Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nat Geo points out gravity of global food problem


The June 2009 National Geographic has a couple of particularly noteworthy stories. “The Forgotten Faithful,” by Don Belt, documents the gradual decline of Arab Christians in the Middle East, long thought to be a possible bridge between the Jews and Muslims. Some on the West Bank find themselves cut off from their own lands by the settlements. The link is here and the magazine cover is based on the story.

The other big story is “The End of Plenty: The Global Food Crisis” by Joel T. Bourne, photographed by John Stanmeyer, link here. He writes that the world has been consuming more food than it produces for some time, eventually leading to political dislocations.

On pp 50-51 Bourne provides an “Al Gore”-like chart “How we did it before” and “This time: a greener revolution?” “Before” the techniques comprised irrigation, dwarf varieties, chemical pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. The new methods will include targeted breeding, sustainable farming, and smarter irrigation.

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