, or if he looked like Michael Jackson compared to a different profile pic he didn’t like maybe?  We’ve all taken bad ID pics – a few of mine don’t look a damn thing like me.  
I saw the video of Zimmerman being brought in.  He claimed his nose was broken.  He lied.
Ask anyone who has had their nose broken or has seen one.  His shirt would have been soaked with blood and he would have been taken to a hospital.
I mean, really, if you want to nitpick about non-issues and avoid the larger picture – that an UNARMED YOUNG AMERICAN DIED – and think those non-issues have bearing on any actual critical investigation – you’re either A) a fucking racist or B) you are brainwashed by watching racist propaganda.
Here’s the kicker – no one can tell those things apart.  
We’re better than this system – we are NOT the system.  We are not robots or borgs, so please stop behaving like you don’t have a bit of sense to call your own – because you DO. 
I used to think the worst curse word in the English language was cunt.  Right now, it pains me to think that word is too good for Americans – we lack the depth and the warmth that word implies.  I no longer have pity for the The Uncle Sam monster or his old, pruned-faced, Jim Crow cheerleaders that should have retired after the cold war ended.
Yes.  The cold war is over.  Uncle Sam is still addicted to that, too.  If you get between him and the last of the oil that is running out, question his actions or exercise your right to free assembly – he’ll bully you and call you a terrorist.  He’s a dangerous, senile junkie who has been strung out by the 1%. He might even throw you in jail or shoot you if you piss him off.  I don’t know if he can be rehabilitated…but I do know that if Americans don’t get their collective shit together, he will take us all off a cliff with him.  No matter what color we are.
Disaster capitalism is an equal opportunity abuser.