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Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1350 on: December 12, 2018, 07:47:51 PM »
Domoic Acid produced by a diatom has repeatedly shut down parts of the Dungeness Crab season for the last several years. Yes we expect the diatom population to increase in toxicity as acidification advances but quantifying the amount of that increase isn't possible yet IMO . Also the boats we use to catch crab burn substantial amounts of fossil fuel so when fishermen start talking about going back to sail I will take their climate change lawsuits as a legitimate concern for the enviornment.


vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1351 on: December 13, 2018, 01:00:48 AM »
Big Picture Look at Climate Change Impact On US Agriculture: Midwest at Risk
https://m.phys.org/news/2018-12-big-picture-climate-impact-agriculture.html

Quote
The paper, "Growing Climatic Sensitivity of U.S. Agriculture Linked to Technological Change and Regional Specialization" published in Science Advances, pinpoints the specific regions in the U.S. that are growing more sensitive to extreme climate shocks. The area of greatest concern is the Midwest, where rain-fed field crops like corn and soybeans have become increasingly vulnerable to warmer summers.

The results show a clear escalation in climate sensitivity in the Midwest between two distinct time periods. In the 1960s and '70s, a 2-degree Celsius rise in temperature during the summer resulted in an 11 percent drop in productivity. After the 1983, however, the same rise in temperature caused productivity to drop 29 percent.

 While these damaging summer conditions usually only occur six percent of the time, the researchers indicate that an additional 1-degree Celsius warming would more than quadruple their frequency to roughly one of every four years.
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"Losing almost half your profit every four years? That's a big loss," said Ortiz-Bobea, a fellow at Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. "Specialization in crop production is a compounding factor" ... "Most of the agriculture in the Midwest is corn and soybeans. And that's even more true today than it was 40 years ago," ... "That has implications for the resilience to climate of that region, because they're basically putting all their eggs in one basket, and that basket is getting more sensitive."


Predicted productivity changes from summer temperature change. 

 http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/12/eaat4343 

-------------------------

Vanishing Nutrients: 2 Billion People Worldwide Suffer from “Hidden Hunger,” in which People are Malnourished Even Though They Consume Enough Calories 
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2018/12/vanishing-nutrients-2-billion-people.html

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... Studies have shown that crops as varied as wheat, maize, soybeans and field peas contain less protein, zinc, and iron when grown under levels of carbon dioxide expected by 2050. Many crops have already suffered losses in these nutrients; one study compared modern plants with historical herbarium specimens and found that levels of all minerals, including zinc, iron, and calcium, closely tracked carbon dioxide levels through time.

The latest paper on the topic, published earlier this year in Science Advances, found that concentrations of essential nutrients decreased in 18 strains of rice after being exposed to increased carbon dioxide levels in an experiment. The study was the first to show that B vitamins like riboflavin, which helps your body break down food to make energy, and folate, which is important for fetal development, dropped by as much as 30 percent.

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaaq1012 

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaaq1012/tab-figures-data 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 01:23:08 AM by vox_mundi »
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vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1352 on: December 17, 2018, 04:22:30 AM »
Industrial Fisheries Are Starving Seabirds All Around the World
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-12/uobc-ifa120518.php

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  In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers found that annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million tonnes between 1970 and 2010. Meanwhile, fisheries increased their catches of potential seabird prey from an average of 59 million tonnes in the 1970s and 80s to 65 million tonnes per year in recent years.

"Fisheries persist in starving a vanishing seabird community, like a boa tightening its grip on prey," said David Grémillet, lead author of the study and a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research. "Despite the fact that the world's seabird community is shrinking, the level of competition between seabirds and fisheries remained the same between the 1970-1980s and 1990-2000s."

 This diminished food supply is putting seabirds at risk - making them the most threatened bird group - with a 70 per cent community-level population decline in the past seven decades.

"Since the 1970s and 80s, we've lost a quarter of all penguins and nearly half of the terns and frigatebirds," said Grémillet. "Meanwhile, seabird-fishery competition continues to increase in areas such as the Asian shelves, Mediterranean Sea, Norwegian Sea and the Californian coast."
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... not only are seabirds starving to death as they engage in unfair competition for food with massive vessels, but they are also getting tangled in fishing gears and on the large amounts of plastic waste floating on the world's oceans.

"On top of this, they are threatened by oil pollution, the introduction of non-native predators to their colonies, the destruction and changes to their habitats by human activity and environmental and ecological changes caused by climate change. If we don't do anything, seabird populations are going to collapse"
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1353 on: December 17, 2018, 02:47:33 PM »
Warmer Winters Threaten UK Blackcurrant Farming
https://m.phys.org/news/2018-12-warmer-winters-threaten-uk-blackcurrant.html

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... Speaking at the British Ecological Society's annual meeting in Birmingham today, a research group based at the James Hutton Institute highlights that milder winters may cause blackcurrant crops to flower later in the year, produce fewer fruit, and over repeated years, have a reduced plant lifespan.

"Blackcurrants have particularly high chill requirements and so are already seeing the effects of milder winters", said Dr. Katharine Preedy from Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland.

