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We will have famine in America,
maybe by 2050,
caused by a shortage of diesel fuel
delivered to farmers,
a shortage that will prevent them
from planting and harvesting
enough crops
to feed America.

Hubbert's curve

U. S. population growth projection  

Look at the charts.

We only have one method,
for feeding the vast majority
of 300 million Americans.

Diesel fuel
in tractors and combines
and trucks and trains.

Less diesel fuel,
less food.

How will we feed
425 million Americans
in the year 2050?

That is the burning question.

I'm so frustrated.

I love my fellow left wing liberal Democrats,
but the focus on climate change,
when nothing about climate change
threatens to kill millions of Americans,
and famine from lack of diesel fuel
does threaten
to kill
millions of Americans,
that focus on climate change
makes me feel very frustrated.

I'm reading a book on cancer;
I bought the book at Amazon,
after reading a diary here at Daily Kos
about the book:

Living Downstream

With this eloquent and impassioned book, biologist and poet Sandra Steingraber shoulders the legacy of Rachel Carson, producing a work about people and land, cancer and the environment, that is as accessible and invaluable as Silent Spring--and potentially as historic.

caused by synthetic chemical carcinogens,
most of them petrochemicals,
is killing millions of Americans
every year,
millions who would not have died of cancer,
if they had not been exposed to those chemicals,
and millions more
who beat the cancers they get,
but at a great cost in suffering through the treatment.

Fighting the use of petrochemicals,
because of the cancer they cause,
seems more urgent
than fighting about production of greenhouse gasses,
since the folks are dying of cancer now,
and the climate change will kill Americans....
exactly how?
Exactly when?

But the worst disaster
to ever hit America
will be the famines
resulting from the shortage
of diesel fuel
in America.

Go back to the top of the diary,
and look at the two charts again.

Oil production,
is going down,

Population in America,
is going up,

By the way,
the reason I focus on America,
is that there are always reports of famines
in other places around the world,
and Americans,
the folks of my home country,
pretty much ignore all that.

And I can't get a clear picture
of what's really happening
in places like Africa.

I read so many different things,
and I can't see any clear statements
I can make to you
about any of those places,
or about the world as a whole.

But I feel I know a great deal about America,
I feel I know what a diesel powered tractor is,
what a diesel powered combine is.

I've known a few farmers,
here and there,
I've watched a few farm programs on TV,
I live in the middle of Kansas,
for cryin out loud.

When I was a young child,
I visited my grandma's farm,
each summer.

I've seen a little
of how it's done,
at least the old fashioned,
small scale farming,
growing about an acre of fruits and veggies,
for your family.

Which brings me to my own, current,
backyard garden.

First of all,
I feel that we humans in general,
at least me in particular,
need animal protein and fat.

It's the most practical way
to stay healthy.

That makes it a challenge
to feed myself and my family
using just the back yard.

I intend to build a chicken coop,
and eat the eggs from the two or three chickens
living in our little chicken coop.

unless I find a way
to produce the ideal food
for my chickens
from my back yard,
I'll be forced to buy chicken feed
from a feed store,
chicken feed produced by a big, commercial farmer,
who used diesel fuel,
and petrochemical bug killer and weed killer,
to get me my chicken feed for my chickens.

That's our challenge,
to feed ourselves,
without that big oil input.

The first thing to do,
the most important key
to feeding everyone,
is to quickly reduce
the population of America.

I say quickly,
and folks think I want to kill someone.

But killing folks
makes the survivors
breed like rabbits.

in addition to the obvious fact
that this whole diary
is about making life better in America,
and killing lots of folks
would make life worse,
but in addition to that obvious fact,
in the long run,
just increases the population,
and makes the coming famine
that much worse.

The only killing I would even consider
would be assisted suicide,
when things get really bad,
and food is carefully rationed,
I can visualize some Americans,
especially those older than 80 and ill,
who might go on a hunger strike,
and name a younger American,
and tell the world,
my ration of food
can go to that younger citizen,
and I'll just bow out gracefully.

I can visualize myself doing that,
if things get truly desperate,
when I'm over 80,
and if I'm ill.

I truly want to tell young folks,
anyone considering having even one child,
I want to tell them,
if you have that child,
if you bring even that one child into this world,
you inspire me to kill myself,
by way of refusing my ration of food,
and giving that food to your child;
I want young folks to imagine that trade-off,
I want them to feel profoundly guilty,
guilty for even considering
bringing any children at all
into the world
at this point in history,
as we run short on oil.

That's what I want to do.

I want every American
to get surgically sterilized,
and have no babies at all,
for the next twenty years,
then start having a few,



Look at the charts again.

But lets turn our attention
to the present,
and the glimmer of hope
I can present to you,
in the form of my backyard garden.

