Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pasta panic and the future of the planet

An article 'Pasta Panic' in Fortune sparked this realisation .

Basically pasta prices have shot up due to rising wheat prices . Wheat prices have gone up for various reasons (listed in no particular order ) :
- demand for wheat has increased
- Australia - one of the largest (estwhile?) wheat producers has had 2 harvests in a row ravaged by drought
-A greater proprotion of agricultural land across the world has shifted to crops for fuel ( corn for ethanol , soy for biodiesel ) . This is likely to impact other agricultural products in future too.

What does this have to do with the future of the planet ?

The earth has substantial resources which it has given generously to all it's inhabitants - so far .
Excessive consumption of fossil fuels , other natural resources + environment insensitive to environment damaging activities for decades continue to impact the equilibrium of the planet. The earth is now telling us clearly that it's resources are linked and will not be available for reckless consumption . Mankind cannot irresponsibly consume one resource and then move to the next .Case in point being -wheat. To cope with the ever growing demand for and ever increasing prices of fuel - we ( as in mankind ) have experimented with crops for fuel . For a while it seemed like a great solution because it could be created (unlike fossil fuels which we can only find ) . Crops for fuel pose their own challenges :

- shift from producing food crops to crops for fuel - driving up food prices
- Affecting the ecology of the region ( monocultures visavis a more diverse and rich ecosystem)
- Water consumption

2 important resources - fuel and water - which are indispensible for mankind . Linked inextricably. Even while grappling with the implications of this it's tough not to marvel at the beauty and elegant underlying order of the universe.

1 comment:


oh my! where do you get time and energy to go into so much of study and detail??