A key crop worth about £10 million a year to the UK economy, blackcurrants are primarily processed as an ingredient and juice for major brands like Ribena (brand value at £140 million).
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"Blackcurrants are like the canary in the mine. If we can understand what they need in a changing climate, we can apply our knowledge to similar crops like blueberries, cherries, apples and plums" 
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1354 on: December 19, 2018, 10:04:31 PM »
Base of the food chain is crapping out (see also: Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report 2015 to 2019) ...

Lower Oxygen Levels To Impact the Oceanic Food Chain
https://phys.org/news/2018-12-oxygen-impact-oceanic-food-chain.html

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A new study published in Science Advances finds just the slightest change in oxygen level could have tremendous ramifications on the food chain. Rising temperatures are causing mid-water regions with very low oxygen, known as Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs), to expand in the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean. While some organisms in certain regions may be able to adapt, researchers found those living in OMZs likely cannot as they're already pushed to their physiological limits.

"These animals have evolved a tremendous ability to extract and use the small amount of oxygen available in their environment," said study author Brad Seibel, Ph.D., professor of biological oceanography at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. "Even so, we found that natural reductions in oxygen levels of less than 1% were sufficient to exclude most species or alter their distribution."

Seibel was chief scientist of the expedition that studied the physiological tolerance of animals across a range of oxygen values. He found that animals in this region had a tremendous tolerance for low oxygen, but that they were living at oxygen values near their evolved limits. Thus, small oxygen changes had a substantial impact on the abundance and distribution of most species. Further climate-related deoxygenation may dramatically alter these marine ecosystems.

Open Access: K. F. Wishner, et.al., "Ocean deoxygenation and zooplankton: Very small oxygen differences matter" Science Advances (2018)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 10:35:20 PM by vox_mundi »
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vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1355 on: December 27, 2018, 04:36:58 PM »
European Wheat Lacks Climate Resilience
https://phys.org/news/2018-12-european-wheat-lacks-climate-resilience.html

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... Current breeding programmes and cultivar selection practices do not sufficiently prepare for climatic uncertainty and variability, the authors state in a paper recently published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Not only that, the response diversity of wheat on farmers' fields in most European countries has worsened in the past five to fifteen years, depending on country.

Researchers predict that greater variability and extremeness of local weather conditions will lead to reduced yields in wheat and increased yield variability.

"Needless to say, decreased yields are not conducive to food security, but higher yield variability also poses problems. It can lead to a market with greater speculation and price volatility. This may threaten stable access to food by the poor, which in turn can enhance political instability and migration," Jørgen E. Olesen points out.
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The yield responses of all cultivars to different weather events were relatively similar within northern and central Europe, and within southern European countries—the latter particularly with regard to durum wheat. There were serious gaps in wheat resilience across all Europe, especially with regard to yield performance under abundant rain.

Rain, drought, heat or cold at vulnerable times during the growing season can seriously damage yields. Wheat yield is generally sensitive to even a few days of exposure to waterlogging and to wet weather that favours disease. In addition, heat stress rather than drought sensitivity appears to be a limiting factor for adaptation of wheat to climate change in Europe.



Helena Kahiluoto et al, Decline in climate resilience of European wheat, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018)
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/12/18/1804387115
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Abstract
Food security relies on the resilience of staple food crops to climatic variability and extremes, but the climate resilience of European wheat is unknown. A diversity of responses to disturbance is considered a key determinant of resilience. The capacity of a sole crop genotype to perform well under climatic variability is limited; therefore, a set of cultivars with diverse responses to weather conditions critical to crop yield is required. Here, we show a decline in the response diversity of wheat in farmers’ fields in most European countries after 2002–2009 based on 101,000 cultivar yield observations. Similar responses to weather were identified in cultivar trials among central European countries and southern European countries. A response diversity hotspot appeared in the trials in Slovakia, while response diversity “deserts” were identified in Czechia and Germany and for durum wheat in southern Europe. Positive responses to abundant precipitation were lacking. This assessment suggests that current breeding programs and cultivar selection practices do not sufficiently prepare for climatic uncertainty and variability. Consequently, the demand for climate resilience of staple food crops such as wheat must be better articulated. Assessments and communication of response diversity enable collective learning across supply chains. Increased awareness could foster governance of resilience through research and breeding programs, incentives, and regulation.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1356 on: December 28, 2018, 06:15:48 PM »
If course, anything that resists change will decline.  What the authors failed to note is the large increase in wheat yields of the past decades, due to breeding programs.  These increases more than compensate for predicted declines, and I no reason to expect this to stop.  Nothing stays the same, and making future predictions based on past products is a recipe for failure itself.

TerryM

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1357 on: December 28, 2018, 08:33:07 PM »
Fortunately, Russian non-GMO wheat exports are up another 50% year on year.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/the-russian-wheat-export-trade-and-dry-bulk-market/

Russia intends to increase her grain exporting capacity by ~1/3 by 2020, two years earlier than previously expected.

