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Drought, Rising Temperatures
Ignite Food Prices
By Frosty Wooldridge

When it comes to proactive action as to feeding, watering and housing America’s burgeoning population, most of America’s leaders fell asleep at the wheel and continue their slumber into 2012.  Not one single, solitary senator, House member or the United States of America’s president will connect carbon footprint, overpopulation or our enormous burning of 22 million barrels of oil daily—with global climate destabilization.  Globally, humans burn 84 million barrels of oil and billions of tons of coal daily.

Our carbon footprint grows beyond comprehension.  It heats up the atmosphere. It acidifies our oceans. It creates an imbalance for all living creatures on Earth.

No matter how much drought, heat waves and tornadoes scorch and destroy areas around the United States; everyone stands like deer in the headlights in denial of the oncoming train.  It’s fascinating to watch mass denial, collective myopic behavior and vacant leadership.

The United States is horrifically overpopulated and unsustainable

Publisher Marilyn Hempel of the Population Press, , encourages top leaders to educate Americans to what we all face in the future if we continue down our endless growth path.

In this piece, imminent environmental leader and author of Plan B, 4.0, Saving Civilization, Lester Brown speaks about our rising temperatures.

“Over the last two months, the price of corn has been climbing,” said Brown. “On July 19th, it exceeded $8 per bushel for the first time, taking the world into a new food price terrain. With heat and drought still smothering the Corn Belt, we may well see more all-time highs in coming weeks as the extent of crop damage becomes clearer. This is not the way it was supposed to be. This spring farmers planted a record 96 million acres of corn. An early spring got the crop off to a great start, leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to project the largest corn harvest in history.

“On June 12th, the USDA projected the U.S. harvest would hit a record 376 million tons. But the drought conditions that had initially been confined to the country’s southwest began to spread and intensify. In its next monthly report on July 11th, the USDA reduced its projection to 329 million tons of corn, down by 12 percent or 47 million tons. This was a huge drop in only one month. Yet in the end the actual decline may be closer to 30 percent, or roughly 100 million tons—double the USDA estimated drop.”

Why is this happening?  Answer: the crops are being cooked in the soil via heat and no rain.  Has that prompted humans to lower their fossil fuel burning?  On the contrary, humans burn more and more each day as they add a 250,000 more members to the human heard and 80 million net gain annually.

“There are several reasons for the large reduction in the harvest estimate. One is record high temperatures,” said Brown. “Nationwide, the first half of this year was the hottest on record. Thousands of record daily temperature highs were set locally. In St. Louis, Missouri, which is in the southern part of the U.S. Corn Belt, in late June and early July there were 10 consecutive days with temperatures of 100­108 degrees.

“Intense heat also disrupts pollination. Corn is particularly vulnerable because of its complex pollination system. The tassel at the top of a corn plant releases pollen, which must fall on each strand of silk coming out of the ear of corn and travel to the kernel site, where fertilization occurs. If it is too hot, the silk will turn brown and dry out, leaving the pollen with no chance of reaching its destination.”

Brown continued, “What happens to the U.S. corn crop, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the global harvest, concerns the entire world. Of the big three grains—corn, wheat, and rice—the corn harvest is now by far the largest, totaling near 900 million tons compared with less than 700 million tons for wheat and 460 million tons for rice. Wheat and rice are the world’s food staples, while corn is the feedgrain for livestock and poultry.

“We are looking at a future of rising food prices driven by rising temperatures. Heat waves and droughts like that of 2012 in the United States are projected to become more frequent as the planet heats up. Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), a heat-trapping gas, have increased 20 percent since 1970 and are continuing to rise.”

Humanity faces growing food shortages as its numbers grow by 80 million annually and 1 billion added every 12 years

“A report published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded that if atmospheric CO2 climbs from the current level of 391 parts per million (ppm) to above 450 ppm, the world will face irreversible rainfall reductions in several regions,” said Brown. “The study likened the conditions that will develop to those of the U.S. Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Already the world’s drought-afflicted area has expanded from below 20 percent of total land area a half century ago to closer to 25 percent in recent years. Future food security may depend more on new energy and population policies than on any agricultural policy we can conceive.”

Brown says that we don’t know the unchartered territory that we blindly and at our own folly continue speeding toward.  The human race expects to add three billion more people to the planet within 38 years, but doesn’t have a clue as to how to feed that enormous human herd.  Americans need to rethink immigration, population, water, food and resources before they find themselves in the same boat as current day India, Mexico, China and Indochina.  The United States needs to boldly, methodically and intelligently move toward a mandated “national stabilized population policy” in order to give future generations a chance at a reasonable life of food, resources, water and energy.

How will the United States feed, water, warm and house its own additions of 138 million people in the face of prolonged droughts?  Answer: we won’t.  That’s why we need to change course.

Lester R. Brown is President of Earth Policy Institute and author of Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity (release date: October 1, 2012). Data and additional resources at

Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America.  His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click:



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