After the water is gone, the soil is gone, the crops are gone and the superweeds take over, how exactly will Americans feed their families?

Jul 08, 2014 12:00 AM

The United States of America, like most modern nations, is a country accelerating towards agricultural collapse followed by mass starvation. At so many levels, its present-day patterns of consumption, resource extraction and environmental exploitation are physically unsustainable. But one area that merits special attention due to its imminent collapse is the subject of water security.

America has historically possessed plenty of water to grow enough crops to feed not only its own citizens but even export substantial quantities of grain to the rest of the world. But that's about to change. Cheap water is running out, and with it goes food production, food security and the ability for a nation to feed itself.

"The Ogallala Aquifer spreads across eight states, from Texas to South Dakota, covering 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles," reports NBC News. (1) "It's the fountain of life not only for much of the Texas Panhandle, but also for the entire American Breadbasket of the Great Plains, a highly-sophisticated, amazingly-productive agricultural region that literally helps feed the world."

Unfortunately, it's also running out of water. That same NBC News story goes on to report, "Billions could starve," echoing an article I wrote for Natural News three years ago in which I stated, "America's breadbasket is on a collision course with the inevitable."

Once again, the warnings many people first read on Natural News are now coming to pass. But it's already too late to stop the collapse. We are now staring down the gun barrel of the inevitable.

"The scope of this mounting crisis is difficult to overstate," reports NBC. "If groundwater production goes unabated, vast portions of several counties in the southern High Plains will soon have little water left in the aquifer to be of any practical value."

Using up water that's 10 million years old

Most Americans have no concept that water might run out. The very idea just doesn't compute; especially to many city-dwellers who give zero thought to where their own tap water comes from in the first place.

Water doesn't come out of the tap by magic, of course: it has to be transported from somewhere else. Similarly, the water used to irrigate farms across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska doesn't fall out of the sky as you might think: it's pumped up from the ground, using up 10 million year-old water that can't be replenished from rainfall.

The Ogallala water aquifer, you see, isn't "recharged" by rainfall or surface water. It's a completely separate plumbing system that took millions of years to accumulate water. That water will be siphoned off by U.S. farmers in less than a century, it turns out, leaving the landscape all but useless for conventional agriculture, a destructive farming practice founded in extremely abusive and wasteful water exploitation.

Terms like "Dust Bowl" and "doomsday" are no longer considered fear mongering when it comes to the near future of this region, by the way. Once the water runs out, the real cost of decades of conventional agriculture kick in, causing widespread ecological collapse of the region into a near-desert-like conditions.

Modern farms, you see, are disastrous failures when it comes to water retention. Exposed, bare soils bleed water by the hour, and the loss of trees across the region -- which were clear-cut for farming and ranching -- multiplies the severity of the problem. Millions of acres that were once biodiverse, sustainable grasslands where drought-resistant plants retained soils and moisture have become barren agricultural wastelands on the verge of collapsing into runaway deserts.

As this happens, food prices across America and around the world will skyrocket. Mass starvation will become a grim reality in a nation that once boasted the ability to help feed the world.

Frankenweeds grow really well in poor soils

Ironically, the one thing that might save America's breadbasket from collapsing into a desert is the very same class of superweeds that grew out of the mass chemical dousing of farmlands with glyphosate and herbicides. Superweeds -- sometimes called "Frankenweeds" -- go hand in hand with GMOs because exposure to glyphosate (Roundup) breeds superweeds in the same way exposure to antibiotics breeds drug-resistant superbugs.

Interestingly, today's more fearsome superweeds are actually Frankensteinein versions of amaranth plants.

The huge superweed shown below, on the left, is a Parmer Amaranth proudly discovered by this Iowa State student. As you can see, the weed is taller than the student, and it produces literally tens of thousands of seeds.

Can these seeds be used as a food source? I don't know, but there are obviously many varieties of amaranth which are good food sources. (I used to grow purple amaranth plants in Ecuador, where they provided excellent feed for the free-range chickens.)

If someone could use selective breeding to develop a food-producing superweed, it might actually save millions from starvation as the American breadbasket collapses into agricultural ruin over the next few decades.

 

 

 

Can Americans learn to live with less?

Or, perhaps, Americans will have to learn to be more resourceful like the Native American Indians who once lived freely across the continent. Native Americans ate mesquite pods which grow abundantly in poor, dry soils.

The pods can be harvested each summer and are regularly eaten by wild boars and other animals. Mesquite trees easily survive harsh drought conditions and can out-compete almost any tree or shrub when it comes to surviving serious drought.

I've eaten my share of mesquite pods, by the way. I used to grow them in Arizona and grind them into flour to make tortillas. They also grow on the Big Island in Hawaii, where the mesquite trees that tap into ocean water produce incredibly sweet pods that almost taste like they were mixed with brown sugar.

Almost nobody in America knows anything about eating mesquite pods today, but believe me when I say that those who want to stay alive over the next few generations are going to become very familiar with desert cuisine: mesquite, nopal cactus stir-fry, aloe vera gel smoothies and much more.

Modern humans are nearly incapable of planning for a future that's any different from their present

The days of cheap, easy food grown with cheap, easy water are soon coming to a catastrophic end. But of course almost nobody will plan in anticipation of this because humanity is an infant species with no foresight and little willingness to make the future a better place if it means giving up any conveniences of living large right now.

When the water does run out, by the way, the people will ask, "How could this have happened to us?" as if their own insatiable craving for Big Macs, green lawns and steak dinners had nothing to do with it.

Expecting mainstream American adults living in 2014 to grasp how they have set the nation on a collision course with desertification, agricultural collapse and mass starvation is like expecting preschoolers to understand where their pee pee goes after they visit the little boys' room. You might as well not even try to explain it to them, because you'll only waste your time and annoy the blissfully ignorant.

You might as well try to explain how fractional reserve banking works, or detail the history of Bayer and its Nazi roots. Nobody is listening for the simple reason that they are incapable of understanding anything beyond their next meal, their next paycheck and their next booty call.

Besides, isn't there a soccer game on TV that's far more important anyway?

Market Research

The International Affairs Institute (IAI) and OCP Policy Center recently launched a new book: The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics.

Cover_242-width

The book is an in-depth analysis of some of the fastest moving gas markets, attempting to define the trends of a resource that will have a decisive role in shaping the global economy and modelling the geopolitical dynamics in the next decades.

Some of the top scholars in the energy sector have contributed to this volume such as Gonzalo Escribano, Director Energy and Climate Change Programme, Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid, Coby van der Linde, Director Clingendael International Energy Programme, The Hague and Houda Ben Jannet Allal, General Director Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME), Paris.

For only €32.50 you have your own copy of The Future of Natural Gas. Markets and Geopolitics. Click here to order now!


 

Upcoming Conferences
« December 2018 »
December
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

Register to announce Your Event

View All Events