Starvation and the Middle East

A lot of the folktales we were told as children involved starving peasant children begging for scraps of bread.  That is what happened in Europe during the creation of our folk memory.  People spent a lot of their lives on an involuntary calorie-restricted diet.  The stories from those times do not involve twelve year old girls getting ponies for their birthday or the horror of an older teenager getting the wrong-colored car for her birthday.  Starvation is what stopped the human population blowing out to 10 billion thousands of years ago. As a civilisation, we have largely forgotten about starvation because of two technical advances: 1) the Haber process enables coal or natural gas to power the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to fertilizer (the source of half the protein on our plates) and; 2) the green revolution pioneered by Norman Borlaug.  That is all by way of background, and is history.  Meanwhile, population growth in some places is still...(Read Full Article)

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