Russia has been the worlds leading wheat exporter since 2016, and has captured more than half of the world's wheat market becoming the worlds biggest exporter of grain.

https://www.rt.com/business/443543-russia-wheat-exports-fifty-surge/
Terry

Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1358 on: December 28, 2018, 09:59:32 PM »
If course, anything that resists change will decline.  What the authors failed to note is the large increase in wheat yields of the past decades, due to breeding programs.  These increases more than compensate for predicted declines, and I no reason to expect this to stop.  Nothing stays the same, and making future predictions based on past products is a recipe for failure itself.

Funny, 13 federal agencies appear to disagree with your rosy speculation.

"We've got tools. We can modify crops. There are options," said Alyssa Charney, a senior policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. "But, at the end of the day, the pressures we're expecting, and are already happening, are greater than the tools we have."

Farmers, Don't Count on Technology to Protect Agriculture from Climate Change ...

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/29112018/climate-change-agriculture-risk-farm-technology-science-report

And yet, wheat yields continue to increase.

vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1359 on: December 28, 2018, 10:20:11 PM »
kk ...  And yet, wheat yields continue to increase

... And forest continue to be cut down.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1360 on: December 29, 2018, 01:13:51 AM »
kk ...  And yet, wheat yields continue to increase

... And forest continue to be cut down.
But there appears to be no connection between the two.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1361 on: January 04, 2019, 05:54:30 PM »
Interesting article.  An actually worthwhile use for GMOs?

Scientists Have 'Hacked Photosynthesis' In Search Of More Productive Crops
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/03/681941779/scientists-have-hacked-photosynthesis-in-search-of-more-productive-crops

"Cavanagh and her colleagues in a research program called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE). . .inserted some new genes into these plants, which shut down the existing detoxification assembly line and set up a new one that's way more efficient. And they created super tobacco plants. "They grew faster, and they grew up to 40 percent bigger" than normal tobacco plants. . .
The scientists now are trying to do the same thing with plants that people actually rely on for food, like tomatoes and soybeans."

Sebastian Jones

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1362 on: January 05, 2019, 05:46:32 AM »
There are plenty of uses for GMO tech. Unfortunately, most of them are designed to increase profits for pesticide and fertilizer makers. It is unclear what the growing requirements of these tobacco plants would be. And, like, hello? Tobacco? Talk about a useless plant to make more productive! What kind of thinking went into that decision I wonder!

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1363 on: January 05, 2019, 07:00:27 AM »
Sebastian , GMO open field tests risk unknown unknowns so testing tobacco before you test corn might have a certain wisdom , no?  If we really screwed up tobacco no big loss. 
 Increasing the efficiency of plant growth has a bit of potential upsides if indeed the plant better utilizes CO2 . Worth some more work IMO even if GMO is scary stuff.

b_lumenkraft

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1364 on: January 05, 2019, 08:31:24 AM »
Tobacco is used as a model organism in biology.

>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_model_organisms#Plants

El Cid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1365 on: January 05, 2019, 11:47:04 AM »
The current productivity of food crops is enough to feed the world, no need for GMOs. The only continent where the population is growing is Africa and their problems do not need to be solved by GMOs but only by more modern agrotechnology. I attach a graph of grain yields. As you can see Africa still produces cca 1t/ha whereas previous laggards (Latam, Asia) have gone from the same levels to 3-4 tons. If Africans used contemporary methods (and if Asians and Latin Americans could, why couldn't they?!), they could easily feed 2-3 times as many people. Other continents are OK, their population will not grow, so they also do not need new crops, they can feed themselves already.

Someone mentioned Russia above and I also posted about them previously. Russia and Canada will see huge yield gains from global warming as more and more of their land can be cultivated. Also, let's not forget that only 6000 yrs ago the Sahara was green (and was also green periodically during warm periods!!!), so it is very much possibble that current warming will make the Sahara once again green, able to sustain foodproduction.

All in all, I believe that we have every tool to feed the world, no need for GMOs. Regenerative agriculture is the only thing we need to feed the world in the next few hundred years.

oren

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1366 on: January 05, 2019, 04:33:22 PM »
Quote
The only continent where the population is growing is Africa 
El Cis, it all looked rather good, but the underlying assumption is incorrect. The only continent not growing is Europe, and even that does not count immigration.

The statistic shows the natural rate of population growth by continent in the middle of 2014:
Africa2.5%
Latin America and the Caribbean1.2%
Worldwide1.2%
Oceania1.1%
Asia1.1%
Northern America0.4%
Europe0
https://www.statista.com/statistics/270859/natural-rate-of-population-growth-by-continent/

El Cid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1367 on: January 05, 2019, 05:04:23 PM »
oren, technically you are right but in the broader context I think you are not. You quote the current growth rate -which will change based on demographics. What truly matters is demographic projections for the next decades, current growth rates are not very much relevant.

As per the current UN projections

https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/

current population, 2050, 2100 population (medium projection):

Africa 1,3 Billions;  2,5 B; 4,4 B
Asia   4,5 Billions;  5,2 B ; 4,8 B
Americas 1B; 1,2B ; 1,2B
Europe  0,74B; 0,71 B; 0,63 B

Yes, my wording was not right, so I should modify it: the only SIGNIFICANT growth is coming from Africa, all the others will either see losses or insignificant growth (10-20%) in populations which will not cause any problems for food production.

