Friday, October 26, 2012

Open Letter to Canadian MPs

Paul Beckwith
Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.

The world food situation is deteriorating. Grain stocks have dropped to a dangerously low level. The World Food Price Index has doubled in a decade. The ranks of the hungry are expanding. Political unrest is spreading.

On the demand side of the food equation, there will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night. And some 3 billion increasingly affluent people are moving up the food chain, consuming grain-intensive livestock and poultry products.

At the same time, water shortages and heat waves are making it more difficult for farmers to keep pace with demand. As grain-exporting countries ban exports to keep their food prices down, importing countries are panicking. In response, they are buying large tracts of land in other countries to grow food for themselves. The land rush is on.

Could food become the weak link for us as it was for so many earlier civilizations? This slideshow presentation, based on Lester Brown's latest book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, explains why world food supplies are tightening and tells what we need to do about it.

My video clip filmed about 3 weeks ago on Parliament Hill explains the clear connections between crop failures/droughts/floods/extreme weather/sea ice/greenhouse gases/climate change...

This is my presentation on Parliament Hill (Center blog) a few months ago at the All-Party Climate Change Caucus meeting.

This is a longer version of the linkages between food shortages and declining sea ice.

Please let me know what your plan is to deal with this coming turmoil.
I look forward to your response.


Paul Beckwith (B.Eng. Engineering Physics, M.Sc. Physics, presently working on Ph.D. in climatology)


  1. Paul, the plan is to shake some trees and get people to have the idea that the antidote of fear is action -direct action.
    Knowledge is power and if people can get going to -well things have changed and the situation changed so what's needed is no longer like turning ship at sea, or running her aground to save passengers on shallow bank' -to that of a plane in flight using short field technique' -even that has to be abandoned to instead change wings to canard style right now.. -short wing in front at higher angle of attack so forward wing naturally stalls and settles plane to level flight. Goal being keeping gunnels level to keep from sinking, if a ship, and to re-establish without input by pilot level flight and stall recovery if plane. It is necessary to make a plan of the scale of now needed magnitude to take on a threat of runaway.
    There is a pic of plane, watercolor of jet w wing rake back like on reverse direction of flight above a wood stove on wall above mantel.
    It was card that went with a giving of money on an important occasion so we could fly to visit family in Tuscon. That plane if front is turned to back in direction would be canard with rudder style of that of flying dinosaur. But canard wing stabilizes and gets plane pitch and flight characteristics going naturally in right direction for a change.. I'm thinking the plan needs hurry. Emergency action and announcement.
    To prepare people, passengers for what's coming.
    To give the right of point people to now assume command. And to make adjustment so future plane design is within a very high margin for error as far as safety is concerned.. But right now emergency action is required and storm is coming shore so even there won't be place to land.. Those lines of Sandy projected are where I grew up as a boy.. They mimic the storm that brought the rain and flood to the Delaware river.
    And I want to do that by altering the value of money worldwide to make it so its value is linked to and substantially appreciates Earth alive,, forest standing with oceans of plenty.. and to bring back a sense of community instead of competition as goal.
    To include with heart protection of Nature and to show respect for the Earth.

  2. Great work Paul, My estimation after reading links you posted is still that adjustment to value of money is key to getting world wide change going fast everywhere so Earth can regain flight straight and level -is best bet. But I'm a bit more inclined to think democracy and equal rights for deniers is anything but a death sentence for mankind. I'm also much more inclined to think things have gone too far to recover certainly without tapping 'Act of God' writ of law on world wide scale.
    Pareto analysis of pages in long version should single out those that fit the 1 to 5% of items that cause some 90% of damage. They need to also factor time element into calculation of weight.. It is possible that $, price tag, driven development morphing into $(usefulness) driven development would flip it.
    Certainly it is a complex problem to solve and it's almost impossible to do so unless Peace and Trust are established along with leadership who not only wish to do no harm but have ability to tap the potential that's out there and to do so with heart..
    Zeroing in on food is key, Earth's ability to harbor life which creates sugar from sunlight is what's in jeopardy and in common with human needs but mankind has to shed the corporate Dos mantel of isolation of cause from affect. Nature isn't like that, and we need a new programming language for Earth and humans..
    Might be fun project..

  3. Hi Paul

    All spot on, however you are asking the right question to the wrong people. Politicians cannot act pro-actively and haven't been since planning became outright taboo in politics all over the world in the 90's. The market was supposed to do that far better than planners. Politicians do not have a mandate other than to react to crisis driven by the tides of public opinion once need for action is painfully real to the public and only then can they present themselves as the hero leaders. No politician will get elected or re-elected on a forward thinking platform. They would commit professional suicide if they headed your question.

    Your question needs to be directed to small communities that may change and can try to create real responses in pockets of resilience. is an example for this. Small enough to work in time for the urgently needed response and large and resourced enough to make it through the upheavals ahead.

    Even if the politicians managed to make a decision the systems they govern are so unwieldy and calcified by power that they cannot adapt in the time required. Climate Change impacts on food supply are here now.

    Our responses need to be here now too to be effective. Atamai has been going for 6 years now and I can assure you politicians have not made its progress easy.