I haven't yet learned
how to take the pictures from my phone,
and put them in Photobucket or other site,
and post them here,
so I'll try to use my skills as a poet
to paint my picture with words.

One plot is about 4' x 16',
and it has a thick jungle of
green bean plants,
full of white blooms,
and many small pods already showing,
yellow wax beans,
full of lavender colored blooms,
and many small pods already showing,
more than the green bean plants,
in that long plot,
we have cucumbers vines,
those panted a month ago
spreading like crazy,
with lots of yellow blooms,
and another 4' row,
just planted a week ago,
coming up,
2" tall,
and at the end,
a short row of cabbage
(my earlier cabbage planting failed)
and a short row of tomatoes,
from planting seeds,
not from buying small plants at the store,
and some potatoes,
from planting shriveled potatoes
found in the house.

In a smaller plot,
3' x 4',
we have watermelon and cantaloupe;
the cantaloupe seeds we planted are from
a melon we ate,
and saved the seeds,
months ago.

A smaller plot yet,
2' x 3',
has yellow squash,
and zucchini squash.

A three foot diameter circular plot
has onion sets,
about 35 of them,
growing quite well.

I'm becoming addicted;
I want to keep planting,
more and more,
and watching the plants come up,
lush and green,
and think about eating their fruit:
cucumbers sliced
and covered with ranch dressing,
green beans and wax beans,
cooked in bacon fat,
zucchini and yellow squash and onions and potatoes,
boiled in a pot with a whole chicken,
and seasonings.



I forgot to write about wind and solar and nuclear.

The President said,
all of the above,
and I agree.

I like those sources of energy.

But those things are for making electricity.

I like electricity,
and I want lots of nuclear power plants, built,

And I want wind and solar equipment
covering America,
North to South,
East to West.

unless we have really great batteries,
and have thousands of those batteries made yesterday
and unless we magically build thousands of
electric combines and
electric tractors,
to use those great batteries,
all that nuclear and wind and solar
will not feed
400 million Americans,
or even 300 million Americans.

I gotta get to bed.

Thanks for reading.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:00:10 PM PDT

  •  This is my chicken tractor (19+ / 0-)

    It's a portable chicken coop that you can drag wherever you want it to be, giving fresh grass etc to the chickens, which they conveniently eat, clear, and dig up for you, tilling it with manure. Thus, it replaces a diesel tractor in improving the soil. Takes longer and more planning, but you get your weeding done and your chickens fed in a single go.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:17:51 PM PDT

    •  If your chickens are kept in there at night (3+ / 0-)

      you might want to think about attaching a wire apron to the perimeter, to deter predators who try to dig in. Of course, if you shut your chickens up securely in the "box" part of the tractor at night, that takes care of that problem, too.

      It's unlikely that chickens confined to such a small area will be able to get enough nutrients without supplementing their diets, even if you're moving the tractor every day.

      •  The chickens are shut up in the box part (5+ / 0-)

        at night for precisely the reason you describe.

        This particular tractor is 5' x 10' and it contains a few bantams. I do supplement, however. It takes them about a week to dig up a section, and I like them to dig at it after the food is gone.

        I have other chickens out in electric netting enclosures, but they're not as good at concentrating the tractor energy on a bed.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:35:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can't have chickens where we're renting (8+ / 0-)

    But I do have a container garden. Lots of tomatoes this year. We're considering planting cantaloupe and some melons. With the success of the tomatoes we'll probably be adding some other vegetables and herbs next year. We have to add a little at a time due to budget constraints. Next year we'll have what we have plus what we can afford to add. Ditto the year after, etc. That's how we manage holiday decorations as well. We started basic, add a bit more every year.

    We also just bought a reel mower, a people powered mower, one of the old fashioned kind (but a LOT lighter, this thing weighs about 16 lbs). Our yard isn't large, it's a quiet mower that even my autistic hyper sensitive son can use, and it's good exercise with a very low carbon foot print. It was also made in the US. If it wasn't raining my son would be back out with it this afternoon.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:25:49 PM PDT

  •  I'd love to have chickens. (4+ / 0-)

    Zoning doesn't allow it. I have almost 2 acres.

    I love having a garden, but don't have one because of the damn deer. The state no longer takes care of the overpopulation, hell they leave dead deer on the side of the road to rot now.

    The DNR site for the state has referrals to deer removal. The state used to manage it and take care of it. I have fencing. Doesn't matter, deer are on my patio, on my pool deck, walking on my porches and killing my plants. I hate them. I'd shoot them myself, but that is illegal.

    •  I won't go so far as to say.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac, WheninRome

        ..I hate them, but I'm a long, long way from liking those garden-stomping, spinach-munching flea bags.

         There are deer hunters who stay at a cabin next door, I tell them, "Just shoot them all, and line them up. At the end of the weekend, take what you want, and let the rest rot......"

