Feeding Everyone No Matter What
|Authors||David Denkenberger, Joshua M. Pearce|
Food storage for the entire global population is the only historical solution for a global disruption of conventional agriculture due to global catastrophes such as abrupt climate change and nuclear winter, despite three decades of awareness of the problem. But for large global catastrophes, at least five years of supplies are needed because agriculture would be hampered for that time. This large of a stockpile is economically prohibitive on a global scale or even within the US. The number of global catastrophes that apply is large and the book analyzed five crop-destroying catastrophes (sudden climate change, super-weeds, super-bacteria, super-pests and super-pathogens) and three sunlight-extinguishing events (supervolcano eruption, asteroid or comet impact, and nuclear winter).
The book Feeding Everyone No Matter What proposes more than 10 solutions for providing the global food supply according to Discovery News.
The study that is the foundation of the book involves interdisciplinarity and gives instructions for the survivalism movement. Feeding Everyone No Matter What has been covered extensively by the international media. Io9 writes that it takes into account potential realistic scenarios, such as crop blights and nuclear winter. Seeker covered some of the foods recommended for a catastrophe. Michigan Tech News interviewed author Joshua Pearce on the solutions presented in the book.
Feeding Everyone No Matter What is also known by organizations working on the prevention of Global Catastrophic Risks. Future of Life Institute published an article by author Dave Denkenberger and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk published his lecture on the book. Feeding Everyone No Matter What was used as a resource in the Global Challenges Foundation Annual Report on Global Risks.
Feeding Everyone No Matter What proposes a fall-back plan for the worst catastrophes such as a Supervolcano erupting. It outlines the cost-effectiveness of alternative foods for disaster preparedness. Science, goes over the book's plan for feeding everyone in the case of the sun being blocked. Alternative foods can be developed to respond to agriculturally damaging catastrophes all over the world. The Global Catastrophic Risk Institute sees this as one piece of the assessing and preparing for Global catastrophic risks.
The authors, David Denkenberger and Joshua Pearce, claim alternate food sources could feed everyone even if the sun is blocked by catastrophes like nuclear winter, supervolcano eruption, or large asteroid/comet impact. At first this appears unlikely because malnutrition and hunger-related disease now kill 6.5 million children under five years old each year. This is because the book focuses on what is technically possible and assumes global cooperation. The solutions also address crises including abrupt climate change, super weeds, super crop pests (animals, e.g. insects), super bacteria (e.g. disrupts beneficial bacteria) and super crop pathogens. The solution using fossil fuel energy source is natural gas digesting bacteria.
A solution if the sun is not completely blocked is ocean fertilization because 0.1% of the ocean area undergoes coastal upwelling (bringing nutrients to the surface) and yet this produces 50% of the world's fish catch. Ruminants and other grazers can digest dietary fiber, but do not have enough offspring to feed everyone within 5 years. Mushrooms can grow directly on wood without sunlight. Some beetles can digest cellulose.
Cellulosic biofuel production typically already creates sugar as an intermediate product. There are edible calories in leaves, but there is too much dietary fiber, so solutions include making tea, chewing and not swallowing the solids, and making leaf protein concentrate. Biomass can be predigested by bacteria so that animals that are not good at digesting cellulose can derive nutrition, such as rats and possibly chickens.
As a backup plan, it is even possible that humans could eat this predigested biomass. In a sun-obscuring crisis, stored food would last the human population less than one year. The book shows how many of these solutions can be ramped up in less than one year.
This book also addresses other issues, including energy supply, water supply, forest products, human nutrition, and preserving endangered species. Furthermore, the book gives instructions for the prepper movement.
The authors themselves admitted a potential moral hazard with publishing the solutions, as for example Mikhail Gorbachev would explicitly state that a motivating factor for reducing the nuclear arsenal of the USSR was the concept of nuclear winter, however the politician would neglect to mention the primary "politically incorrect" factor, which was the crumbling Soviet economy could no longer pay for its militarism.
However, despite the popularity of the concept of "nuclear winter", there is a clear and present threat of anthropogenic abrupt climate change and the results of efforts to prevent global climate change have been ineffective. In their analysis, Denkenberger and Pearce argue that the benefits of a food solution backup plan would reduce overall harm to humanity in the global catastrophes over which control is possible and could reduce the damages associated with catastrophes over which humanity has very little or no control (e.g. supervolcanoes).
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