I have blogged quite a few times now on food/food prices and oil, but since it has been in the news so much lately I think I’ll blog about it again. It’s a topic that really interests me, mostly because it combines human rights, politics/policy and oil. I am continually reminded by all of this how hard our transition away from oil is going to be. It’s going to hurt.
BBC.com and msn.com both have articles on the topic now. BBC.com has a whole section on the “Food Price Crisis” including articles, a slide show and some really interesting facts and figures http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7284196.stm
I think the facts and figures are the most interesting, illustrating the dramatic increase in food prices just from 2006 to 2007, a 130% increase in the price of wheat from 2007 to 2008 and a link from the cost of food to bio-fuel production to the cost of oil. Also mentioned is the increase in global population and the rising population of people who are relatively affluent and can afford to eat more – particularly more meat and dairy products. Producing more meat and dairy reduces the amount of land used for growing staples like wheat and rice, which is the staple food for about 3 billion people world wide http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7341978.stm . A (long) look at the data and the articles really is more interesting with so much information in one place, showing the correlation between all these factors.
The article on msn.com (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24065922 ) sources the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization when saying that the rise in prices is due to the growing demand (due to increased population and wealth) from India and China coupled with rising fuel costs.
This may all seem like the same we’ve been hearing about lately, but it’s the first time I’ve seen such a direct correlation and wealth of information targeted to the general population. It’s obvious that what scientists, engineers and other experts have been talking about for a while is rapidly being forced to the attention of the general public. Videos of glaciers crashing into the ocean is relatively peaceful compared to video of riots http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24065922
A quote I find particularly ominous…
“People are dying because of their reaction to the situation. People will not be sitting dying of starvation, they will react,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf in response to recent riots