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  • Primal/Paleo x Population = Unsustainable

    Just a passing thought,

    If the whole current population of the world went primal would there be enough food?

    My answer in short is no!

    Not questioning being primal it was just something I have been thinking about! Perhaps it's just as well that majority of people is sticking with CW and why government medical fficials will never endorse this way of eating (oooooooh conspiracy theory!)

    Just wanted to see what others thought!

  • #2
    there would be a huge food problem if everyone went primal today...but if it took place over time there would be plenty of opportunity for food sources to shift.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm sure I heard somewhere recently that outdoor reared cows and sheep actually have a less environmental impact than cereal and soy crops. Plus, when you start eating the whole animal (fat, skin, bones, marrow etc), there is far less waste and it's far denser in calories (plus the vitamins in the fat, minerals in the bones etc.)

      Just musing! My copy of The Vegetarian Myth is in the post, I haven't started it yet....

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by urbancaveman View Post
        Just a passing thought,

        If the whole current population of the world went primal would there be enough food?
        Kind of depends on how you define "primal".

        I don't think you'll find many of the world's real poor are farming in "The American Way" if we're to take that as meaning intensive farming using vast quantities of artificial fertilizers and pesticides and with no long-term eye on soil-structure, pollution of waterways, and erosion. I think you'd find a lot of people in poor countries using night-soil, because they couldn't afford the other. You will probably also find them, for example, keeping fish in drainage ditches -- and therefore having to be a little wary of poisoning the water. My understanding is that they tend to use every inch of land and layer resources in, and can't afford to be too wasteful or degrade the environment too much.

        I'm not sure at all that those people can afford to do what's done in the U.S., because as I understand it that's only possible on the back of subsidies and being able to afford petrochemicals -- and cheap fuel itself.

        But certainly india, for example, imports fertiliser. See here under "Imports":

        https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/in.html

        How much, and how much is used compared with the U.S. I don't know.

        Let's hope that some day Mark, who sometimes has guest columnists, does get an expert on farming systems across the world and sustainability to write a column on the topic. That would be good, because the question you raised is one that crops up regularly here.

        But the balance of farming in much of the world is going to be more towards cereal crops that it needs to be -- or perhaps should be -- in, say, the U.S. or Canada or Australia.

        One thing you have to bear in mind is that it's not as simple as land being used either for "this" or "that". Different activities can't just swap in and out like that. So some land is really suitable for arable use and some for pastoral use. If land that would be better used for pastoral purposes -- for grazing animals on -- is ploughed up (perhaps, for example, because subsidies alter the economics of the situation) then the result can be catastrophic. In the extreme you can get a "dustbowl":

        The Dust Bowl of the 1930s

        See this recent thread for a videotaped talk on sustainability in farming given by Joel Salatin:

        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread68945.html
        Last edited by Lewis; 11-01-2012, 11:03 AM.

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        • #5
          I'm in the oil business. From my POV everyone is a petro sapien. The modern world with its population would not exist if it hadn't been for petroleum being introduced as both an energy source and commodity for raw materials like asphalt.

          The problem humans face (and probably for a lot of young people on this board) is that time when global oil production begins its decline. Global oil consumption tracts global population growth. It's estimated 10 calories of oil is used to produce 1 calorie of food in the US. Because oil isn't sustainable and there's nothing that can replace it economically, the modern world at this point in technology isn't sustainable. Read the book Limites to Growth
          Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

          Comment


          • #6
            if people started farming for themselves, or made several community farms in larger cities, then it would be sustainable (crop rotation, cow crap fertilizer, etc)

            if government farming went primal then i don't see it going well

            of course, this is based on your average american city and not drought conditions/deserts
            beautiful
            yeah you are

            Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
            lol

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            • #7
              Something to consider is wether that would be a good thing or a bad thing anyway. If we returned to a limited availability of food, the human population might shrink back towards a more healthy population. Just a thought anyway!

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, it would be unsustainable right here and now if everyone suddenly adopted the lifestyle. However, even if such a big change did happen, basic economic forces would take care or things. Prices would skyrocket at first due to the spike in demand for primal-friendly foods, then supply would rapidly rise in response. Current producers of typical SAD food would either change their products accordingly or go out of business. However, because of the high prices, a large portion of the US simply wouldn't be able to afford the diet, so they would face the choice of settling for unhealthiest foods until the capacity: population ratio balanced out or simply starving. Noctiluca raised a good point, because right now the US population would definitely have to shrink significantly for everyone to be able to be primal. And reverting to localized subsistence systems simply wouldn't be the answer because it's inefficient compared to a specialized economy. If things ever do change in a major way, it will be because the current giants of the American food industry change or are slowly pushed out by healthier competitors
                Last edited by Puglife; 11-02-2012, 03:13 AM.

