PAUL HAWKEN (The Ecology of Commerce; Natural Capitalism; Blessed Unrest) has a new research project and a new best-selling book – DRAWDOWN. Based on rigorous scientific and economic analysis and review, it ranks the 80 most impactful solutions with which Hawken is confident we can reverse global warming. Plus it offers 20 additional very promising solutions for which there isn’t yet enough data to rank them.
When gas prices were at or near record highs a few months ago in the US, that got people’s attention. What about food prices? Have you noticed them rising? Are you making different choices in the supermarket? If not, it might be because of two things.
One, in America so much of our food is processed, packaged and marketed, that raw commodity prices make up only a fraction of the price of the food we buy. In other countries, especially the less developed ones, an increase in the price of rice or corn can have a major effect on how much a family can afford to eat. Two, Americans spend only 9% percent of their income on food, while millions around the world spend 50-70%. Millions of households now routinely schedule foodless days each week-days when they will not eat at all. A recent survey by Save the Children shows that 14% of families in Peru now have foodless days. India, 24%. Nigeria, 27%.
In his newest book, FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES, LESTER BROWN writes,
“The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest. This year’s corn crop shortfall will accelerate the transition from the era of abundance and surpluses to an era of chronic scarcity. As food prices climb, the worldwide competition for control of land and water is intensifying. In this new world, access to food is replacing access to oil as an overriding concern of governments. Food is the new oil, land is the new gold. Welcome to the new geopolitics of food.”
Chris Mooney is senior correspondent for The American Prospect magazine, and author of The Republican War on Science; Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming; and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored with Sheril Kirshenbaum, with whom he also writes "The Intersection" blog. You can find the intersection blog at discovermagazine.com. In 2005 Chris was named one of Wired magazine's ten "sexiest geeks."