Famine’s New Parasite


La voix ouye de l’insolit oyseau,
Sur le canon de respiral estage:
Si haut viendra du froment le boisseau,
Que l’homme d’homme fera Antropophage

The voice of the unusual bird is heard,
In the pipe of the breathing floor:
Bushels of wheat will rise so high,
That man will devour his fellow man.

Nostradamus (1555) 2 Q75

There will be a deepening slide in the availability of food reserves. An unexpected rise in grain prices will take the food and agricultural industries by surprise, not because of global warming! There will soon be a discovery of a new grain-devouring parasite, more dangerous than blight or locus. The most dangerous ever known.

That parasite is called “the automobile.”

It hungers for the same grain we eat to make ethanol gasoline. The EPA estimates that only 60 tons of US grain will go into our gas tanks in 2007. If the estimate of Lester E. Brown of Earth Policy News is proven right, 139 tons will be taken off line for food production to make bio gasoline this year. Brown predicts the EPA’s estimates will be proven far too conservative because they have underestimated the mad rush of US farmers’ in the world’s breadbasket to build hundreds of ethanol distilleries. Rather than draw two harvests of food and bio-fuel from the remaining plant waste out of the same arable land, most will go the easy way to a fast profit possible from harvesting crops for bio-fuels only to feed the internal combustion engine, not the bellies of human beings.

Less food production will raise the cost of eating at a time when agricultural production cannot bring sustenance to a current population of 6.5 billion people exploding soon to 7 billion by 2011. A greed for bio-gasoline will hasten a food crisis as the multiplying human multitudes have less grain to eat. What is left of the grain will be sold at the highest prices ever known making purchase of food imports too costly for many developing nations. Even in the richest country in the world, America, millions of people living at lower-middle class and poverty levels will go hungry because satiating the gas pump has more value than sustaining people.

Lester E. Brown in his article Massive Diversion of U.S. Grain to Fuel Cars is Raising World Food Prices presents statistics proving that the automobile is already stealing food from the mouths of children in poor nations. The sequestering of grain production to make gas has raised wheat and rice prices to their highest level in a decade. Brown writes, “A Bloomberg analysis notes that the soaring use of corn as the feedstock for fuel ethanol is creating unintended consequences throughout the global food chain.” With corn prices doubling from last year up to 20 countries that rely on corn as their main staple diet, such has Mexico, have seen the price of a daily tortilla rise by 60 percent. Soybean fields along with grain are taken off food production. These drive up meat and egg prices in China. Pork is up 20 percent, eggs 16 percent from last year.

After China, the second most populous country on Earth, India, has seen the price of wheat jump 11 percent. It currently sells at a rate higher than the mean world market price.

If Brown and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are correct, Americans will have to eat less or see their savings starved just to put three square meals on the table. If you want to know why your grocery bills are rising faster than at any time in your life, navigate your grocery cart in the parking lot to the vehicle in which you arrived. It has a new appetite or will soon have one that raises the US prices of chicken 10 percent over last year, the price of a dozen eggs up 21 percent, and milk at 14 percent above last year.

Much of the cost hike, Brown theorizes, comes from 16 percent of the 2006 U.S. grain harvest being used to produce ethanol. He predicts a doubling of ethanol production by 2008 because upwards of 80 ethanol distilleries now under construction will come on line. He says they will take “nearly a third of the 2008 grain harvest” to make ethanol for your cars.

Lester E. Brown has ever been one of the most accurate prophets of the last quarter century concerning future trends in agriculture, ecology and climate change. The following extracts from his article are prophecies based on the extrapolation of fact rather than intuition. They are the potential bitter harvest of political destabilization, hunger and war, faced by those of us, especially in America and in the Bush Administration, living under what Brown calls “ethanol euphoria” must prevent:

“Since the United States is the leading exporter of grain, shipping more than Canada, Australia, and Argentina combined, what happens to the U.S. grain crop affects the entire world. With the massive diversion of grain to produce fuel for cars, exports will drop. The world’s breadbasket is fast becoming the U.S. fuel tank.

“The number of hungry people in the world has been declining for several decades, but in the late 1990s the trend reversed and the number began to rise. The United Nations currently lists 34 countries as needing emergency food assistance. Many of these are considered failed and failing states, including Chad, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti, and Zimbabwe. Since food aid programs typically have fixed budgets, if the price of grain doubles, food aid will be reduced by half.

