2008/11/15

Food for Thought

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) created its own YouTube page last month. Tip of the hat to Martin for this new video about food security, safety and related issues.

Japan imports 60% of the food calories it consumes. A statistic which does not bode well for the future. MAFF has put a lot of facts into a small package with this video. No matter where you live, I think it is good food for thought.

"Ensuring the Future of Food" Japanese with English subtitles 4 min 20 sec

6 comments:

Olivia said...

Fantastic visuals!

Good that Japan is seeking to protect its food production and consumption.

It's true, the demand for biofuels in the face of scarcity of fossil fuels AND greater demand to feed growing populations, will put great pressure on food crops.

Time for the whole world to get creative...

Olivia said...

P.S. though I don't believe there really is a scarcity of oil, just more obstacles to the drilling owing to possible environmental damage in the areas where it is now to be found, as well as the need for more expensive creative retrieval techniques in the wells where oil remains but the traditional affordable and relatively low impact drilling methods can't reach the remaining oil.)

Pandabonium said...

Olivia- yes, we have a problem.... a finite planet which can sustain about 2 billion people indefinitely, but a population of 6+ billion and growing. We are borrowing from future generations to make ends meet. Time for the whole world to get less pro-creative!

Olivia II - I partly agree. A couple of centuries ago there was about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the rocks of earth's mantle. We've used about half. Much of it will never be extracted (due not to environmental concerns, but technical ones). The problem is not the amount of oil left so much as how quickly it can be got to.

We use about 3% more each year, while production peaked (globally) about 3 years ago and will decline now at about 5% per year. That's a lot of energy to find (3%+5%) each and every year.

When we first started using oil in quantity - over a century ago, we could get 100 barrels of oil out for every 1 barrel used as energy. Now we're below 10 barrels for every 1 we expend to get it. And we are using about 5 barrels for every 1 new barrel we find, so there isn't a saving amount to find out there. When the energy cost reaches 1 for 1 there will be no point in pumping it anymore.

But long before that, in fact very soon, we will not be able to produce enough to meet demand, and sustainable alternatives will take too long to implement to prevent some, um, "turbulence" in the years ahead. Fasten your seat belt.

For an excellent overview of the situation, I recommend a visit to this url on "The Oil Drum"

Martin J Frid said...

Fasten your seatbelt, buckle up, and use suspenders too (such as learning how to grow some food in your back yard).

One thing I worry about is that we may not run out of things to eat, but we will find real food increasingly scarce. In other words, processed, factory-made stuff to stuff ourselves with could continue to be abundant, but the real thing will not be so easy to find at reasonable prices...

"Protecting" also should mean "developing" food traditions, but not loosing the genuine spirit!

Pandabonium said...

Martin - I agree and to some degree that is already occurring in industrialized nations - look at what is in fast food. Plus a large number of people in the US eat mostly foods that are processed.

By the way, the new U.S. intelligence report "Global Trends 2025" issued by the National Intelligence Council includes warnings tied to climate change, including water and food shortages worldwide.

Happysurfer said...

Happy Thanksgiving, PandaB, Everyone.