(Continued from Part 4. This concludes the article.)
Right now, at this moment, we are facing a global food shortage thanks to wars, and floods and droughts. Farmers in the Netherlands are recognized as the most efficient farmers in Europe, if not the world. And yet their own government is in the process of forcibly seizing as many as 3000 farms and euthanizing the livestock because their “Nitrogen Minister” has deemed their farms to be emitting to much nitrogen. The government claims that this is necessary if they are going to meet their 2030 emissions goals. Goals that were arbitrarily determined by the government without any consultation with agricultural experts.
Here we are in the middle of a food crisis and governments are seizing farms and destroying livestock. And to top it all off – the farmers were doing their best to meet the governments goals. In fact, they were certain they could meet them, just not in the time frame that the government demanded. WOW! I just don’t even know what else to say to a situation like this. This is just one more example of the climate change zealot’s unwillingness to compromise even though they are destroying the livelihood of the very people that they are supposedly trying to save.
In the western world we may not experience the food shortages like much of the world will. So far for us it is more of a lack of selection and choices rather than actual shortages. We might not be able to get our preferred brand or our favorite of the 363 different breakfast cereals that we’ve grown accustomed to, but we still have cereals available on the shelf. For many places in the world the shelves may simply be bare.
Russia and Ukraine produce approximately 40% of the world’s wheat – a staple crop for many of those emerging nations that we talked about earlier. Between sanctions on Russia, and the Ukraine being an actual war zone, how much wheat will actually be able to be planted, harvested or exported is the question? I watch experts tell us that they expect as much as a 30% reduction in Ukrainian wheat exports in 2023. Really? How much grain is being planted in the middle of a war zone, where farmers are being conscripted by the army, and all the diesel fuel will be needed by the military? I think those “experts” might be off in their estimates, but that’s just my opinion.
Here at home, we face our own issues. People don’t seem to realize in this new modern world that food still has to be grown, be it fruits and vegetables or meat – it comes from a farm. Those that do realize that food isn’t “made” by the grocery store only look at the fact that we produce enough food in North America that we export a great deal, so if we have a surplus we are definitely producing enough to feed everybody, right? Well, the truth is that we grow lots, but that doesn’t mean that we have the facilities to process it. You would be surprised at how much raw food we send to other countries, who process and package it, and then send it back to us, ready to be displayed on store shelves. It’s cheaper to do it this way……and again globalization works, until it doesn’t.
Farmers, in general, are facing some very difficult times. Droughts have wiped out many of the crops that were planted last spring. 37% of farmers wound up plowing under crops due to drought conditions. Ranchers in Texas have reduced herd size by as much as 50% due to lack of water and grass, with New Mexico and Oregon not far behind. Unusually cold weather may have impacted the winter wheat crop, although I guess we won’t know for sure for another couple months.
Farmers are also facing a myriad of other issues as well. Much like the government of the Netherlands, our own government wants to mandate or maybe even regulate/legislate how much fertilizer that farms are allowed to use. Russia and the Ukraine produce about 30% of the world’s fertilizer. China is the largest producer. Between war and Covid apparently running rampant in China right now we may see a real shortage of fertilizer. We also saw railways limiting or cutting back on the amount of fertilizer that they were transporting in 2022. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again in 2023. The thing that I find funny is that the government, in their infinite wisdom, seems to think that farmers are using way too much fertilizer – just putting on way more than they need. Fertilizer costs money! Farmers are not going to use one bit more than they need to grow their crops – using more would just be a waste of money. But, of course, government bureaucrats sitting in an office know better than the people that have been doing this for generations. Something else to consider is that any loss of production due to reductions in fertilizer use will affect both the profitability of farms, and our ability to feed the 8 billion people we now have on this planet.
