Out of the dozen or so books I’ve read on the subject of man-made effects on the environment, “Farmageddon” has been the most consistent read so far. Without going to any extremes in his work for better animal welfare and a more harmonious-with-nature approach, Philip Lymbery’s writing gives a common-sense approach to the subject – A much-needed one in this day and age of doom and gloom.
“What I found was a soulless and higly tuned -milk-production operation in which the cows might as well have been kitchen aid machines, designed to swallow up ingredients and spew them out in another form, keepin the process going twenty-four hours a day until they ran out of steam” – Philip Lymbery
The circle of life is a complex study. Luckily it is far easier to understand human interaction and effect on nature. Perhaps not a perfect understanding, but good enough to understand the effects and the “why” of what’s going on.
Farmageddon is one of these studies of phenomenons, and overviews, on how crooked the global food-production industry is (backed up by the government) and the devastating effects on nature when resources that support ecosystems gets ripped out and shipped to another corner of the world, with no thought given on the future.
Authors Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott has done massive work in trying to puzzle the pieces together to give a clearer picture – Giving the birds-eye view, but also zooms in on specific communities all over the world and how they are affected on a very local level of what’s going on today.
The book isn’t taking a neutral stance on the topic of environmentalism – Something as simple as the book title show the intent on where the authors are going with the text within. Which is fine as far as I am concerned, as long as the material is spot on when it comes to delivering the payload. Which “Farmageddon” does in spades.
“Fishmeal is one of the filthiest secrets of the factory-farming industry, an enviornmental catastrophe that involves sucking millions of tonnes of small ish out of the sea and crushing them into fish oil and dry feed for farmed fish, pigs, and chickens. The process deprives millions of larger wild fish, birds and marine mammals of their nautral prey, drastically depleting stocks of important spiecies” – Philip Lymbery
The crisscrossing of animal feed, fertilizers, and finished food products is a massive effort stretching around the globe and one of my favorite things that I picked up from Farmageddon is the concept of ‘Ghost Acres’ that aims to explain the true nature behind the resources needed to put a steak on your dinner plate.
The concept was coined by food science professor Georg Borgstrom and is a practical way to calculate what it takes to sustain factory farming and is something I’ll look into deeper at another time on this blog. Once the cows, pigs, and chickens moved inside of barns made out of steel and concrete it is easy to think its space and resource-saving method of producing foodstuff. ‘Ghost Acres’ and similar methodologies of looking at this stuff shows that this kind of thinking is very faulty.
Even in countries that haven’t developed this kinds factory-farming system, where the cows still go on green fields and the farmers grow their own fodder – like here in Norway, where I live – there are still tendencies to try and make the food production more “effective” in other areas. The Norwegian salmon-farming, for example, is something I’m highly skeptical of. I am happy that Farmageddon is taking a look at this untraditional industry as well, making it a good supplement to the book Four Fish which I reviewed earlier this year.
“In 1967, Roberts founded the charity for which I now work: Compassion in World Farming. It was the autumn and the new organisation was run out of the familly cottage; one man, his wife, Anna, and three small daughters again an industry driven by government policy, subsidised by taxpayers’ money, guided by agricultural advisors and supported by a profusion of chemical, pharmaceutical and equipment companies” – Pihlip Lymbery
I recommend this book to my readers that understand that there is something wrong with the incentives in agriculture and how we consume food – Food production, especially the industrial one, are produced far away from us. We have lost control. If you find this acceptable, as a part of the natural cycle of life, this book will only debunk and destroy your point of view: Don’t read it.
For the rest of us, this is the baseline. The authors couldn’t possibly cover everything within a mere 300 pages, the other pages are all ours to write. We can, and we will do better.
We are the revolution.
If you would like to pick up a copy of Farmageddon, please consider using Amazon – You get the book for cheap and support this blog at the same time. Thank you ❤