“Urban food protests in response to rising food prices in low and middle income countries, such as Mexico, could lead to political instability that would add to the growing list of failed and failing states. At some point, spreading political instability could disrupt global economic progress.”

Lester E. Brown:
Massive Diversion of U.S. Grain to Fuel Cars is Raising World Food Prices

Nostradamus relates two prophetic themes about our near future that overshadow all others, wars in the Middle East and a worldwide famine caused by pestilence and climate change. Let us review again the riddle of a prophecy in Century 2 Quatrain 75 about famine in a time of plenty:

The voice of the unusual bird is heard,
In the pipe of the breathing floor:
Bushels of wheat will rise so high,
That man will devour his fellow man.

Much of what I wrote for pages 210 — 211 of “Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies” in 1997, reads more topical for our times:

“Line 1 may refer to the strange birds of the Epistle who visit the world as spiritual messengers just prior to the tribulations that will end humanity’s childhood. Line 2 is some kind of device Nostradamus has difficulty describing. If one could see through the walls of a grain elevator one would observe grain being sucked down through a pipe in the floor, making it appear as if the device were a breathing thing. At the other end of the pipe stands a mountain of gold grain one might witness an any number of grain storage compounds across North America, Europe, or Russia. It will not be long — in fact just a few years away — when those mountains of wheat kernels will be worth their weight in gold. In a world of increasing population and declining grain stocks, the day is not far off when the human race may only be able to live from one annual harvest to the next. In 1996 the global grain reserves had fallen to their lowest in history. If the global production of food were disrupted we would have only enough food in reserve to feed the world for 49 days. Since the bumper crop of 1990 there has been zero growth in grain production, whereas the global population will have increased by 552.5 million by the publication of this book in March 1997.

“In 1994 Lester E. Brown of the Worldwatch Institute predicted that by 2030 China alone will need to import virtually all the grain available for export in the world. In Nostradamus, famine is often followed by war. His astrology points to the 2020s and 2030s as the most likely time for a third world war to be fought over food. Brown and other globe watchers have stated that we have a window of less than 20 years to make revolutionary changes in the way we breed and use up the dwindling resources of the world.”

A decade later there is only enough food in reserve to feed the world for 20 days or less. This year food riots in Mexico, Africa and other developing nations over the sudden hike in food prices go unreported by the so-called “most trusted” mainstream news networks of the US, such as CNN. Something as simple and seemingly green friendly as making ethanol gasoline to lower the US addiction to crude oil may in a roundabout way compel future US armies to fight overseas in the Middle East, Mexico, Central America, Africa and Asia over dwindling food reserves.

Your hungry American cars will not only devour your sources of life sustenance but also swallow hole your democracy if better use of agricultural lands is not promoted today.  Famine undermines freedom and promotes emergency rule, another name for fascism. That brings me back to what I said about the above quatrain in 1997 about a prophecy I heard with my own ears ten years before in 1987, when I sat before Osho in India.

“[Brown's] statement reminds me of a discourse series I attended in 1987 called The Razor’s Edge given by Osho, an Indian mystic and I might add, a rather strange bird in his own right. During the lecture he spoke on a number of life-negative habits humanity must shed if it is to survive. To cut overpopulation he suggested the world undergo an absolute moratorium on all births for “20 to 30 years.” A hush fell upon the audience of ten thousand people. He paused for a moment, staring at the throng without as much as a blink and added, “It is not a question of democracy, because it is a choice between life and death. If the whole world is going to die, what are you going to do with your democracy? Democracy will be the rule then — for the graves, of the graves, by the graves — because people will have disappeared.”

The year Osho said that in 1987 was the same year the human population exceeded five billion. The United Nations produced a report that year called “Our Common Future.” It declared that passing the milestone of the birth of a fifth billion human being meant we could no longer avoid some grievous and long lasting harm to our civilization, the planet’s resources and ecosystem because of overpopulation.

I write this bulletin 20 years later when the human population has passed the 6.5 billion mark. We seem more insanely short sighted now. It was enough grounds in the past to change course because the Green Revolution in food production could no longer sustain such numbers. Now we forget ourselves in the gluttony of our cars. These steal the food out of our children’s and our grandchildren’s hands. Worse even.

They say that the trains run on time and the highways are always clean and open for driving in Fascist states. Look at Hitler’s autobahn. Would we rather starve half the world and make food for ourselves so expensive that emergency rule is required to keep our car’s satiated with cheap ethanol gasoline in America’s Fascist autobahn of the near future?

John Hogue
(25 August 2007)

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