Diesel shortages, and price increases will only make it more difficult. Those great big John Deere tractors and combines don’t run on rainbows and unicorn farts. With diesel at almost $5.00/gallon that’s almost double what it was just one year ago. Many people don’t realize how much diesel a farm can use. I personally know farmers that spend over $100,000/year between seeding and harvest. If they are looking at that doubling for them this year, many will simply plant less, because they can’t afford that kind of capital outlay. Whether you believe it or not, most farms run on a pretty small profit margin. They don’t do it because there are huge amounts of money to be made. They do it because it’s a way of life. 12- and 16-hour days are not uncommon for the average farmer, sometimes 7 days a week. Remember that the next time you’re sitting back in your easy chair, complaining about the hard 8 hours you put in at the office.
Now that we’ve established that farmers, both here and around the world, are responsible for providing the food that we often take for granted, let’s do that intelligence overlay. There’s really nothing I’ve touched on so far that doesn’t affect the farmers, and the food on our tables. War, inflation, climate change, you name it. If we continue to lose farms and farmers for any reason, it’s going to be awful hard to feed a hungry world. Sure, there will always be farmers, but if their costs continue to increase, we are the ones that eventually pay the price, whether it’s $100/loaf of bread, or $60/dozen eggs.
Solar Maximum and Spacy Stuff
I’ve always been aware of sunspots and CMEs in a peripheral way. I don’t know that you can be a prepper and not be aware of the “Carrington Event” in the 1850s. But it was only recently that I really took the time to look into the whole solar system/outer space thing, and what I found was eye-opening.
Apparently, our magnetic North Pole is moving rapidly, (As far as magnetic poles go) moving on average about 34 miles per year. Now I always thought that the north and south poles were somehow connected and exactly opposite to each other – they’re not. From what I can tell this movement affects the magnetic field around the earth, that helps protect us from solar radiation, and it’s getting weaker. Now some sites say that this is because we are lining up for a pole shift, or pole reversal, where the north and south poles could swap place. This is a natural phenomenon and has happened numerous times throughout history. There’s lots of theories on what that could do, other than make your compass point in the wrong direction, but we don’t have any real facts. Some doom-porn predicts it will cause crustal upheaval in the earth, with massive earthquakes. Others say that it might be as minor as needing more sunblock from increased UV radiation. The theories are literally all over the place, but there are a fair number that indicate that it could affect our electrical grid and devices – always a concern in our modern society. The “experts” can’t even agree on when it will happen.
One recent article says that pole reversal could happen as soon as March 2023, some say in the next 40-50 years, and some say not for another century or two. One fun fact I did learn was that our earth hasn’t always had two poles – a north and a south. At some periods we’ve had as many as eight magnetic poles. I’m really not sure how that would all work, if there would be four north, and four south, or if they would be kind of scattered around equidistance from each other. Interesting!
Our sun runs on an approximately eleven-year cycle, (some are shorter, some longer) and is tied to it’s magnetic fields. One article tells me that the sun’s poles actually shift during each solar cycle. (here we go with poles shifting and magnetic fields again) A solar maximum is defined as a period of increased sunspot activity, and that this has been observed/monitored since 1755 which makes this the 25th solar cycle. And it seems to be shaping up to be a very active one, according to reports. More sunspots means more solar flares and CMEs, and we all know what those can mean – another Carrington event. Except this time with a world that’s completely dependent on technology.
So we have a very active solar cycle happening at the same time that our magnetic field is at a low ebb – the field that helps protect us from the effects of solar flares and CMEs. The earth’s magnetic field isn’t going to miraculously strengthen any time soon, and we don’t even reach the height of the solar maximum until sometime around July, 2025. With the weaker magnetic field, it means that you wouldn’t need a Carrington Event level storm to have the same results.
This of course brings us around to the continued findings of the EMP Commission, as they consider solar super-storms, or CMEs, to be a possible source of grid failure due to EMP. Projections for casualties from a complete collapse of the electrical grid have run as high as 9 out of 10 within the first year, or basically 278 million Americans. All this info has been covered time and again, although people, even preppers, very rarely stop to think what that actually means.
