Earth Policy Release – Full Planet, Empty Plates: Quick Facts

Ethical Markets Trendspotting

We at Ethical Markets also highlight the role of speculation in commodity futures, even by pension funds, as causing the rising food prices, now verified by the models  of the New England Complexity Science Institute (NECSI ),  Hazel Henderson, Editor

Earth Policy Release
November 7, 2012

With falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures making it difficult to feed growing populations, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Here are a few of the many facts from the book to consider:



  • Food prices are rising dramatically. The U.N. Food Price Index in June 2012 was twice the base level of 2002-04.




  • Between 2005 and 2011, the amount of grain used to produce fuel for cars in the United States climbed from 41 million to 127 million tons—nearly a third of the U.S. grain harvest.






  • The 464 land acquisitions identified by the World Bank in 2010 totaled some 140 million acres—more than is planted in corn and wheat combined in the United States.



“In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil.
Land is the new gold.”
– Lester R. Brown