If we take Africa out of the picture, it is obvious that all the others will be OK, they will only need to produce maybe 10% more food, and considering the opening up of Russian and Canadian fields, that is not a problem. (by the way Russia could still be very much modernized as they only produce 3 t wheat / hectare whereas Poland yields 4-5 tons).

And as I showed before, Africa could easily increase production (even without a Green Sahara by 2-3 times).

I do not see any food crisis coming.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1368 on: January 05, 2019, 05:39:41 PM »
El Cid, you presume the fossil fuel bonanza that runs modern agriculture will magically keep on spitting out cheap fuel so that we can keep producing cheap food. If you are correct we fry the planet and if you are wrong we starve. Welcome to reality.

vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1369 on: January 05, 2019, 06:09:49 PM »
Say Goodbye to Tea and Carrots: 80% of British Food is Imported So There Will Be Food Shortages If There's a No-Deal Brexit, HSBC Tells Clients
https://www.businessinsider.com/no-deal-brexit-percentage-british-food-imported-shortages-2019-1

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Most people think Britain only imports about 50% of its food. But the reality is that 80% of food is imported, including basics such as carrots and tea.

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The lower number "defines food processed in the UK as UK food, even though the ingredients may have been imported. For example, tea is processed in the UK, but we grow no tea — it is all imported. When ingredients are counted as imported, the real figure is over 80%."

Food shortages would happen within days of Britain's current customs arrangements becoming defunct. "As one ex CEO said at our Chairman's Conference in November: 'Carrots for sale in the supermarket on Thursday were in the ground in Spain on Monday,'" HSBC said.

Britain's frozen-food storage facilities are already at 100% capacity. "In preparation for a worst-case scenario, retailers and suppliers have been stockpiling in the UK and press reports have highlighted that there is now no unused frozen food capacity in the UK," HSBC says.

Under a no-deal Brexit, "any slowdown would lead to shortages of lorries, drivers and food," HSBC is advising its clients.

-----------------------------------

BBC: Can the UK Feed Itself After Brexit?
https://www.countryfile.com/news/can-the-uk-feed-itself-after-brexit/

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Can the UK feed itself?

NO says Meurig Raymond, president of the NFU

“We will never be self-sufficient in food production in the UK,” says Meurig Raymond, president of the NFU. “The population is rising and there is huge demand for crops that cannot be grown here, society has grown used to so much being available all year round. Can we increase self-sufficiency? Definitely.”


Also from HSBC ...

Quote
Last September, a few outlets were reporting the counter-intuitive findings of a new HSBC research report on global oil supply. Unfortunately, the true implications of the HSBC report were largely misunderstood.

The HSBC research note — prepared for clients of the global bank — found that contrary to concerns about too much oil supply and insufficient demand, the situation was opposite: global oil supply will in coming years be insufficient to sustain rising demand.

Yet the full, striking import of the report, concerning the world’s permanent entry into a new age of global oil decline, was never really explained. The report didn’t just go against the grain that the most urgent concern is ‘peak demand’: it vindicated what is routinely lambasted by oil majors as a myth: peak oil — the concurrent peak and decline of global oil production.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1370 on: January 05, 2019, 06:26:46 PM »
El Cid, you presume the fossil fuel bonanza that runs modern agriculture will magically keep on spitting out cheap fuel so that we can keep producing cheap food. If you are correct we fry the planet and if you are wrong we starve. Welcome to reality.

Current agricultural practices are fossil fuel intense, but I don't see why eliminating fossil fuel dependence in agriculture is any more challenging than eliminating fossil fuel dependence in transportation or electricity generation.

Operating heavy farm machinery with batteries may seem implausible at first, but I think not more so than operating 18-wheelers on the highway.  In most agricultural settings, such heavy equipment would be close to a farmhouse charging station/energy storage source.  Perfect setting for swapping batteries, to avoid down-time during charging.

Am I missing something?

TerryM

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1371 on: January 05, 2019, 07:02:02 PM »
El Cid, you presume the fossil fuel bonanza that runs modern agriculture will magically keep on spitting out cheap fuel so that we can keep producing cheap food. If you are correct we fry the planet and if you are wrong we starve. Welcome to reality.

Current agricultural practices are fossil fuel intense, but I don't see why eliminating fossil fuel dependence in agriculture is any more challenging than eliminating fossil fuel dependence in transportation or electricity generation.

Operating heavy farm machinery with batteries may seem implausible at first, but I think not more so than operating 18-wheelers on the highway.  In most agricultural settings, such heavy equipment would be close to a farmhouse charging station/energy storage source.  Perfect setting for swapping batteries, to avoid down-time during charging.

Am I missing something?


Batteries don't produce electricity, they're a drain, a consumer of electricity.


Bruce and sidd have each been working for years to lower ff usage in agriculture. I don't believe either have hit on a method that can expand to a viable system that would produce the surplus required to feed much more than a very small village.


Batteries may eventually prove to be a part of the solution, but at the moment they drain ~20% of what electricity is fed through them.
Terry

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1372 on: January 05, 2019, 08:05:23 PM »
El Cid, you presume the fossil fuel bonanza that runs modern agriculture will magically keep on spitting out cheap fuel so that we can keep producing cheap food. If you are correct we fry the planet and if you are wrong we starve. Welcome to reality.

