1. Joined
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    05 Jul '13 18:311 edit
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-future-wealth-world-seed-banks.html

    The link is about the need to use the world's seed banks to increase our food production but, what has really got my attention here is not the seed banks but rather where it says:

    “ ...To keep pace with population growth and rising incomes around the world, researchers estimate that food availability must double in the next 25 years. ...”

    That has got me worried. I don't think our food production is sustainable as it is and, unless the vast bulk of that increase comes from using GM crops rather than ploughing up more land for food production (this may involve cutting down even more forests) and using even more fertilizers and pesticide sprays, I fear that doubling food production might make it even less sustainable and less secure.
  2. Joined
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    05 Jul '13 19:24
    Originally posted by humy
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-future-wealth-world-seed-banks.html

    The link is about the need to use the world's seed banks to increase our food production but, what has really got my attention here is not the seed banks but rather where it says:

    “ ...To keep pace with population growth and rising incomes around the world, researchers estimate that food av ...[text shortened]... ays, I fear that doubling food production might make it even less sustainable and less secure.
    No forest cutting. There is a lot of unused land in the country that is already cleared. Your only worry is where the fertilizer will come from and the fuel to work it up.

    You must live in the city. That would explain your ignorance.
  3. Joined
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    05 Jul '13 19:29
    The bigger problem is water.
  4. Cape Town
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    05 Jul '13 20:14
    Originally posted by humy
    That has got me worried. I don't think our food production is sustainable as it is and, unless the vast bulk of that increase comes from using GM crops rather than ploughing up more land for food production (this may involve cutting down even more forests) and using even more fertilizers and pesticide sprays, I fear that doubling food production might make it even less sustainable and less secure.
    In Zambia, we have plenty of unused land that could be used without encroaching on the many national parks. Of course the problem tends to be corruption, which often means that national park land is easier to get corruptly than commercial land.
    However, as others have said there is plenty of under-utilized farm land and we would love to export our crops. Currently we tend to get rather a lot of 'donated' excess crops from the US or Europe damaging our economy in the process. Thats what protectionism does.

    I must also point out that meat production requires vast amounts of grain production, so if we encourage vegetarianism or simply less meat consumption, then that would make a big difference. However, as people get economically better off, they tend to eat more meat which is where much of the required growth is coming from.

    Also, I believe quite a lot of corn is currently being converted into fuel in the US. That could be stopped.

    Then we could try greening the Sahara, which would be good for the environment as well as giving us more land. But once again, as humans we tend to do the easy thing and cut down a rain forest instead.

    We could also stop growing tobacco and use all that land for crops.
  5. Standard memberDeepThought
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    05 Jul '13 20:39
    Originally posted by Eladar
    The bigger problem is water.
    I don't always agree with your posts, but this one hits the nail right on the head.
  6. Joined
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    06 Jul '13 08:069 edits
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    No forest cutting. There is a lot of unused land in the country that is already cleared. Your only worry is where the fertilizer will come from and the fuel to work it up.

    You must live in the city. That would explain your ignorance.
    There is a lot of unused land in the country that is already cleared.


    I have never seen much of this unused land in the UK which is where I live (and I have seen just about every part of the UK) and, believe me, I had been thoroughly looking for it because I desperately wanted to buy such land to start farming again! But I accept that many albeit not all other parts of the world would almost certainly be different in that respect.

    You must live in the city. That would explain your ignorance.

    NO. I do not live in the city and I am an expert qualified horticulturist (full C&G at credit grade) and also an x-farmer before I was hit by hard times. I have been working on farms for about half of my life. I also have done several university courses on various sciences. I am certainly NOT ignorant on the subject!
    I am speaking here as what I would call a 'semi-expert' on the subject.
  7. Joined
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    06 Jul '13 08:232 edits
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I don't always agree with your posts, but this one hits the nail right on the head.
    Now I am really worried because the problem of water has no quick easy answers.
  8. Joined
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    06 Jul '13 09:232 edits
    Originally posted by humy
    Now I am really worried because the problem of water has no quick easy answers.
    I read some middle eastern countries just boil of there water supply from sea water, what you can do when sitting on that much oil
  9. Joined
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    06 Jul '13 09:361 edit
    A friend showed me this video - a 'bad' advert for al gores inconvenient truth. might amuse you.