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                • #9
                  throughout history cultures have grown in complexity and then collapsed. We use complexity to solve problems but...that very system of problem solving becomes unsustainable and the culture collapses. Today we live in a globally complex system. If and when it collapses it'll be the first time the whole world will experience it at the same time.

                  Here's a summery of the lecture that follows it: Joseph tainter; The Collapse of complex Civilisations - YouTube

                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (1 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (2 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (3 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (4 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (5 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (6 of 7) - YouTube
                  Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter 2010 (7 of 7) - YouTube
                  Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Totally Primal (i.e., all wild, pastured, organic, etc.; no CAFO or pesticides), nothing processed. No, it couldn't happen overnight and it wouldn't be sustainable in the US, though the most wealthy of us would be able to eat that way if tomorrow morning Primal became the law of the land. For the rest of us, the demand would so outstrip the supply that we'd either have to loot or buy black market CAFO foods until we adjusted.

                    But we didn't get here overnight. We went from basically eating all home-cooked meals to convenience foods and eating out occasionally, and so on until we have 20 year olds who don't know how to cook, and people who think that the stink they buy at places like McDonald's is actually food. It floors me that every few years we learn that McD or one of the other chain eateries comes out with some not quite honest dish and the sheeple keep eating at these places.

                    But I digress. The USDA keeps a data base of registered Farmers Markets around the country. From my cursory reading, it looks like registration is voluntary. Anyway, in 1994, there were 1755 markets registered and in 2012, there are 7864 registered. But even better, the number of registered farmers markets increased by 9.6% between 2011 and 2012. In a down economy. That's pretty amazing. And the meats, milk, eggs, and veggies sold at those markets directly hit big agribusiness.

                    People are changing, and a non-industrial way of eating is possible to the majority over time. First you get more farmers markets (for lazy folks like me who don't really want to grow veggies if I can get them organic from people who do want to grow them). Then you get more people growing the "easy" stuff: tomatoes, peppers, some herbs in pots and gardens. You get some who learn how to feed their families on 2-3 acres.

                    Internet shopping also helps because if I can buy fish (including shipping) cheaper from Seattle than I can in my own home town, I'm going to do so. So in areas where people are slow to demand good healthy food, the small minority can exert a little bit of pressure by simply not spending some of their money in their community.

                    All change is a little tough. It's a bit of a pain if the only decent farmers market in your area is only open one day a week and you have to wrestle with local chefs for the good stuff. It's a pain that to eat nutritionally grown/raised food, you have to increase your food spending by 10-40%. And you have to shop at a few different markets because though the meat is healthy in one, maybe the wild fish is better at another. It takes work to change, so the scenario of Primal overnight is pretty unlikely.

                    Though our market system has been sullied by subsidies and bad laws, we still have the right to vote with our pockets. I don't know if big agribusiness cares that the number of farmers markets increased 9.6% in one year. I don't know if Walmart felt it when some people stopped buying their ground pink slime. But eventually they'll have to take notice. Honest to goodness, 9.6% gives me hope that I may actually live long enough to see it.

                    ETA: oops forgot to post the link to the USDA graph: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams....cct=frmrdirmkt
                    Last edited by JoanieL; 11-01-2012, 02:16 PM.
                    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                    B*tch-lite

                    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Noctiluca View Post
                      Something to consider is wether that would be a good thing or a bad thing anyway. If we returned to a limited availability of food, the human population might shrink back towards a more healthy population. Just a thought anyway!
                      I agree that a smaller human population would be better for the planet ... and would also improve quality of life for humankind. Hence primal eating is better all round.
                      F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I see this as a pointless question. Why? Well, several reasons...

                        To answer your question directly, as Mark pointed out on the Daily Apple, America's biggest crop is lawn grass. All of that crap could be torn up for vegetable gardens if necessary, so we could make it happen. However... agriculture in general is not sustainable. I would recommend reading the Vegetarian Myth, although she tends to wander into feminist rhetoric and parts of it are very depressing. But as someone else already said, we are completely dependant on oil for agriculture. So it doesn't really matter if the whole world could or couldn't turn paleo tomorrow. We're screwed in the long run anyway.

                        Cheerful, eh? It gets even better if you think about the economic and social consequences to lowering the population. People have said that the developed world eats most of the worlds resources and we need to consume less. Okay... but people consuming less has a name. It's called a recession. If people cut back enough, it's a Depression. Our entire economic system is based on the idea of infinite growth, and trying to fix it is going to be painful and likely impossible. I have no idea where all this will go, but I'm almost glad I'll be dead before it all goes to hell...
                        Out of context quote for the day:

                        Clearly Gorbag is so awesome he should be cloned, reproducing in the normal manner would only dilute his awesomeness. - Urban Forager

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          <wildrose>....and while I don't like a crowd and an over populated earth whose going to be ones who volunteer to checkout first and depopulated it. Not me.

