Crude Awakening, Agrarian Apocalypse

| 6/2/2010 4:49:46 PM

Oil on the water of the Gulf of Mexico

A photo of Steven McFaddenThe dystopian drama in the Gulf of Mexico, where a river of crude oil now bleeds wholesale, underscores a wider, ruder reality: our planetary eco-systems are beginning to collapse. In no way will our daily bread be insulated from this devastation.

If the industrial debacle of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf – about a million gallons a day of rank, tar-black petroleum – were not sufficiently toxic confirmation, the UN made it bureaucratically official on May 10. That’s the day they published the third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) a comprehensive report warning – as so many other science-based reports have – that our planet’s vital signs are failing,

As GBO-3 puts it, “the five principal pressures directly driving biodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or increasing in intensity.”

In this half-dead world we must dwell,  and continue to find food. This is the very point that journalist Bill McKibben explores in his new book, Eaarth – Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Eaarth by Bill McKibben

Steven McFadden_2
6/8/2010 7:23:17 AM

You are welcome, Shannon. In researching and writing the book I was deeply impressed and encouraged by the great number and variety of sustainable initiatives underway not just in the USA and Canada, but around our world.

S.M.R. Saia
6/8/2010 5:53:40 AM

Wow, to hear that financiers are buying up all available land with (I assume) the intention of cornering the market when things get worse means things are definitely going to get worse. The quality of food available in your average grocery store will probably get even worse. I'm about halfway through your book. It's not only informative and inspirational, but it points towards some other books that sound like just what I need. Thanks.

Steven McFadden_2
6/3/2010 1:39:36 PM

Hi MW - Yes, I share your view. And in a legal-real estate sense, when one buys land, what you are actually purchasing, if you look closely, is a bundle of rights to use the land rather than the land itself. I wrote at some length on these matters in Chapter 2 (Agrarian Ethos) of The Call of the Land -- which you can check out at -- and also in two earlier books, Farms of Tomorrow, and then Farms of Tomorrow Revisited. Thank you for your interest.