Famine… The Most Deadly Horseman in the 21st Century?

After the cavalry of Pestilence (C-19) and War (Ukraine) have appeared I’m starting to wonder if the 3rd member (Famine) is going to make a spectacular appearance in the next few years.

With inflation regularly hitting double figures in some countries, with even Western countries seeing it get close to 10%, former food producing countries seeing output slump for a variety of reasons and a still increasing global population I do wonder if at some nearby stage whether the amount of calories we can grow/hunt/catch will suddenly drop off to well below that needed to feed everybody and only the richest or net food producing countries won’t experience wide spread famine that’ll dwarf the body count of the other 2 ‘It’s the end of the world (this year) horsemen’. (Albeit starving countries are likely to see an increase of disease and conflict).

A few links:

BBC - Soil Erosion and Fertile Earth

It appears that our ability to grow traditional crops on traditional farmland is diminishing.

WWF - Newly ‘converted’ farmland of limited fertility

Therefore there is limited ‘new‘ farmland to be exploited and worked.

Farmland not being Used as Farmland

As we have a power deficit. -You choose, cold or hungry? (Politics of energy generation covered on other threads).

WWF - Overfishing

No increase and probably a medium-longterm decrease in fish.

Add to that increasing climate change and weather events on existing farmland causing yields to drop. Herding more mammals for their meat is going mean they need more feed (calories) and as this won’t be a 100% efficient process will mean wastage.

Are we doomed to a future where even the richest have a basic diet of mushrooms and mealworms?
 
After the cavalry of Pestilence (C-19) and War (Ukraine) have appeared I’m starting to wonder if the 3rd member (Famine) is going to make a spectacular appearance in the next few years.

With inflation regularly hitting double figures in some countries, with even Western countries seeing it get close to 10%, former food producing countries seeing output slump for a variety of reasons and a still increasing global population I do wonder if at some nearby stage whether the amount of calories we can grow/hunt/catch will suddenly drop off to well below that needed to feed everybody and only the richest or net food producing countries won’t experience wide spread famine that’ll dwarf the body count of the other 2 ‘It’s the end of the world (this year) horsemen’. (Albeit starving countries are likely to see an increase of disease and conflict).

A few links:

BBC - Soil Erosion and Fertile Earth

It appears that our ability to grow traditional crops on traditional farmland is diminishing.

WWF - Newly ‘converted’ farmland of limited fertility

Therefore there is limited ‘new‘ farmland to be exploited and worked.

Farmland not being Used as Farmland

As we have a power deficit. -You choose, cold or hungry? (Politics of energy generation covered on other threads).

WWF - Overfishing

No increase and probably a medium-longterm decrease in fish.

Add to that increasing climate change and weather events on existing farmland causing yields to drop. Herding more mammals for their meat is going mean they need more feed (calories) and as this won’t be a 100% efficient process will mean wastage.

Are we doomed to a future where even the richest have a basic diet of mushrooms and mealworms?
If you happen to know a Jehovahs Witness near you they will explain it to you, two words 'Last Days'
 
As there's been at least 5 mass extinctions and over 99% of animals that have ever lived are extinct - I'd say that humans days are numbered, whether AI kills us all, people starve, a nuke war/accident, some super virus, an asteroid impact, solar flare strips our atmosphere, etc. It doesn't really matter how we meet our demise. We all have our own body clock running anyway, so all of us on this forum at present will most likely be dead within the next 50/60 years, whether or not any of the above scenarios will occur. Probably it's best just to live your life as best you can and don't be a twat to people or animals along the way. The only thing that's certain is you will die at some point, the sun will turn into a red dwarf and eventually a super massive black hole will consume all your recycled atoms and spit them back out into the universe to be recycled into something else.
 
Are we doomed to a future where even the richest have a basic diet of mushrooms and mealworms?
Shhhhh. Don't blow the next major gastronomic fad, buy into diversified agriculture and think Microsoft.
 
As there's been at least 5 mass extinctions and over 99% of animals that have ever lived are extinct - I'd say that humans days are numbered, whether AI kills us all, people starve, a nuke war/accident, some super virus, an asteroid impact, solar flare strips our atmosphere, etc. It doesn't really matter how we meet our demise. We all have our own body clock running anyway, so all of us on this forum at present will most likely be dead within the next 50/60 years, whether or not any of the above scenarios will occur. Probably it's best just to live your life as best you can and don't be a twat to people or animals along the way. The only thing that's certain is you will die at some point, the sun will turn into a red dwarf and eventually a super massive black hole will consume all your recycled atoms and spit them back out into the universe to be recycled into something else.

Fceking optomist.
 
I think the sun dying is about 4,500 million years away. I’m thinking more in the next 5-50.

@bakerlite Surely crop rotation / diversification has been done for centuries. Is there a miracle high calorie, soil replenishing, drought and flood resistant combination of plants available?
 
