It’s A Hungry, Hungry World Out There

Found on another board, this bears some serious contemplation:

In 1998 the US produced over 6.6 billion dozen eggs! …

Number of chickens slaughtered every minute in the US: 14,000

Number of cows and calves slaughtered every 24 hours in the US: 90,000

Food animals (not counting fish and other aquatic creatures) slaughtered per year in the US: 10 billion

How could we possibly unleash figures such as those, on the wild?
Wild ducks, geese, turkeys, … all extinct.
Deer, elk, goats, rabbits … all extinct.

Billions of people world wide, scavaging for anything edible.

You throw in domesticated animals and agriculture into a primitive, over-populated environment

You will need wire.
Someone will need to fire up a tractor.
Food and animal feed will need to be transported by the mega-tons.
To bring “primitive sustainability” to the modern world, we have to look at the other side of the equation.

How to eliminate x billion people, first.

Turning the world loose on a primitive lifestyle would accomplish this.
Within days the slaughtering would start.
Lakes and seashores would become territorial battlegrounds.

The race would become one of eliminating enough people before everything that is edible in the wild became extinct.

Sustainability would be a hard thing to achieve, should the entire population try it.

“We” would become the problem. Eliminating the vast majority of “us”, the solution.

We need to look for a way to balance the population with the resources, but I don’t see how it would work by going primitive.

Not with the number of people that we have, anyway.

Not said (yet), is where is the wire, fuel and feed going to come from in an energy starved world? Or how to protect the meager herds of domesticated animals from the starving millions?

This post puts the difficulty of survival post-crash into a perspective that is not often considered.

But on the other side, pre-crash domestication of animals (and agriculture) is a gigantic industry that (presently and stupidly) affords stupendously large human and animal populations. All which requires available (affordable) energy, adequate rainfall and growing seasons, a huge (functioning) distribution network, and a vast array of processing plants, factories and personnel to make it all happen.

None of which will be available indefinitely, or even much longer.

Sustainability simply isn’t possible for the world’s 7 billion. Especially in today’s highly industrialized and mechanized First World nations that are heavily reliant upon petroleum (imported or otherwise). They, having lost their distributed farming base, will be hit the hardest as their civilizations crash to the level of available energy in a declining environment.

Primitive living may be the only truly sustainable way of living mankind has ever found, but there was a valid reason that 500 hundred million (or less) were able to do this globally, which 7 billion cannot possibly hope to attain.

I expect a total collapse of global populations to reach less then 500 hundred million – in my lifetime. But the quest for real sustainability will only be found by those who are willing to engage in it’s actual practice.

Most efforts fail to be sustainable. And there is absolutely no way 7 billion, particularly in the First World, industrialized nations can even achieve sustainable. This is proving to be yet another mythological pipe dream that directly contradicts the existing cultural expectations.

When the energy collapses, or the environment heats up enough, or the plankton collapse, or the Amazon burns up, or desertification becomes even worse, or any number of things, populations will start to decline precipitiously. As they must.

So it’s not a question of existing populations finding sustainability and never really was. The human and animal slaughter he speaks of will happen anyway.

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10 thoughts on “It’s A Hungry, Hungry World Out There

  • January 30, 2007 at 2:01 am
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    There are a few moderating factors of the things mentioned above:
    1. As game gets increasingly scarce, they also get increasingly difficult to hunt.
    2. The animals with large existing habitats have such a diverse range that they will recover, even if from just one small population. A historical example is the roe deer in Scandinavia.
    3. People’s general survival skills today, are so poor that very few out of all of those 300 millions would be able to find animals to kill. Especially when moderating factor 1 has kicked in.
    4. The logistics of it all will save the game. How will all of the people in California get up to the mountains to start hunting when they don’t have fuel?

    Proffesional, ruthless hunters may do quite alot of damage, but they still have to struggle with the logistics of it all.

