Monday, February 20, 2012

Energy Security Or Food Security, A Choice?

Here is an interesting item from The National, a daily newspaper from Abu Dhabi. 

The Arab states are becoming concerned about food security, since the region imports more than 50% of their food needs. Some of their poorer countries import even higher amounts. While the Gulf states can afford to pay the cost of importation, the others cannot.

America has just begun to really worry about oil security and how we would cope should supplies be really cut off. Could we live within the limitations of what we drill and pump? Can we be energy independent? Some think that we can, but it would be a tremendous change for us all.  And it would include food security too.

Food security exists when a nation, state or region can feed itself with local agriculture and not need the imports of the global market. Food insecurity will begin, for many of us, when the price of oil reaches such a point that transporting food cost more than raising it. For many in America that means reverting to the seasonal occurrences of fresh fruits and many vegetables. Many of our large agri-businesses will have to decentralize and maybe depend on local farmers a little more. The distance between the farm and the table will have to become shorter.

Oil and energy security have become reason for war. Our leaders don't come right out and say so, but we all realize it anyway. We fabricate alternate stated reasons but we don't involve ourselves too much if there is no oil in the picture. How long will it be until our (or somebody else's ) food security is the real reason that we are fighting? Will we fight for fresh fruit shipped in from Argentina or Chile? How about fish from off the coast of Russia? Will we defend our lobsters in the Grand Banks?

I believe that most of us civilized folks will say that food should not be used as a weapon in an economic battle and great famines are rare in this country, but if an oil starved/food rich America can fight for oil then an oil rich/food starved Arab region can fight for food.

Situations are bleak in multiple parts of Africa and portions of Australia are suffering drought conditions as well. Could we be closer to the brink than we realize? Should we plan for better food security as well as energy security? 

My answer is yes but what do you say?

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