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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Technology » Agriculture » Sustainable Agriculture

Eating Fossil Fuels

Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture

By Dale Allen Pfeiffer

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Format: Paperback, 127 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 October 2006
The miracle of the Green Revolution was made possible by cheap fossil fuels to supply crops with artificial fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. Estimates of the net energy balance of agriculture in the United States show that ten calories of hydrocarbon energy are required to produce one calorie of food. Such an imbalance cannot continue in a world of diminishing hydrocarbon resources.
Eating Fossil Fuels examines the interlinked crises of energy and agriculture and highlights some startling findings:
The worldwide expansion of agriculture has appropriated fully 40 percent of the photosynthetic capability of this planet.
The Green Revolution provided abundant food sources for many, resulting in a population explosion well in excess of the planet's carrying capacity.
Studies suggest that without fossil fuel-based agriculture, the United States could only sustain about two-thirds of its present population. For the planet as a whole, the sustainable number is estimated to be about two billion.
Concluding that the effect of energy depletion will be disastrous without a transition to a sustainable, re-localized agriculture, the book draws on the experiences of North Korea and Cuba to demonstrate stories of failure and success in the transition to non-hydrocarbon-based agriculture. It urges strong grassroots activism for sustainable, localized agriculture and a natural shrinking of the world's population.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Andrew Jones; Introduction; Food = Energy + Nutrients; Land Degradation; Water Degradation; Eating Fossil Fuels; The End of the Oil Age; The Collapse of Agriculture; The Next "Green Revolution"; Building a Sustainable Agriculture; Twelve Fun Activities for Activists; Conclusion.

Promotional Information

> EBlast announcement to organizations that work in food security and farmland preservation. > Targeted online press announcements to potential reviewers followed by a conventional print review campaign > Academic postcard mailing to food system and other professors > Additional advertising in Ode and Mountain Astrologer Magazine

About the Author

Dale Allen Pfeiffer is a novelist, freelance journalist and geologist who has been writing about energy depletion for a decade, building a reputation as a detailed but accessible science journalist. The author of The End of the Oil Age, he is also widely known for his web project:

EAN: 9780865715653
ISBN: 0865715653
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Dimensions: 21.59 x 14.02 x 1.04 centimetres (0.16 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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Brenda on
This book clearly explains the situation of world food insecurity, and uses the examples of Cuba and North Korea to show how government management, natural disaster and resource availability can affect the outcome for a population. Scary stuff.

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