    In other words: Most game species will survive. The ones that will not survive are the ones that has had their territory fragmented, their numbers greatly reduced and can be killed in masses on open ground. In other words: The bison is leaving this world for good this time.

    The deer will survive, so will the elk and the moose and hopefully the caribou. But it will take centuries for the populations to recover.

    What will people eat in the meantime? I don’t think they will, most will die.

  • January 30, 2007 at 8:40 am
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    All good points. I don’t think it will take centuries to recover though, given the chance the surviving game populations could do it in several generations, which are much shorter then ours!

    That depends on what’s left of the environment however. This is probably the greatest question of all.

  • January 30, 2007 at 8:47 am
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    ‘Humans, it’s what for dinner’
    (people, the other protein)

    anyone have any people recipes?

  • January 30, 2007 at 8:58 am
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    I heard they taste like chicken. Why does all mystery meat taste like chicken?

  • January 30, 2007 at 2:49 pm
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    I was going to buy myself a 4-wheeler (ATV) last summer at a cost of 6K. Why? Because all my friends have one. Instead I took the 6 grand and stocked up on food and toilet paper. now My friends think I’m weird thanks to all you gloom and doomers. Now they tell me to get a snowmobile so I can ride with em this winter, I just about did this time except it did’nt want to snow here in minnesota. So I’m taking the money and I’m buying alot of that nitro packed food and stash it in the cellar. This time I wont tell my freinds what I did with the money. It’s funny how if you spend your money on recreation vehicles your freinds think your cool, but if you spend your money on a food stockpile your strange or weird. Maybe I am a little weird but that aint the point. The older I get the stronger, the meaner and more aggresive the younger generation gets, and theres no way I’ll be able to compete with these guys at the grocery store after tshtf for food and supplies. Oh well, as long as I stock up on beer and liquor my freinds will still come over. I’m not the brightest one in the bunch, but, Ive spent alot of time reading about the housing bubble, peak oil, bird flu, and Iran to know its time to start stockin up while everybody else is calm and the u.p.s. delivery man is still delivering.

    I figure the snowmobile is’nt going to do me any good in a few years.

  • January 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm
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    I’m not a MSM ‘hound’ but, recently both CNN and MSNBC and the the pundits/spindrs have been ‘hyping’ the “pending war with Iran”.

    If/when that ‘should’ happen, … well, ALL ‘bets are off’ – starting with gasoline (transport) – if you can get it. Then “the grid” aka “system” ceases to function (unravels). Followed closely by chaos (most places in ‘civilization’).

    Sooner – rahter than later – one will be faced with scared, hungry, insanly dangerous bipeds to be ‘skillfully negotiated’
    => anarachy
    => (perhaps) survival BUT exclusively of/by the meanest and/or the best hid (as in ‘prepared’ AND ‘lucky’)

  • January 30, 2007 at 6:47 pm
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    Yeah, you can’t eat a 4 wheeler. Won’t even be much good for trading stock at some point. At today’s prices, I could buy 30 years of food and come out way ahead. And I’m seriously thinking about it. I doubt if I’ll get to eat it all, but somebody will.

    I’ve got several mountain bikes now and some spare parts. That will have to do as long as they last.

    From the news I’m reading, there’s a fair bit of ‘rattlin going on and it’s not looking too good. But then again, it never is. There’s just no way to to stop a flush when the levers been pulled.

  • February 7, 2007 at 12:23 pm
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    Yeah, some people think that preparing for the crash means buying land and learning to live off the grid and have a garden. Well, they also better have some weapons. Do they think that roving bands of starving people are just gonna pass by his place and not touch any of that food growing in the garden b/c it’s not theirs? Yeah, right.

  • February 7, 2007 at 12:41 pm
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    Roving bands of armed, starving people. It’s one of the problems with any food storage / food growing or ecovillage. Nobody can stop a determined crowd. But having food will be better then not having food. Otherwise, you’ll be one of those in the crowd.

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