Philadelphia, PAUSA 19104
September 8, 2011
There could be a collapse of everything, due to excessive complexity and interdependence of modern societies. It could start from a major shock, such as nuclear attacks, or a sudden, deadly epidemic. Or it might just happen, with no known trigger. If for whatever reason the electric grid went out permanently over a major area, accessible food would be gone in weeks. In a year, most people who had lived there and couldn't get out would be dead. The main reason would be lack of capacity to produce food. Foraging alone won't produce enough to feed billions. Conventional gardening would be difficult or impossible during mass starvation. There would be no agribusiness.
I like to research high-risk/high-reward possibilities, programs, and movements. For example, edible lawns and landscaping could conceivably become a social movement -- bringing thousands or millions of acres into emergency-food cultivation, outside of corporate control. A key difficulty in agriculture is controlling weeds (and other pests). Plowing kills weeds but takes fuel and machinery (or large animals). Flooding (for rice) kills weeds, but needs lots of water. Roundup can substitute for plowing, but requires corporate, Roundup-ready seeds. An alternative would be to see what grows there naturally, then look for less-intensive interventions to make the mix more edible. Permaculture approaches could do this. Mushroom-growing technology may also contribute to emergency food growing. Very controversial approaches would be genetic modification to common "weeds" to make them faster-growing, hardier, and more nutritious for humans -- or introducing edible alien species.
John S. James of West Philly. Two careers so far: computer programming, & medical writing. I also want to write about the insanity of billions of lives depending on fragile, corrupt, unsustainable corporate systems. New food technology is key.
Very good; sensible and useful.