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Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture
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Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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 hydro
Paperback, 125 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by New Society Publishers
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It confounds me that both sides of the sustainable energy debate are able to form such cogent explanations of their positions. In this book, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, the guy who runs the website, delivers a rather bleak diatribe about the failed state of unsustainable world agricultural practices. He explains -- among other things -- that the so-called Green Revolution of the 1960s and 70s succeeded in making food cheap, but in doing so brought to life a Frankenstein monster of ...more
I wrote this book. It is a very scary piece of nonfiction. Many consider it to be the book on energy and food production and the coming agricultural crisis.
Fearmongering. Neat.

I do believe that the end of fossil fuels is nearer than currently conceived by many United States citizens. And yes, a lack thereof would render some modern agricultural practices useless (i.e. the use of diesel power tractors and transportation of end products). However, as an agriculturalist trained in economics and agronomy, I find great fault in the claims made against the intent of the Green Revolution and the "failed" outcome of it. Throughout the book I longed for a r
Dan Sharber
this was a pretty solid book. very good information about the interpentration between agriculture and fossil fuels. it also points to the need for a wider systemic change and not simply driving more fuel efficient cars. our industrial agricultural system requires huge amounts of fossil fuels every step of the way. transport, fertilization, pest treatment, irrigation etc etc all require fossil fuels. we need to transition away from industrial agriculture not simply to prevent further global warmi ...more
This was an intriguing book; undoubtedly dealing with a particularly political issue, I think the author was actually a Geologist.

Consequently I didn't really find the political analysis very broad nor enlightening. In some situations I think it was just inaccurate. However, that said the facts on the amount of oil we use in making our food were amazing. Really interesting and eye-opening stuff.

I enjoyed his idea to use Cuba and North Korea as case studies of countries who have already suffered
Reza Putra
Awalnya, gue baca buku ini untuk memastikan hubungan antara populasi (x) dengan kelaparan (y1) dan kerusakan lingkungan (y2). Gua berprasangka bahwa fakta-fakta mengenai buruknya keadaan lingkungan saat ini dimanipulasi oleh politikus dengan menekan ilmuwan tertentu untuk kepentingan pribadi dan golongan—yang mana diakui pula oleh penulis bahwa hal tersebut mungkin saja terjadi (p. 35). Depopulasi karena kekhawatiran akan adanya wabah kelaparan terdengar seperti mengamini motif Hitler ketika mem ...more
Colin Bruce Anthes
I was not fond of this book halfway through. Practically every line was a cited bit of information. This made it very difficult to digest or compare the information, and the author did not seem to take any form of progress or potential into consideration.

The second half of the book, however, focused on a few situations in greater depth. Those situations dealt with issues that had massive effects on entire nations, and so they provide solid sample information for the rest of the yet-uneffected w
Thom Foolery
Apr 17, 2010 Thom Foolery rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Greens, foodies, people who don't view starvation favorably
Concisely explains the Green Revolution and its coming crisis in the context of peaking exploitation of oil, natural gas, and fresh water. Provides look at two modern societies, North Korea and Cuba, which have both experienced agricultural crises related to the unavailability of oil and other essential resources, and explores the radically different approaches these nations took to the crises. Briefly explores alternatives to the technology- and resource-intense Green Revolution and provides an ...more
Well written overview of the worldwide agricultural situation as it relates to fossil fuels and the overuse and over dependence on these limited resources. While Pfeiffer can come across as bleak and "doom n' gloom", he reminds the reader than when you give up and lose hope, you lose your chance to survive. That said, he offers several ideas for a move towards sustainable agriculture and living. A good read for anyone interested in making our world a more sustainable place to live, before it is ...more
Even in a quarter of what is predicted comes to be, we need to seriously rethink our agricultural practices.
Not really a book so much as an extra-long term paper about stuff we all should have already known.
A scary realization of what may happen to our world. The ending is somewhat uplifting!
The Green Revolution sure was a bad idea. Find out why.
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