Fracking and Food Systems in the Time of Peak Oil

Philadelphia, September 2011Last Wednesday while executives from the Marcellus Shale Coalition met inside the Philadelphia Convention Center, I joined several hundred activists outside to rally against high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, aka “fracking.”  This relatively new natural-gas extraction process is at the center of a growing tension: the urgency to discover new, “unconventional” fuel sources to replace diminishing conventional fossil fuel supplies, and the process required to adequately assess potential environmental and human health risks before embracing new energy sources.

In some communities where fracking is underway, alarm has been raised because fracking has been implicated in public health risks, tainting drinking water supplies and more recently even poisoning animals raised for food.  (This chart explains fracking’s potential impacts on agriculture.) Read More >

Peak Oil, Food Systems, Irene, Debt and Deadlines

Last month I watched in amazement as a small but inflammatory political faction forced its agenda on the American people—and got results.  The debt-ceiling advocates bullied the issue into Congress using two powerful tools—threats and a deadline.

Our food system depends on petroleum

Standing in line at the Giant last Friday, I reflected on our collective ability to mobilize for deadlines.  “This is not a storm to be taken lightly,” said Governor O’Malley to Marylanders, and we didn’t. We loaded up coolers of ice and refrigerators full of food, double-staked the tomatoes, charged the electronics, filled bathtubs with water, even put away patio furniture in case it might fly into the air and smash our windows. “I just scored the last eight D batteries in Baltimore!,” crowed a friend on Facebook. Read More >