Current agricultural practices are fossil fuel intense, but I don't see why eliminating fossil fuel dependence in agriculture is any more challenging than eliminating fossil fuel dependence in transportation or electricity generation.

Operating heavy farm machinery with batteries may seem implausible at first, but I think not more so than operating 18-wheelers on the highway.  In most agricultural settings, such heavy equipment would be close to a farmhouse charging station/energy storage source.  Perfect setting for swapping batteries, to avoid down-time during charging.

Am I missing something?


Batteries don't produce electricity, they're a drain, a consumer of electricity.


Bruce and sidd have each been working for years to lower ff usage in agriculture. I don't believe either have hit on a method that can expand to a viable system that would produce the surplus required to feed much more than a very small village.


Batteries may eventually prove to be a part of the solution, but at the moment they drain ~20% of what electricity is fed through them.
Terry

Yes, I understand.  But we are making strides in generating electricity without fossil fuels (far too slowly, for sure).  Agricultural land is generally well-suited for solar and wind generation.  Solar panels do put land in shade, but there are examples where the shade still supports, e.g., grasses, for feeding e.g., sheep.  Or on lakes and ponds.

What's missing is larger-scale investment.  That's ultimately a political challenge, creating a carbon fee (+dividend), along with tax credits/subsidies/grants to mobilize capital to do this.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1373 on: January 05, 2019, 08:09:17 PM »
I would like to stress the word "cheap" . Yes there are starting to be electric tractors available or available soon ... This only one I see that claims it will sell some this year is a 70 horsepower one that will run 5 hrs. between charges. I seriously doubt the five hour claim if deep plowing is involved. Remember tractors don't recharge as they go downhill like a truck would.
I also don't see cost quotes. Farmers would have serious issues with extra labor costs if they needed to go sit around and charge their tractors for an hour back at the barn every 3 to 5 hours of tractor use.
 So expensive tractors , battery packs that need replacing and extra labor costs all would erode the "cheap" part of our current food systems. There are also issues with ramping 70 horses into 300-500 horsepower and the big corn/ soybean rotations use Very big tractors. Sidd could much better address equipment scale issues as I am not farming where any "cheap" commodity crops are produced.
 If people were willing to increase their food costs to make small farmers more viable I think there are other viable technologies besides electrics but remember that Sidd uses between a quarter and a third of his soy crop to produce enough bio to fuel his farm equipment needs. So there would be less for feeding humans or animals. The soy cake left over after he presses out the oil isn't good for much else but feeding animals btw.
 We aren't addressing the commodity crop price support structure or the ability of governments to maintain them , degrading soil structure , water pumping costs, fertilizer costs or other parts of modern agriculture totally dependent on cheap fossil fuel but bottom line is to change any of these things we have to expect higher food costs.
 So I foolishly endeavor to swim upstream because I don't have faith in the modern agricultural system. I am happy however it is a subject of discussion. I personally would think it is more important than cars, cars , cars but I am an outlier.
https://www.futurefarming.com/Machinery/Articles/2018/1/This-is-the-Fendt-e100-Vario-electric-tractor-4419WP/

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1374 on: January 05, 2019, 08:24:20 PM »
I would like to stress the word "cheap" . Yes there are starting to be electric tractors available or available soon ... This only one I see that claims it will sell some this year is a 70 horsepower one that will run 5 hrs. between charges. I seriously doubt the five hour claim if deep plowing is involved. Remember tractors don't recharge as they go downhill like a truck would.
I also don't see cost quotes. Farmers would have serious issues with extra labor costs if they needed to go sit around and charge their tractors for an hour back at the barn every 3 to 5 hours of tractor use.
 So expensive tractors , battery packs that need replacing and extra labor costs all would erode the "cheap" part of our current food systems. There are also issues with ramping 70 horses into 300-500 horsepower and the big corn/ soybean rotations use Very big tractors. Sidd could much better address equipment scale issues as I am not farming where any "cheap" commodity crops are produced.
 If people were willing to increase their food costs to make small farmers more viable I think there are other viable technologies besides electrics but remember that Sidd uses between a quarter and a third of his soy crop to produce enough bio to fuel his farm equipment needs. So there would be less for feeding humans or animals. The soy cake left over after he presses out the oil isn't good for much else but feeding animals btw.
 We aren't addressing the commodity crop price support structure or the ability of governments to maintain them , degrading soil structure , water pumping costs, fertilizer costs or other parts of modern agriculture totally dependent on cheap fossil fuel but bottom line is to change any of these things we have to expect higher food costs.
 So I foolishly endeavor to swim upstream because I don't have faith in the modern agricultural system. I am happy however it is a subject of discussion. I personally would think it is more important than cars, cars , cars but I am an outlier.
https://www.futurefarming.com/Machinery/Articles/2018/1/This-is-the-Fendt-e100-Vario-electric-tractor-4419WP/

Thanks for the illuminating post.  Yes, cheap food currently requires cheap oil, and switching to battery-electric farming would likely never be as cheap, and is currently not on offer by manufacturers of farm equipment.  Still, cheap oil *has* to end, if civilization is going to continue. 