      Compost for a greener piles?

      by Hoghead99 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:48:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not "flea bags," (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        bu "tick bags."

        I think deer are gorgeous. They've also totally infested my property with deer ticks. They come in from the back 20 of our woodlot and leave their little visitors to crawl onto my shoes and up my pants or drop off nearby saplings whenever I step off the porch onto my yard to empty the compost, cut herbs or tend the chickens. I don't dare leave the safety of my home without long pants tucked into socks, muck boots, longsleeved tee and hat, all sprayed with repellent.

        And I STILL get ticks on me. Four tick bites this year, sofar, one of which sent me to the ER for antibiotics.

        A local hunter bagged an eight-point buck last year. The ticks were so thick on that poor animal that you couldn't see the backs of its ears.

        Not only is nature cruel, but sometimes she's downright disgusting.

        "The truth will set you free...but first it'll piss you off." - Gloria Steinem

        by Sharoney on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 06:59:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Malthus will be avenged! (3+ / 0-)

    So if everyone in the dust belt starts raising poultry, can the Chickenado be far behind.

  •  Not as Big a Problem as Climate Change and Water (6+ / 0-)

    -Reduce meat production by 80%. Most crops (diesel usage) are used as animal feed.
    -Subsidize local, small farms and agricultural education.
    -Stop ethanol fuel additive requirement.
    -Heavily subsidize EV vehicle adoption.
    -Phase out gasoline engines.
    -Convert empty lots and factories into aquaponics farms and greenhouses.
    -Build humane dormitories and establish cheap transportation between cities and farms for agricultural workers.
    -Change zoning laws to allow for chickens and small livestock.
    -Change our crops. Many "weeds" are actually easy to grow, nutritious plants. We're surrounded by food, but lack the knowledge to recognize and use it. Despite all of the rhetoric about being independent and personally responsible, government and corporations do not want that and have done everything to prevent it from happening. The ideal citizen is an infinitely replaceable ignorant, addict willing to work for free. That's capitalism.

    Feeding people with diesel will still be easy in 40 years, all other things being constant but petroleum and considering where fertilizer comes from. It's a matter of priority, de-centralization (fractal economies), change in food type consumption, and giving up factory farming. Insects could also subsidize nutrition once certain hurdles are cleared. We'll be taking one or two steps back or forward depending on values, but it can be done.

    Last I recall, many countries are on a negative growth rate. Humans live a long time, so it will take a while for the absolute numbers to reduce.

    Climate change will acidify oceans, strain water resources, make fertile land barren, etc... We can't feed people if our means to do so are being taken away; which is what you are trying to say with diesel. Climate change will do what you fear. The difference is we only have one climate, but we have many options on agriculture and energy.

    •  Ooops...As I Think Back to Earth Science (3+ / 0-)

      We have many climates. :) We only have one Earth which supports those many climates. But you get the gist of the argument.

    •  If the areas where methane is stored thaw... (5+ / 0-)

      nothing will matter. The issue today for many is whether they survive long enough to worry about climate change.

      We need activities are less dependent on oil or diesel. Watching a boater pulling his children behind him for nearly 2 hours... Do we expect people to give up what gives them pleasure.  

      We need economies  that are less dependent on everyone having every piece of crap they can turn out so people have we need new ways of distributing what there is to be distributed ... ways that include other races and other nationalities ... even the fricking poor for petes sake because people who aren't poor keep a better handle on their populations which means women being more then baby machines... we need to all quit relying on a wage to buy food we could grow saving huge amounts in transport and avoiding the negatives of conglomerate farming (fertilizers and pesticides....which means better city and home design ... speaking of which we need less lawns and more energy efficient living space....  

      We need to be willing to work a little more raising our own food and without conveniences and toys... But any savings will only last a short time without real thoughtful changes in how we live and  how we give people a life of joy .... NOT some dreary meticulously defined measured existence ordered by others view of what life should be... Gray world with subscribed boundaries.... Many would rather die sooner then turn their lives into someone else's idea of perfection. And what we need to do requires a huge majority to agree.

      I am working on my son... He is a republican and for a long time denied GW but now he is at stage where he accepts it is happening but doesn't believe mankind is causing it. Nevertheless he is looking for ways to cut his energy use and conserve. I can extra garden stuff and he gets it from me... he likes it better. We talk about preserving and gardening and not having a wasteful damn lawn that uses land and water that could help our food situation and fight GW by reducing transportation costs. Not that I say anything about that because his very livelihood depends on Semi trucks hauling stuff from point A to point B and then hauling something back from B to A.  This is an issue that many don't know how to work out of... I think they know mankind is on a fatal track but the price of stopping activities means that careers can end, homes can be lost and children can go hungry.

