No Blade Of Common Sense
What would happen if agriculture suddenly decided to shut down?
April 11, 2011
Last week, the talk around the country centered on the prospect of the U.S. government shutting down because the two political parties couldn't come to an agreement on a final budget. This would have affected the average person in many ways, including closing all national parks and stopping government refund checks from being sent out.
Ultimately, an agreement was reached and everything worked out fine. However, this got me to thinking - what would happen if agriculture suddenly decided to shut down? I know over the past few years, I have attended various industry forums that indicate there is a sizable portion of the world population that believes producing food using modern agricultural practices is wrong and should be stopped.
What would happen if these groups succeeded? At the very best, we would likely see some societies break down and millions slowly starve as their food supplies run out. At the worst, the whole world collapses into anarchy.
These potential scenarios aren't completely mine, but come from an out-of-print science fiction book I once read called No Blade Of Grass. In short, this book tells the story of how a grass-killing virus suddenly appears in the world. At first, people are annoyed as this disease completely wipes out their green lawns. Then, as decorative grasses go extinct, the virus moves on to wipe out crops such as rice, wheat and corn. Then, of course, people get desperate. There are food riots, civil unrest and widespread chaos. Civilization basically collapses. The only survivors are the novel's main characters, saved by a community of growers that correctly deduced that root crops such as beets and sweet potatoes would be immune from the virus and planted their fields accordingly.
For anyone who works in the agriculture, this book is an eye-opener - and one anti-agriculture groups should read. Our industry helps feed the world's growing population. If money is the world's lifeblood, then crop production would be every other bodily function, including the heart and mind.
It's very easy to target agriculture as the root of all evil in the world, but chances are the critics doing so are speaking out against the industry with full bellies. Take away all their foodstuffs and then let's see if these opponents still feel agriculture is such a burden on their lives.