J Morris Hicks

J Morris Hicks

Posted February 28, 2011

Published in Green, International

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The price of oil...and the food that we eat

Read More: energy, environment, peak oil

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Our best near term solution to conserving fossil fuels is right under our noses -- it's what we put in our mouths every day.

Thumbnail image for Photo Newport.jpgBlogging from Houston today, I thought this would be a good day to cover this critical topic. With the world's biggest rodeo in town this week, I am probably putting my life in danger as I blog about the global issues associated with our consumption of beef. Oh well, here goes....

Chapter 5 of our book is devoted to a look at our energy resources and our potential for making our finite supply of fossil fuels last long enough for us to develop enough sources of renewable energy to replace them.

It turns out that the single biggest opportunity available to us to conserve our fossil fuels is a deliberate shift in the direction of a plant-based diet for all of humankind.

While doing research for the book, we studied the works of Jeff Rubin, prominent energy economist, and many others. In the video linked at the end of this post, one particular point caught my attention right away. During the era of cheap oil, we have been expending 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce a single calorie of food. After "peak oil," that simply means that food is going to become a lot more expensive -- to grow, to process and to distribute.

CenMkt avo tomato.jpgThe video below describes the impending crisis -- the picture at left illustrates our best near term solution. The video, produced in the U.K. around 2005, is a good overview of the "peak oil" phenomenon and the likely repercussions that will be felt around the world once we realize that we are past peak.

Many experts feel that we very well may have reached the peak in 2010. The U.S. hit its peak in 1971, UK in the late nineties and more countries join the "post peak" club every year. Oil discoveries have been in decline for over 45 years and the oil that we do find is ever more increasingly difficult, and expensive, to extract.

It is common knowledge that the production of meat requires far more energy per calorie as compared to whole plant foods. According to an Ohio State study that we researched for our book,

 even the least energy efficient plant food is more than ten times as efficient as the most efficient animal food.

Regardless of when we hit that peak, the aftermath could include famine, riots and chaos around the world. In addition to developing renewable fuels, the best thing we can do right now is to work together to make our oil last as long as possible.

I reiterate; the single biggest opportunity available for us to conserve our fossil fuels is a deliberate shift in the direction of a plant-based diet for all of humankind.

China's demand for oil, already greater than the U.S., is projected to double in the next 40 years. With demand for oil still growing rapidly in the developing world, there is simply no other way that the world could actually reduce its net thirst for oil -- while at the same time promoting the best health for ourselves and nurturing our fragile environment. A WIN-WIN-WIN.

Click here for the previously mentioned video on "peak oil."

Guac Prep 2.JPG

From a Starbucks at the Houston Galleria, have a great day and be well,

---J. Morris Hicks...blogging daily at