Sustainable food preparedness during a nuclear winter
By J. D. Heyes
During the Cold War, Americans – and citizens of countries all over the globe – worried that the two superpowers at the time, the United States, and the Soviet Union, could someday launch a nuclear war that would shroud the world in planet-killing radioactive fallout.
While that is not as much of a concern anymore – the Soviet Union is gone and the U.S. does not yet have a nuclear-armed peer – there are still thousands of nuclear warheads in existence and, until a weapon is developed to defeat them and render them useless, they will continue to exist.
With that in mind, then, shouldn’t we still be concerned about “nuclear winter,” which would be the effect of multiple nuclear explosions around the world? Not really says one scientist and expert.
‘We can still feed everyone’ As reported by Michigan Technological University, one of its scholars, Prof. Joshua Pearce, says if the world as we currently know it were to end, humanity would be fine.
“People have been doing catastrophic risk research for a while,” Pearce said, according to a press release posted at Newswise. “But most of what’s been done is dark, apocalyptic and dismal. It hasn’t provided any real solutions.”
So, he examined doomsday scenarios – super volcanoes, nuclear winter, abrupt global climate change (for real) – and what he found was that the forecast for society is not that bad.
Indeed, Pearce says in research outlined in a new book, “Feeding Everyone No Matter What,” that we should look positively.
“We researched the worst cases and asked, ‘Is it possible to still feed everybody after a complete collapse of the agricultural system?'” he told the university. “All solutions until this book focused on food storage, the survivalist method of putting cans in closets. But for global catastrophes, you’d need at least five years of supplies – think bedroom size, not just a closet.”
So, in global terms, it is just not feasible to imagine stockpiles big enough to feed survivors, let alone in terms of just feeding survivors in the U.S. Families just don’t have the resources – or space – to prepare in that way, and also he says, such stockpiling would likely lead to rising food prices (because of shortages), and that would cause even more of the world’s current poor and downtrodden to go hungry.
You may not like your cuisine choices, but…Don’t worry, Pearce said: If the sun were blacked out for years at a time, leading to the death of all plant life, humans would be okay.
The University reported further:
After looking at five crop-destroying catastrophes (sudden climate change, super-weeds, super-bacteria, super-pests and super-pathogens) and three sunlight-extinguishing events (super-volcano eruption, asteroid or comet impact, and nuclear winter), Pearce says we have a way to feed everyone on Earth for five years. That’s enough time for the planet to recover, allowing a gradual return to the agricultural system we use today.
“We looked purely at technical viability – ignoring all the social issues that currently cause millions to go hungry and die every year,” Pearce said.
How would the planet feed billions of mouths? By swapping traditional foods for bacterial slime and bugs.
“We came up with two primary classes of solutions,” Pearce said. “We can convert existing fossil fuels to food by growing bacteria on top of it – then either eat the bacterial slime or feed it to rats and bugs and then eat them.”
He said a second, and far easier, set of solutions is to utilize partial rotting of woody plant fiber to grow mushrooms or to feed to insects, rats, cows, deer or chickens.
“The trees are all dying from the lack of light anyway. If we use dead trees as an input, we can feed beetles or rats and then feed them to something else higher on the food chain,” he said, “or just eat the bugs.”
Read his full interview .
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