Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Plan B" verses Grass Roots Action

I am currently reading Plan B 3.0, Mobilizing to Save Civilization, by Lester R. Brown. He does a very good job of outlining the threats facing all of us today. If you are not up to speed on the fact that the planet is running out of irrigation water, threatening food production, you have got to read this book. He also covers the fact that we (meaning the whole planet) are already at peak agriculture production; however, our population is still booming. World food reserves are nearly drained, and thousands of more folks are going hungry every year. Meanwhile, continued plowing and deforestation are depleting the top soil, which we need to grow food, and the worlds deserts are growing. It is not a pretty picture, and he lines it all out in detail and with references and documentation. This is stuff we all need to know. It will be affecting us much sooner than you hope.

The problem I have with the Plan B—is that it seems to offer very few suggestions about what you and I can do. The one I have run across, so far, is about eating less animal protein, and while good advice, it is somewhat simplistic. He contends that the grain used to feed animals would feed far more people than the meat which results from animals eating the grain. This is well based in fact, for grain fed animals. And many of us should eat less animal protein—if for no other reason than our personal health. However, not all meat animals are fed grain. Pastured, grass fed, and free range animals are healthier for us. They often convert resources which would not otherwise produce food into something we can eat. Well managed grazers actually improve water and nutrient cycles and top soil; which is not mentioned in Plan B. For more information on beneficial uses of livestock see the work of Alan Savory (Holistic Management) and Joel Salatin (You Can Farm).

Plan B is rich with pricey solutions (we are talking billions of dollars) that the author, Lester R. Brown, seems to think that our governments are going to fund. I am not holding my breath. Something about our history, and about history in general, leads me to have little faith in any of our governments doing anything that makes sense. This is why I wrote Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead. This little book will show you exactly what you need to do to ensure food security for yourself and your family—in a way that will expand that security to your community, your region, and the world. It is all about choices, a simple healthy diet, and getting involved with gardening and the local food movement. The plan outlined in Food Security & Sustainability will help you take small steps, one at a time. The end result, if enough of us start now, is that we will save ourselves and our planet.

Lester Brown can spend his time lobbing governments for billions of dollars. If he can get the money spent, soon enough and in an effective way, it will be a miracle. I am not going to hold my breath for that to happen. I am going to do what I can, right here and now. I hope you will join me. I believe we can save the planet through the choices we each make every day.

Harvest McCampbell


Scott said...

We are doing our part by both reducing our intake of commercially farmed animals and by growing more of our own food. We also share that food with our neighbors.

I am happy to read someone else's work that understands that vegetarian diets are not necessarily the best way to use our resources. If we are going to deal with the issue of world hunger, or any of the other issues facing us, it is going to require a multi-path approach. Let's use ever option available to deal with it.

Harvest said...

Hi Scott!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I enjoyed visiting your blog, and I think my readers would also enjoy reading what you have to say . . .

Please feel free to stop by and comment anytime!

In reading "Holistic Management," after having read "You Can Farm," I really came to understand that the soybeans most vegetarians depend on, cause topsoil degradation. Anytime we lay the soil bare, with a plow or otherwise, we have a loss of top soil. There are certainly better ways to go . . .

I think your work with permaculture is important, and I am glad to see that you are sharing your journey . . .