- Date published:
6:05 am, November 19th, 2020 - 14 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Economy, farming, food - Tags: food resiliency, Macro, regenag, regenerative agriculture, what is this regenag thing anyway?, what is this regenerative agriculture thing anyway?
This cheery piece about the end of the world is doing the rounds in Australia and New Zealand. None of it is a surprise to people in the various resiliency movements (Transition Towns, permaculture, peak oil, climate activism and so on), but it’s nevertheless a cold shower wake up call to see it presented so baldly in the MSM and condensed into one year. Tl;dr, 2021 is going to be a challenge. Read it if you’re feeling reasonably robust.
I’d hazard a guess that the Australian reporters that worked on it are to some extent traumatised by 12 months of bushfires and coronavirus. It’s basically a tale of global experts in their field pointing out that food supplies are breaking down and there’s going to be a ‘hunger pandemic’ next year. Probably not for us, as usual it will be poor, black countries most badly affected. But our food security isn’t that secure either in the medium term, and there is an ethical imperative to both not turn our backs on those in need elsewhere as well as developing the tech to ensure a reliable food supply going forward.
The piece also points to the global economy being further shocked and New Zealand won’t be immune from that.
There wasn’t a lot of detail in that article, just people saying this is going to happen. The thing that struck me most about the piece is that it presents the broad assertions of actually quite highly stressful news and almost nothing about the solutions. That’s a recipe for cognitive dissonance, head in the sand, retrenching into neoliberal BAU. All normal human reactions, but things we still have a choice about.
The resiliency and regenerative movements on the other hand almost always present the bad news along with a way through.
While on one level this is simply the kaupapa, naturally arising from the ethics and principles that underlie those movements, I’m going to suggest this is also a political choice. We can choose to also focus on the solutions, the proactive, affirmative pathways in response to the heavy duty, world going to hell in a hand-basket realities.
In my experience, when people are faced with large scale stress they respond better when they are presented with options for positive change.
There is also the dynamic that disempowered people tend to not act, and empowered people act. Most people will act if they can see that it will do some good, and this is often as simple as they feel better when their actions lead somewhere useful even if there is no grand solution in sight.
To that end, I’ve been writing posts about regenerative agriculture and showcasing the sectors that are actively building resiliency especially around food.
A post in February, Climate and food security: annual cropping vs regenerative agriculture, talked about the bad news (the three main annual crops we are reliant on globally are starting to fail under climate change) and presented the good news (resiliency tech developed outside the mainstream has been preparing for this very scenario).
I’m also mindful that class politics are a huge issue in talking about food security. The needs of low income people and those living in poverty are still urgent. This Guest Post in 2018 from Standardista Macro highlights the issues for far too many people going into Christmas, and I expect this year to be even harder on people.
There’s an obvious overlap between the broader food growing security issues and the local ones related to poverty and access. The people I see managing to respond to both are Māori. More work here for the left, with the increasing pressures on Labour to take action on the housing crisis and poverty, to also put this in the context of the rapidly destabilising world. Probably the most pertinent thing I can say right now is that people living in poverty often have good resiliency skills and should be seen as a resource as much as a problem to be solved (not an extractive resource naturally, but a regenerative one if we had any sense).
One of the most heartening things in this covid year was the sheer number of people that gardened in response to the crisis. Seed and seedling suppliers were overwhelmed for a while. Labour need to look at making sure that in another big lockdown, nurseries and garden suppliers stay accessible.
Feel free to share proactive resources and your own stories in the comments. The stories we tell right now are critical to where we are going, let’s make sure they are good ones.