I'm showing "The End of Suburbia" to my students this week, which means it's time to update the Guide to entries that contain answers to "The End of Suburbia." For this semester, I'm following through on a promise I made in a comment on the latter entry last semester.
I need to write about fossil fuel use in agriculture, a topic covered by Questions 14-16 for "The End of Suburbia" and Question 28 for "Food, Inc." Stay tuned.Follow over the jump for the four questions and the answers in the same style as Corn questions from 'Food, Inc.' worksheet.
First, the three food questions from "The End of Suburbia."
14. How did fossil fuels contribute to the first Green Revolution?Petroleum distillates fuel the tractors and combines that replaced animals as the source of power on the farm. Pesticides are made from oil, both the active ingredients and the solvent base. Finally, synthetic fertilizers, which replaced manure and compost, are made from natural gas.
15. What effect will Peak Oil have on agriculture?James Howard Kunstler predicted that agriculture would become more local and more labor-intensive, which means that people will have to grow food for their own communities instead of relying on products transported long distance and a lot more people would be involved in food production. The late Michael Ruppert expected that food would become scarcer and more expensive.
16. How many fossil fuel calories are used to produce one calorie of food?Ruppert recited ten, not counting transportation, refrigeration, and food preparation.
That was in 2003. In 2009, Richard Heinberg, who is also in the film, came up with 7.4 calories of fossil fuel energy per food calorie for all the parts of the food system.
Oh, look, we're getting more efficient!
Now for the question from "Food, Inc."
28. How many gallons of oil are needed to bring a steer to market?Michael Pollan said it took 75 gallons of oil to bring a steer to market. He may have understated the amount.
Troy Roush is right; as I quoted him in the title, "We eat a lot of oil."