Last edited:

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Everything I've said is true though - whether or not people are happy about it is another matter.

I'm not arguing, mucker. Just taking the p1ss.
Seriously, much food for thought in your post. Especially about the soil. Clarkson on his farming telly prog pointed out that there's less than a 100 harvests left in GB. No one seems to have the answer except chuck more chemicals on, as a stopgap, except it's the chemicals that are causing the problem.
 
Normally you'd say that Mother Nature's way of balancing the population would allow longevity - but human's are too clever for their own good and every time she does something to address the issue, we side step it and perpetuate the misery. We've eradicated the common diseases that would normally send a decent proportion of the sickly and physically weak to an early grave, we prolong others that have age related physical issues or self inflicted harm, 'She' sends along the odd nasty medical bomb and we get on top of those too, AIDS, Ebola, C-19 etc...

We stave off famine by providing aid to areas and continue the absolute misery while they still pump out babies to perpetuate the situation. Then, and it's no wonder why they do it, they migrate to greener lands and in turn those will suffer.

We basically get what we deserve.

I was born in 1969, this was talked about when I was growing up and the world's population has literally doubled from 4Bn to 8Bn in the last 52 years.

What I wonder is when the so called 'dystopian' futures presented in SciFi just get noted as 'tomorrow'.
 
I'm not arguing, mucker. Just taking the p1ss.
Seriously, much food for thought in your post. Especially about the soil. Clarkson on his farming telly prog pointed out that there's less than a 100 harvests left in GB. No one seems to have the answer except chuck more chemicals on, as a stopgap, except it's the chemicals that are causing the problem.
The soil is crap because pesticides have been used for a long time, all the insects that used to kill/eat the plants and die on the land would put loads of good chemicals back into the soil once the plant matter and insects decomposed. Then there's the animals that eat the insects, and they also used to put fecal matter on the land and decompose - which is good for plant life. Now that same land has just been covered with basically poison for the last few decades there's no wonder it's getting crap to grow stuff on.
 
I think the sun dying is about 4,500 million years away. I’m thinking more in the next 5-50.

@bakerlite Surely crop rotation / diversification has been done for centuries. Is there a miracle high calorie, soil replenishing, drought and flood resistant combination of plants available?
The Eden project in Cornwall is looking at this. One of the things I found most interesting when I visited was they are "reverse engineering" some of the grain crops to reproduce some of the Neolithic varieties which were more resistant to flooding or drought depending on where they grew.
The point being that nature over thousands of years had already produced certain crops that would grow in harsh conditions. Humans of course have managed to bugger it all up by modifying these grains to just produce a bigger harvest!
 
As there's been at least 5 mass extinctions and over 99% of animals that have ever lived are extinct - I'd say that humans days are numbered, whether AI kills us all, people starve, a nuke war/accident, some super virus, an asteroid impact, solar flare strips our atmosphere, etc. It doesn't really matter how we meet our demise. We all have our own body clock running anyway, so all of us on this forum at present will most likely be dead within the next 50/60 years, whether or not any of the above scenarios will occur. Probably it's best just to live your life as best you can and don't be a twat to people or animals along the way. The only thing that's certain is you will die at some point, the sun will turn into a red dwarf and eventually a super massive black hole will consume all your recycled atoms and spit them back out into the universe to be recycled into something else.
I thought it was due to go from white dwarf to red giant in 7 billion years time but apart from that no disagreement.
 
I thought it was due to go from white dwarf to red giant in 7 billion years time but apart from that no disagreement.
I think it turns into a red giant then into a black dwarf and then eventually the black hole in the centre of the galaxy consumes it, or we end up merging with the Andromeda galaxy and turn into a new galaxy, but as I'll not be around to see any of that, it doesn't really matter one way or the other. The point is - our days are numbered so just make the most out of the time you have left.
 
I was born in 1969, this was talked about when I was growing up and the world's population has literally doubled from 4Bn to 8Bn in the last 52 years.

The hungry beast of capitalism must be fed.

We rape the Earth for minerals to feed consumerism that in turn feeds capitalism.

The population needs to grow so that we can achieve growth.

Infinite growth on a finite Planet is not a recipe for success.
 
The hungry beast of capitalism must be fed.

We rape the Earth for minerals to feed consumerism that in turn feeds capitalism.

The population needs to grow so that we can achieve growth.

Infinite growth on a finite Planet is not a recipe for success.
In the fifth form we were taught that the various European Empire believed there was only so much cake to steal so they competed over it.
Then they realised it was infinite so they worked together.
I waited in vain for the teacher to then tell us that last statement was wrong.
 
Everything I've said is true though - whether or not people are happy about it is another matter.

it explains why you don't make the effort to become coherent and sane.


"I mean you come from nothing, go back to nothing, so what have you lost? Nothing!"
 

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