Thoughts and Overlays
So, at the end of this long-winded diatribe, we come back to the original question – am I a pessimist or a realist? I’ve got to admit that most of what I’ve discussed seems pretty pessimistic, but from what I can determine everything I’ve talked about is reality, and generally backed up by facts. Maybe the determination is made in how we react to those realities. If you’re on this site, chances are that you’ve chosen to face them and do what you can to prepare for them.
I don’t know that I can add a lot to the overlays, other than to say that it’s something that we all need to practice. We are discovering more and more that with globalization literally everything is connected. Don’t forget that when you see the talking heads and “experts” on the nightly news, or YouTube, or wherever. They may be experts in their given field, but that doesn’t mean that any extraneous information that they are providing is even based in reality. A good example of that is the EMP/grid-down situation.
I’ve watched many experts say that if we lost the grid due to an EMP that it could take as long as 12 to 18 months to restore power! Really? How did they come to that conclusion? Well, my guess is they asked one of our service providers how long it would take to replace a damaged main transformer. The answer: 12 to 18 months. What they haven’t taken into account is that within the first week, stores will run out of food, service stations will run out of gas, people will be rioting in the street, et cetera, et cetera. Even if that transformer could be manufactured in a different country, without power, how do they think that they are going to get it to where it’s needed, installed and producing power a year after the grid goes down? And that’s one main transformer, not the thousands that they would need.
That’s just one example of people throwing out facts and statistics without really looking at other factors that will apply in the situation. I’ve always believed that if the grid went down, even for as little as a month, that the cascading effects would mean that it would never be restored – at least not to today’s standards. Is that pessimism or reality?
A couple years ago we had cyber attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, and some other large corporations. Since 2020 we’ve had over 100 fires at plants associated with the food industry. In the last year we’ve had several physical attacks on electrical substations. Oklahoma, North Carolina, Washington, and Oregon have all had sub-stations damaged in attacks. Are these all just random, unconnected events? Or is it all part of some larger plan that we can’t see, or aren’t even looking for? It just seems….strange.
I haven’t even touched on the continuing moral degradation of our society. Our seemingly head-long rush towards socialism, or big-brotherism, or whatever it is that we are moving towards. The attitude that it is okay to have transvestites in revealing outfits putting on shows for 5 and 6 year olds; sexualizing children. Stop and think about this for a second: If a person has sex with someone under the age of sixteen it’s statutory rape, because we don’t consider that person to be old enough to give consent. But it is somehow okay for the government or teachers to help a child of 12 (or younger) to “transition” to another gender without informing the parents!
How does that even make sense? I had better quit now, or I’m going to wind up going off on a rant for another couple pages, on the things that I see wrong with this country, and our society at present.
Closing Thoughts…Happy Thoughts
I’ve tried to cover what I consider the major issues that I see facing us, both as preppers and as plain old people. I try not to fall into the abyss of pessimism, but there doesn’t seem to be to many bright spots ahead, that I can see. But, you can’t prepare for something if you don’t acknowledge it. That’s where the realist comes in.
The other thing to always remember is that all of these issues that I’ve discussed are “Big Picture” issues. More often than not, they are not something that we have the ability to change, and if we continually dwell on them, it will depress us. The important thing is to be aware of them and how they may affect us on a personal level. I can’t fix the food shortage – but, I can stock up on some extra so that I can feed my family. Or, even better, put in a garden so that I’m less dependent on the grocery store. I sure can’t stop a CME taking the grid down, but I can make sure that I have alternate means of power, and maybe even some good old-fashioned tools and equipment that work without power.
I have a job that’s paying the bills, in spite of inflation. I have a wife and children that I love and cherish, and that love me. I became a grandpa twice this year, which is a new experience for me. I have a loving (and I hope forgiving) God in my life that continues to bless me. I have this site and the people that are on it, that have helped me to prepare for difficult times. I go forward with the knowledge and belief that God will see me through these troubled times…if that is his will. What more could a person ask for?
Thanks for coming on this journey with me. May God bless you.