      Personally I think we should can the primate shit throwing behavior and actually spend time spreading ideas instead of attacking those who don't march to our drummer. We are like people who can only see the truth by looking at it through a small hole.... We each can only see a small part and much of our ability to survive depends on feeling confident that we see it all. But NO ONE sees all the truth so we have to start talking with out attacking each other or our framed vision that restricts our sight might cause us all to fall into the abyss that no one wants to look at.

      Whether we like it or not I am more convinced every day that we are facing a major die back. I hope it is not a flip to a methane atmosphere which some news is hinting more and more often. My motto "Do the best you can"

      Fear is the Mind Killer...

      by boophus on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:40:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  excellent comment (0+ / 0-)

      you, sir, are a (wo_-)man of vision.
       no rec button, so i said it in words.

      i hope your ideas become commonnplace reality, asap!

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 03:01:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I grow tomatoes in my windowsills (6+ / 0-)

    and have composting worms in a bin in the kitchen. That's all I can do in a small studio apartment, but it's a start. Someday I hope to have a place for a garden.

  •  Urban Chicken Movement May Be a Bad Idea (3+ / 0-)

    Slate article

    Besides the many and obvious drawbacks to the scheme pointed out in the piece, many animal control services are being called upon to capture and eliminate the chickens "abandoned" by their owners too squeamish to eat the hens that stop laying, which they do after 18 mos to 2 years, instead of undertaking the expense of keeping them properly for their entire lifespans, which averages 5 years+.

    You really want to stink up your kitchen, furniture, and window treatments with the powerful stench of gutted chickens, burnt feathers, and scalded flesh?  All of which must be endured if you eat your backyard butchering.

    Many backyard chicken keepers are reluctant to clean the pet dog's droppings; I don't see them having a change of heart when it comes to their pet chickens' ditto.

    This is a fad that sounds good at first blush but doesn't withstand reasonable and thorough examination of the unintended consequences.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:26:19 PM PDT

  •  I'd heard of ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    someone that had a very small catfish pond, and hanging over the pond was a chicken coop, so the chicken poop would be pretty much the food for the catfish, keeping the pond clean and feeding the chickens with ... I guess nitrogen rich food.

    I do not know if this is urban legend or not -- or more appropriately - rural legend.

  •  You don't need to buy commercial chicken (5+ / 0-)

    feed, and I would encourage you not to buy most of the typical brands: they're ghastly stuff.

    Some people make their own chicken feed, and it's not that difficult. You can get recipes from

    I would definitely recommend that you look into composting with black soldier fly grubs, the kind of worms they use in BioPods. I have a spontaneous colony working in our conventional composter right now. You would not believe how fast those grubs process what's in there.

    Because I compost chicken manure, I don't feed the grubs back to our chickens. But if you set up a separate composter with your food scraps and garden waste, you could be producing grubs as an excellent source of protein for your chickens.

    Do your homework first, before you get the chickens. There is a great deal of variation between chicken breeds. Find the breed that best matches your requirements and the climate you live in. Every year chickens die from heat stroke because their owners had no clue that the big, fluffy breed they picked couldn't tolerate the high temperatures that build up in the tiny, unventilated coops they picked and stuck in full sun. Gah.

    Upthread, I wrote about rescuing a chicken that had been abandoned in our neighborhood. Obviously, the neighbor failed to do even minimal research when they picked an American gamefowl for their tiny urban backyard coop. This breed doesn't tolerate confinement well, but is an excellent free ranger.

  •  This makes me think of the charity I donate to. (2+ / 0-)

    They provide people around the world with livestock like chickens or goats. This provides food and even some cash from selling excess. I love that. There are so many good ideas. Thanks for your info.

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:45:23 PM PDT

  •  There's no need to be frustrated (4+ / 0-)

    about the focus on climate change. It directs people's energy to the same activities that will help mitigate the effects of peak oil.

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:31:33 PM PDT

  •  We kept chickens years ago...... (2+ / 0-)

       Banty chickens, about the most brainless critter the good Lord ever blew breath into. Totally stupid. But the eggs! Oh the eggs had golden, I mean it, golden yolks. They were free range, but we didn't know that at the time, it's just the normal way to keep fowl, letting them eat bugs and whatever.

       I have taken an anti-chicken oath. No more for me! My neighbor raises them, and I buy from him.

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:56:14 PM PDT

  •  One more thing...... (2+ / 0-)

       Hey, just my 2 cents, but I think if I had to provide all the food for the three of us, it'd amount to about 50 hours a week, and there'd be many fewer squirrels hereabouts!

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:58:07 PM PDT

  •  My organic farm, started just last year on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    land I inherited from my parents, is selling veggies at the local farmers' market this year. Next year we'll sell eggs, and maybe aquaponically-raised fish. Perhaps goat cheese down the road a bit. It's run by family and friends... our way of keeping the land clean, healthy, productive and free from development. And, if necessary, it's small enough to be farmed with an old-fashioned, animal-drawn plow.

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