                          But the models predict a population collapse circa 2030-2050 due to resource scarcity. I have a saying "humans, today, are the petrosapiens and telling a petrosapien it's addicted to oil is like telling a fish it's addicted to water." But here's the reality of how much oil the world must have for its current economic model: Think of 55-gallon steel drums laid end to end. Now try to imagine 67,200,000 of those drums stretching into the horizon. Each one of those drums are 3 feet long. That many steel drums laid end to end would stretch 38,182 miles long. At a circumference of the earth begin 24,900 miles those steel drums of oil would encircle the earth 1 1/2 times.

                          Let's try a trivia question: How many days does it take for the world's global economy to use that much oil? Anybody want to take a guess?
                          Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scott F View Post
                            <wildrose>....and while I don't like a crowd and an over populated earth whose going to be ones who volunteer to checkout first and depopulated it. Not me.
                            Surely only those who have had more than 2 children should have to consider volunteering.
                            F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scott F View Post
                              <wildrose>....and while I don't like a crowd and an over populated earth whose going to be ones who volunteer to checkout first and depopulated it. Not me.

                              But the models predict a population collapse circa 2030-2050 due to resource scarcity. I have a saying "humans, today, are the petrosapiens and telling a petrosapien it's addicted to oil is like telling a fish it's addicted to water." But here's the reality of how much oil the world must have for its current economic model: Think of 55-gallon steel drums laid end to end. Now try to imagine 67,200,000 of those drums stretching into the horizon. Each one of those drums are 3 feet long. That many steel drums laid end to end would stretch 38,182 miles long. At a circumference of the earth begin 24,900 miles those steel drums of oil would encircle the earth 1 1/2 times.

                              Let's try a trivia question: How many days does it take for the world's global economy to use that much oil? Anybody want to take a guess?
                              Nobody wants to guess? It's one (1) day. Everyday the world consumes 88,000,000 42-gallon barrels of oil. That volume would fill enough steel drums to encircle the earth 1 1/2 times. You could encircle the earth 560 times each year with steel drums.

                              The kick in the ass is this: Oilfields decline as they are produced so the oil industry must continually fined new fields to replace that decline or go out of business. After the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, and we were sitting in blocks long gas lines, the OECD countries form the International Energy Agency (IEA). In 2008 the IEA did a field by field decline rate calculation on 800 of the world's largest oilfields. Those 800 fields produce 2/3rds of the world supply.

                              There conclusion was:
                              National Geographic Magazine - NGM.com
                              "The Energy Information Administration, an arm of the U.S. government, forecast last year that, all things being equal, world energy consumption would increase 50 percent by 2030. That's a good round number, summing up the desire of people across the world for refrigerators, televisions, ice cubes, hamburgers, motorbikes, and maybe even a little air-conditioning in the tropics.”

                              “But it's not at all clear where that energy can come from, because we happen to be alive at the moment when the oil is starting to run out. In November 2008 the International Energy Agency estimated that production from the world's mature oil fields was declining 6.7 percent a year, a rate that is expected to get even worse over time. Offsetting this decline will require finding a new Kuwait's worth of output every year, or somehow squeezing that much more from existing fields. Many observers think we've already passed the peak of oil production. An optimist in this world is someone who thinks it might still be a matter of years. But there's little question where the future lies, which is why the cost of a barrel of oil spiked to $147 last year. It took the prospect of a Great Recession to bring it back down to $40. Curbing high gas prices with recurrent economic slumps is probably not the smartest of remedies."

                              www.iea.org/Textbase/npsum/WEO2008SUM.pdf
                              "The projected increase in global oil output hinges on adequate and timely investment. Some 64 mb/d of additional gross capacity — the equivalent of almost six times that of Saudi Arabia today — needs to be brought on stream between 2007 and 2030. Some 30 mb/d of new capacity is needed by 2015. There remains a real risk that under-investment will cause an oil-supply crunch in that timeframe. The current wave of upstream investment looks set to boost net oil-production capacity in the next two to three years, pushing up spare capacity modestly. However, capacity additions from current projects tail off after 2010. This largely reflects the upstream development cycle: many new projects will undoubtedly be sanctioned in the near term as oil companies complete existing projects and move on to new ones. But the gap now evident between what is currently being built and what will be needed to keep pace with demand is set to widen sharply after 2010. Around 7 mb/d of additional capacity (over and above that from all current projects) needs to be brought on stream by 2015, most of which will need to be sanctioned within the next two years, to avoid a fall in spare capacity towards the middle of the next decade."

                              By my math, the oil industry needs to put on a new Saudi Arabia worth of oil every 4 years or you'll will see major economic unrest. Nobody knows of anything capable of replacing petroleum for all it does. Humanity is in a race against time to find a replacement that doesn't yet exist. And while that's going on we have a clues populace and House of Reps who don't seem to grasp the seriousness. See Sonia Shah's interview: Crude - the incredible journey of oil - Broadband edition - ABC Science
                              Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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