jueves, agosto 15, 2013

Patzek: Where do you think you're going, humanity?


Where do you think you're going, humanity?


Monsanto's model of agriculture is one of a giant, super-efficient machine that uses nature as an invisible substrate for the carefully engineered plants.  Monsanto researchers are playing God with nature.  Nature of course runs circles around Monsanto's technocrats, who are dripping with hubris.  Bacteria, fungi, viruses, phages, weeds, worms, and insects will inevitably have the last laugh at Monsanto's clumsy attempts to control them while ignoring nature. But when they all dance on Monsanto's cold dark grave, you and I and our children will be the collateral damage.


When we think about machines, most people envision the fossil-fuel-driven motors, cars, and such.  These machines are quite efficient. So when agriculture is thought about as a machine, by extension we endow it with a similar efficiency.  Because of many complex factors, this notion of efficient agriculture ordering nature to give us energy is false. In truth, agriculture is a pitifully inefficient means of converting solar energy, carbon dioxide, inorganic nutrients, and water into biomass. What agriculture lacks in efficiency it makes up by taking over the giant swaths of the formerly most nutritious Earth.   

Hill slope erosion.

Is it possible to switch to a more sustainable agriculture?  Yes.  And that agriculture would have to span much smaller scales and have people, animals, and small infrastructure intermixed with it.  For the time being, as you watch your favorite TV distraction, or focus on the Royal Baby, this life-giving planet of yours is being trashed in front of your eyes wide-shut.

If you want to see what is in store for our children, observe the Middle East and North Africa, the harbingers of things to come for most of us. Also, parts of north and northeast China are becoming hellish polluted deserts, where no one lives too long.

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