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Thread: Primal/Paleo x Population = Unsustainable page

  1. #1
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    Primal/Paleo x Population = Unsustainable

    Primal Fuel
    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. #2
    primalrob's Avatar
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    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.

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    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....

  4. #4
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    Quote 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 at 12:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Scott F's Avatar
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    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?

  6. #6
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    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

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  7. #7
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    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!

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    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 at 04:13 AM.

  9. #9
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    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?

  10. #10
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    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 at 03:16 PM.

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