Environmental Commentary: Troublesome Linkages

While looking at this environmental graphic from my currently out-of-print 1992 FoxSense, I am struck by several observations.  Despite 20 years of efforts to address the troublesome linkages that are loaded in the "costs" wagon, most of the environmental impacts of industrialized agriculture have remained troublesome.

A few things have changed.  The sense of abundance depicted by the heavily burdened "crop production" wagon is tempered now by recent and regular weather-related crop disasters and by decreasing carryover grain stocks (our global food reserve).  Complicating the situation is a human population increase of almost two billion people (since 1992) and the increasing diversion of food crops (like corn) to biofuels. 

The "low commodity prices" issue on the "costs" wagon has changed dramatically, with grain prices more than doubling in the last few years.  Rising food prices affect the world's poor disproportionately more since they spend 50 -70% of their meager earnings on food, while people in wealthier countries typically spend 5-15% of their income on food.

You draw the cartoon for 20 years hence.

Troublesome Linkages from FoxSense

Troublesome Linkages from FoxSense