Higher food costs could be tolerated in the US and EU.  But how the rest of the world would handle this situation is a very, very thorny question.

El Cid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1375 on: January 05, 2019, 08:45:16 PM »
El Cid, you presume the fossil fuel bonanza that runs modern agriculture will magically keep on spitting out cheap fuel so that we can keep producing cheap food. If you are correct we fry the planet and if you are wrong we starve. Welcome to reality.

I think you are wrong. Yes, modern agriculture runs on cheap oil and fertilizers but many regenerative agriculture practitioners have shown that it needs not be so: we can produce food with much less fuel and fertilizers.

And guess what, food will be more expensive but that is not a problem if we can produce enough.

I know, I am the resident Polyanna here where everyone is full of doom and gloom but I can not see any food crisis here.  None at all. Africa will ramp up production, northern latitudes will produce much more food than before, oildependence will disappear, and agriculture will be a carbon sink. That's what i see happening this century - despite the total loss of Arctic ice and 2-3 C global temperature growth

TerryM

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1376 on: January 05, 2019, 08:55:51 PM »
I've watched producing orchards being torn out to install PV panels with mixed feelings. Electricity is cheap, abundant and quite "clean" here in Ontario.
My understanding is that we produce quite a bit more electricity than we can utilize, or profitably sell.


I'm not sure why we don't expand our grid westward so that Manitoba could do away with some of their coal fired plants.


Excess cider should be easier to dispose of, or store, than excess electricity. :)
Terry

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1377 on: January 05, 2019, 09:42:55 PM »
Thanks Steve, My concerns exactly. If I were merely a preper I woundn't worry about these issues but doing the things Cid is proposing or the things Sidd and I are trying to do require those systems to scale from local to national or global. Anyone who can link to sources that document farming regenerativly and claiming some ability to fill the vast number of grain silos apparent as you travel the US Midwest would be addressing world hunger issues. Boutique high end markets need not worry.
 I sit on a farm advisory board and there are monies being spent on carbon sequestration projects but I have read "The Marin Protocols " that they base their numbers upon and it just doesn't work to say this method is better than another method. The bottom line is can you sink carbon from sources (feedstocks )  you can produce on site ? If the carbon emissions of production exceed the carbon sinks delivered then you are blowing smoke up someone's ass . All  terrestrial carbon sinks  need to be continually fed or the carbon will oxidize and reenter the atmosphere.
 So call me doom and gloom if you please but don't tell me government programs designed to make people feel better are delivering re. Regenerative agriculture.
 There are billions of humans that require cheap food or they starve.

https://www.marincarbonproject.org/science/papers
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 09:51:42 PM by Bruce Steele »

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1378 on: January 05, 2019, 11:36:47 PM »
I got some solutions:

a)eat less meat. For every gram of meat you don't eat you get a multiplier of ten in grains grow. So, eat 5 fewer grams meat, grow 50 grams less grain. And burn less fossil. What's not to like ?

b) Get rid of ethanol and fresh soy to biofuel conversion. That saves you a buncha farmland. Right now a third of all corn in the USA and a third of all fresh soy oil does into biofuel. This is a completely mad thing to do EROEI is around 1, and costs in degradation of land is huge.

sidd

 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 01:21:09 AM by sidd »

Archimid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1379 on: January 05, 2019, 11:38:15 PM »
Quote
so it is very much possibble that current warming will make the Sahara once again green,

Very possible. I wonder how well adapted to increased rainfall current infrastructure is. Likely not at all.  Where will new water bodies be naturally created by increased precipitation?  How will the terrain reacts to new sources of water? Can the people that are perfectly adapted to desert life adapt to monsoons? No doubt they can, but how much they will lose in the process? What new fauna will the wetter climate bring?

The Sahara green within our lifetimes will not be a good thing. The Sahara green over many  centuries? That sounds great.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1380 on: January 05, 2019, 11:51:10 PM »
Re: scaling regen ag

This is tough, but in some ways, easier than it looks. Small farmers desperately want to get out from under the thumb of seed companies, fertilizer companies, pesticide companies, herbicide companies and banks.They swing a million dollars or more of debt a year, do a few hundred or a thousand acres, and at the end in a good year, make less than a convenient store attendant, and the life is much more dangerous and strenuous. In a bad year, mebbe lose the farm.

If we ate less meat and made less biofuel from fresh oil or corn the amount of land under cultivation could drop a great deal.

