Chronicling the Goddess Grain
As I watch California bloom in a February splendor I’ve not seen in the 10 years I’ve lived here, wheat is on my mind, possibly bloating my belly and, according to this fascinating piece in a recent Economist, on the decline. This amazing little grain has been tinkered with by the Turks, Jethro Tull, Thomas Malthus, Orville Vogel, and Norman Borlaug. But now, it’s bending in the wind to maize, soy beans and rice which are taking over our world as the key products we are using to feed our billions (and growing).
Most disturbing was how the piece led me along, making some odd assertions like, "In 2004 200 million acres of genetically modified crops were grown worldwide with good effects on yield (up) , pesticide use (down), biodiversity (up), and cost (down). There has not been a single human health problem." That's asking for some investigation.
At the end of this piece about the grain even the Little Red Hen cooked with, the unknown author informs us that our world population will peak at 10 billion around 2050, but that after that declining birthrates will prevail. Then begins the mindbogling...
BITCHSLAP: “The end of humanity’s population boom will happen in the lifetimes of people alive today.”
[LEAN LEFT]: Feeding those folks won’t be trivial. Feeding that many will require 35% more calories than are grown today.
[LEAN VEGETARIAN]: 10 calories of wheat are required to produce 1 calorie of meat.
[LEAN GM]: That will require either better yields
[LEAN DEFORESTATION]: or less rainforest.
[LEAN MONSANTO:] fertilizers, pesticides and transgenes are the best possible
[LEAN JARGON]: protectors of the planet.
I'm not sure planet protection and human protection are one and the same. Calling Demeter. Uh, hello, Demeter?