Saturday, May 9, 2015

The myth of sustainable anything in a profit driven world

The following post was prompted by the Pacific Standard article linked below.

The fallacy of sustainable seafood within a profit driven industrial model is aptly demonstrated in this article. What might not be so obvious, however, is that even with engineering taken, literally to new heights, by creating our own, controlled, food spheres off planet (or even some vast underground accommodations), the profit/risk mentality will prove disastrous.

Firstly, of course, is the fact that we have to admit to ourselves that industrialized food production of some sort is a given with population numbers that will start clicking over the tens of billions, sooner rather than later, unless truly horrific global collapse occurs. Continuing on with business as usual will, at a best case scenario, allow for a slow creep towards that final catastrophe. And the basis for this assertion is the simple fact that the profit/risk mind set has cutting corners embedded in its DNA; the combination of competition and the need for margin maximization makes this inevitable.

The fact of the matter is that you not only can't do industrialized food within a complex ecosystem that you wish to preserve on a much more fundamental level, you cannot do it on the scale of absolute critical control required by the demands of this kind of engineering; the shear size, low failure tolerance, and scope of effort required to get it started (investment without ordinary considerations of personal gain) make the current operating model absolutely inadequate to the task.

This is why I have been quite adamant in advocating social change integrated with several technological imperatives; namely the combination of a hydrogen fuel cycle, as well as a vastly more robust space program. Thus I have proposed sea based Tornado Wind turbines to be able to produce hydrogen on this kind of scale, and a mass driver launch system to enable the kind of tonnage throughput to make that scale of off planet operations feasible.

If you think this will happen, the way it ought to happen, if we continue playing the money game then you are truly not paying attention at all.
Aquaculture farm system. (Photo: Pan Xunbin/Shutterstock)

Is the Demand for Sustainable Seafood Unsustainable?