You can't feed six billion people without it. I'm reading The End Of Food right now. The level of societal change we would have to undertake to revert 80% of the population to manual food production would (will) be impossible. The fact that we don't even see it coming is just absurd.
The whole middle east uprising isn't about freedom or democracy at all, it's about food. Prices skyrocketed, wheat yields in Africa collapsed starting 2 years ago, corn is unavailable so Americans can drive pickup trucks, and not even iron fisted dictators can stop a hungry mob. The amount of press afforded the "Arab Awakening" in terms of freedom, democracy or the even more crass "power of social networking" is completely out to lunch.
A virulent new version of a crop disease that almost crippled the world in the 70s (saved by some gene splicing and DNA magic) has figured out how to overcome the GM crops designed to resist it - it starts in Northern Africa, causing wheat to all but disappear from the market, corn has since been diverted to ethanol production, making it in short supply... chaos ensues, but we try and say, "it's because they want to be like us!"
Who said colonialism is dead?
The future looks bleak If we want to be teaching useful education, we should be teaching them how to grow their own food, without oil, immediately. Instead we spend a fortune running a school that is, on net analysis, doing more damage to the world than good -- and we're in the business of making better people! Imagine what the net worth of a self-serving business is in a world of dwindling resources.
Instead we complain about high gas prices, irrationally saying that they should be lower because that is more convenient for us and go on buying gene-copyrighted crops (that are about to fail wholesale) from Monsanto from the lowest bidder.
Local sustainability should become an immediate local, provincial and national mandate. Globalism has collapsed, but we've become so dependent on a broken system that we are virtually helpless.
We've taught ourselves to be helpless on the eve of the greatest disaster in human history.
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