As for scaling biofuel, the way i do it requires a whole lot of moving parts, not for everybody. Briefly, we grow the grain, crush, refine, bleach, sell to food service, recollect, clean, convert to fuel. So need tractors, combines, crushers, trucks, pumps, tanks, process heat, dangerous chemicals, spill control, employees, customer service, insurance ... list goes on, is much more complicated  than stopping the chain at harvest and just selling the grain.  It took us years to set up the thing, still learning.

sidd

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1381 on: January 06, 2019, 12:25:27 AM »
Thanks Sidd for putting the in work you do. If I might ask how big are the tractors used in a standard corn/ soybean ag operation?
 Also El Cid , I don't really know much about your efforts at regenerative agriculture . Please post some links to the hopeful signs you report taking place.
 Here in Calif. it is dairy lagoons and the resultant methane production that the regenerative standards  compare themselves against. Seems like a very low bar to compare yourself against. So cutting back on meat should be combined with some dairy reductions as well. I found a some nice info on Calif dairy. With graphics.
 https://civileats.com/2016/10/20/wrangling-the-climate-impact-of-california-dairy-methane/

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1382 on: January 06, 2019, 12:45:09 AM »
Re: tractors

I'm not in Kansas, so don't really have giant, flat fields and the giant machines. Most of the equipment is decades old, some from the sixties. Massey-Ferguson, IH combines,  say a hundred fifty to two hundred horses on a good day, about 10% less burning straight oil or biofuel. Case, Ford, IH tractors, about fifty horse to a couple hundred.  Six row corn picker is about we can use effectively, go eight rarely, sometimes four.
 
For some reason, i have the most fun on hay tedders. (I dont drive em except for fun, not nearly skilled enuf, just ride along or perch on the side (never perch on the side ...)  on a nice day as we go around the hillsides in tighter, tighter, tighter circles. There's something about the smell of grass, and the wind in your face, that even beats a baseball game.

Trucking wise, got some dump trucks, couple large ones, several 6000 gallon tanker trailers but trying to go away from road to railcar for bulk oil/biofuel moves. Looking at some properties with sidings, right now we are working with a couple farmers (one Amish (?!)) who have sidings.

Some sucker trucks, ranging from 2K to 6K gallons for oil collection, can't get the big ones into a lot of our food service clients. Some largish tracked construction equipment, rarely used, most of the time we put shovels or the like on a tractor.

Exactly one of the tractors has aircon in the cab, which sometimes works ... no GPS, no fone, no pool, no pets, got plenty of cigarettes ...

sidd
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 01:00:12 AM by sidd »

oren

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1383 on: January 06, 2019, 01:06:08 AM »
El Cid, I think that there are more unsustainable inputs to agriculture than just fossil fuels. Loss of topsoil and depletion of groundwater aquifers spring to mind, though I am sure a more knowledgeable person can come up with more. And I recall reading that for both topsoil and aquifers the clock is ticking fast, and in a few decades things could come to a head in a dramatic way for some regions.
In addition, there are also the effects of climate change to contend with - droughts, floods, changed weather patterns, increased weather volatility. In addition, sea level rise of 1-3 meters could cause a decline of output in river deltas around the world, which are currently very productive.
Increasing population (even by 10-20 percent) will put more pressure on the agricultural system. Will it cope? Probably, but not certainly.
And Africa may find it difficult to increase its agricultural productivity sharply while undergoing a population explosion, which imho tends to decrease availability of capital and appropriate education to all.
I do expect a food crisis to develop in Africa first.

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1384 on: January 06, 2019, 01:22:28 AM »
Re: excess cider

make booze. that's what johnny appleseed was all about. all the orchards he planted were unfit for anything except booze.

sidd

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1385 on: January 06, 2019, 01:57:04 AM »
Re: Batteries may eventually prove to be a part of the solution, but at the moment they drain ~20% of what electricity is fed through them.

diesel engine on tractors, on a good day will give you about a third of the energy in the tank at the axle. Not counting pumping, refining,generation,retail chain loss. Call the last about 15%, so you are getting

.33*.85*.15 = .28 efficiency

This turns out to be roughly the same as inefficient coal plant + T&D + battery loss

Battery will give you close to 80% cycle loss. Lets say your electric come from coal. Modern coal plant (the ones remaining precariously in business) work at 45-60% to make electric. T&D electric losses are 5-7%. Electric motors in this HP range (50-100 HP) have minimum NEMA design 95% efficient

worst case

.45*.93*.8*.95 = 0.32 efficiency

But with one difference. You didnt burn that tank of oil. Instead you burnt an equivalent amount of coal at a centralized location.

1) So if that coal plant were 60% efficient or natgas+wind+solar it would reduce the fossil carbon load of every operational tractor feeding off it.

2) Whereas, to reduce fossil load of every diesel tractor in the land, i will have to reduce petrodiesel burn with carbon neutral fuel.

I have done the latter so far. But as electric transport penetration increases i can see the former will give me bigger bang for my buck. The advantage is that i can replace one centralized coal plant with a natgas+wind+solar and make all the tractors (and the electric cars and every appliance on the local grid) cleaner.

Coal plants are goin cheap, they have transmission already. Natgas pipes comin thru in this Trump new world, i see the crews every time i am on the road. I know farmers owning ridgelines throughout northern appalachia and allegheny. And farmers, some Amish, putting in their own solar already. Might be time soon.

sidd

sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1386 on: January 06, 2019, 01:59:16 AM »
I have no doubt that in the event of widespread crop failure the starving would switch very quickly to vegetarian diet. Hunger is a powerful motivator.

sidd

El Cid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1387 on: January 06, 2019, 08:49:45 AM »
couple of things mentioned above

1) I have not eaten meat for 30 years without experiencing any problems (the opposite!), doing lots of sports; my kids also grew up mostly without meat, reaching 190 cm (cca6ft3in), so, yes a meatless diet is absolutely doable and without meat we could feed twice as many people as now - another reason not to expect a food crisis.
2) Regenerative ag is quite small scale end experimental here in Central Europe although gaining recognition quickly nowadays. Sepp Holzer of Austria is a well known figure worldwide though. Unfortunately I do not have any quotable research papers on it in English but we have seen good growth in soil organic matter (ie. replenishing good topsoil) with notill/covercrops, etc.