    YouTube
    (offensive! but catchy)
  10. Cape Town
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    06 Jul '13 09:46
    Originally posted by humy
    Now I am really worried because the problem of water has no quick easy answers.
    I believe there are ways to grow crops in multistory buildings in the cities using much less water (it gets recycled). This would solve both the water problem and the space problem.
  11. Germany
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    06 Jul '13 11:20
    It's not like there is a shortage of water in the world. Mostly, the problem is lacking infrastructure to get irrigation water to where it's needed efficiently.
  12. Joined
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    06 Jul '13 12:14
    Originally posted by humy
    There is a lot of unused land in the country that is already cleared.


    I have never seen much of this unused land in the UK which is where I live (and I have seen just about every part of the UK) and, believe me, I had been thoroughly looking for it because I desperately wanted to buy such land to start farming again! But I accept ...[text shortened]... rant on the subject!
    I am speaking here as what I would call a 'semi-expert' on the subject.
    I grew up on a dairy farm and I live in the country here in Michigan. There is a lot of cleared land here that is not being used. My brother could work up land that he used to cut hay from but now it is mostly weeds and grass and needs to be replanted and he doesn't because of the cost of fuel and alfalfa seed. I am surrounded by this formerly farmed land.
    My father used to grow oats and wheat on it when he was still alive, but he stopped doing that because the elk and deer would eat too much of his crop. The DNR didn't want to do anything about it until my father complained repeatedly and eventually the DNR built a fence around the land. That was not very effective though. Elk would still jump the high fence and eventually they destroyed the fence.
    Many of the elk have migrated away from this area and now the deer population is out of control and so are the deer ticks. There is a correlation between the two. The deer need to be hunted more but the DNR doesn't do anything. That is why some people say that DNR stands for damn near retarded. They just want to bring in money from license fees and our state politicians want to double the cost of deer licenses. It is all about money. They don't care if farmers are feeding their money makers.
    The USA is nothing like the UK. We have our own set of problems and we have no shortage of unused farm land. We also get enough rainfall for the most part. What we do not have is affordable fuel to work up the land. My neighbor (who is also a farmer) used to use roundup to kill the grass and weeds to make it easier to work up the land for replanting. He eventually had a hard time walking and went to the doctor and they discovered a lesion on his spine. He thinks it was caused by the roundup herbicide that he used to use to reduce the cost of killing grass in preparation for planting crops. This is one of the reasons I don't like Monsanto. They say that roundup is safe but they lie!
    You are no more of an expert on this subject than I am.
  13. Cape Town
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    06 Jul '13 12:49
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    It's not like there is a shortage of water in the world. Mostly, the problem is lacking infrastructure to get irrigation water to where it's needed efficiently.
    In addition, some irrigation methods can be very wasteful and damaging to the land.
    Also, poor land management leads to greater run-off which is the main cause of flooding and reduces ground water. I found it interesting that in the last few years when there is a major flood, people talk about global warming, but don't say much about poor land management - which is the main cause.
  14. Cape Town
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    06 Jul '13 12:50
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    What we do not have is affordable fuel to work up the land.
    My sister tells me that no-till agriculture is becoming more popular in Zambia and has many advantages.
  15. Standard memberDeepThought
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    06 Jul '13 13:11
    Originally posted by humy
    Now I am really worried because the problem of water has no quick easy answers.
    Well, not building hydro-electric dams without thinking carefully about how to manage the resultant changes in the water table might be a start. A lot of water shortage is caused by poor management. You'd have thought that they'd make farming and food security the number one priority, but governments tend to put their military industrial complexes first, just to show what strategic thinkers they are.
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