So I keep on hoping that this movement spreads

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1388 on: January 06, 2019, 03:05:44 PM »
Traditional agriculture as an art to be memorialized. ;) :o

https://twitter.com/myconfusedface/status/1080200718177439744
Brief video at the link.
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wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1389 on: January 06, 2019, 06:29:48 PM »
sidd wrote:
Quote
I have no doubt that in the event of widespread crop failure the starving would switch very quickly to vegetarian diet. Hunger is a powerful motivator.

Not sure what you're talking about here. Most of the world's poorest billion or so people are already living near-vegan diets. The problem is (and almost always is) the world's wealthy eating meat, the livestock for which are eating the grains and beans that could have provided good nutrition for the poorest, especially since livestock are not particularly efficient at turning plant protein into animal protein...something like ten pounds plant protein to yield one of animal protein, especially cattle. (Yeah, yeah, they could be raised on inedible-to-us grasses, but most are at least finished with corn and soybeans.)

During the potato famine, most of the Irish poor were subsisting on potatoes, if they could get them, and not much else. But at the same time that millions were starving or emigrating, beef was being exported from Ireland to the British elite. Common sense and basic humanity has little to do with these things, as Swift so well satirized in his famous, "A Modest Proposal."

So, given that income inequality is at an all time high, I'm quite sure that even if there were widespread crop failure, the rich would still be arranging to have much of the little grain and beans left fed to cattle for their elite consumption. The whole point of being rich, after all, is so that you don't have to share one whit in the suffering of others, however widespread and horrific. But yes, the rest will be left with a largely 'plant based' diet, but not likely one that will be sufficient to keep body and soul together. 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 06:35:17 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

b_lumenkraft

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1390 on: January 06, 2019, 06:36:25 PM »
Wili,

i completely agree and want to add an infamous quote:

Quote
Let them eat cake!

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1391 on: January 06, 2019, 06:36:54 PM »
Sig, I'm not a twitter-er. Can you explain briefly what is on the video? Or is it a kind of joke that would be ruined in the explaining of it?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

bbr2314

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1392 on: January 06, 2019, 06:47:46 PM »
Wili,

i completely agree and want to add an infamous quote:

Quote
Let them eat cake!
She never said that.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1393 on: January 07, 2019, 01:46:47 AM »
Sig, I'm not a twitter-er. Can you explain briefly what is on the video? Or is it a kind of joke that would be ruined in the explaining of it?

The panning across the scene in the GIF really makes it work, but maybe these stills will suffice?
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1394 on: January 10, 2019, 09:13:22 PM »
Ocean Cleanup device breaks down, well before ridding Pacific of plastic
Quote
An ambitious project to clean up a vast tide of ocean pollution has been sidelined. The project's 2,000-foot-long screen — which was already failing to capture plastic while stationed more than 1,000 miles off the coast of California — broke apart just before New Year's under the constant wind and waves of the Pacific Ocean.

The young Dutch inventor who conceived the Ocean Cleanup project, and hopes to one day deploy 60 of the devices to skim plastic debris off the surface of the ocean, said Thursday that he would not be deterred by the setback.

Boyan Slat said in a phone interview from his office in Rotterdam, Netherlands, that the screen would be towed about 800 miles to Hawaii. Once there, it will either be repaired or loaded onto a barge to return to its home port of Alameda, California. ...
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ocean-cleanup-device-breaks-down-well-ridding-pacific-plastics-n954446
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1395 on: January 15, 2019, 10:08:07 PM »
Watch this robot pick a peck of peppers with a tiny saw
Quote
Farming worker shortages are getting worse. In a survey by the California Farm Bureau Federation last year, 55 percent of the 762 farmers surveyed said they had experienced employee shortages. That's why researchers are now trying to tackle this problem with robots.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/20/watch-this-robot-pick-a-peck-of-peppers-with-a-tiny-saw.html

Also of use when extreme heat makes it dangerous for humans to work in the field.  (Assuming the crops are still harvestable.)
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Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1396 on: January 16, 2019, 01:50:44 AM »
Robot is operating in a greenhouse. Tough to design one that can handle your typical farm field.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1397 on: January 16, 2019, 03:58:47 PM »
Robot is operating in a greenhouse. Tough to design one that can handle your typical farm field.

Might need to adjust plant density a bit, yes.  But maneuverability should not be a problem. ;)

youtube.com/watch?v=knoOXBLFQ-s
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1398 on: January 16, 2019, 04:30:15 PM »
Female Ranchers Are Reclaiming the American West

As men leave animal agriculture for less gritty work, more ranches are being led by women — with new ideas about technology, ecology and the land.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/business/women-ranchers-american-west-photo-essay.html
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sidd

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