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Fossil Fuel Divestment, Financial Storms & Food Gardening

Touch the Soil News #197

Food gardening for oneself, or as a market-garden business, may seem like a small ship in an ocean of turbulence. But that is the point. Big ships create their own turbulence as they bump into each other and the environment. Can food gardening and market gardening provide small ports of safety?

We know everyone is tied to “fighting for dollars” in order to access things that provide our sustenance and enjoyment. Rarely do we consider that all of our eggs are in one basket – the financial dollar basket. Organizing life around dollars certainly has merits, but it is also the playing field of every conceivable “mischief.” This does not mean everyone is corrupt. It means there are big players whose activities result in outcomes that can hurt the majority.

Being a food gardener requires some “dollar-denominated” activities. But it also allows for pieces of the enterprise to be totally a function of our own labor and skill – offering some buffer to the “dollar” world of turbulence and employment insecurity.

There is now another big movement on the horizon – fossil fuel divestment – that can have financial consequences to the larger financial/economic landscape. The majority of the industrial food that keeps us propped up is also a creature of fossil fuels. Whether it is the oil products that power big equipment, synthetic fertilizers that prop up yields or the transportation chain – modern agriculture is addicted to oil.

It is estimated that fossil fuel enterprises are the home to some $5 trillion in investments. The faster dollars are withdrawn, the quicker the collapse of the investments. Contributing to the fossil-fuel collapse are global climate-protection regulations, the growth of solar and wind energy and now the fossil-fuel divestment movement.

As of September, 2014, investment funds controlling $50 billion in assets were pledged to divest their portfolios of fossil fuel investments. As of September, 2015, 436 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries representing $2.6 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies. Pledges to divest have increased 50-fold in one year (source: special report supported by Arabella Advisors on fossil-fuel divestment trends).

The social and political pressure to end fossil fuel dominance will create temporary turbulence that will touch the job, financial, investment and industrial agriculturel sectors. The promise of this turbulence is not its avoidance, but the victory humanity is given over its destiny as it comes out the other side.”

How much better would you be prepared for turbulence, if you were a market gardener which generates some dollars, better health, more nutritious food and skills most everyone would be envious of? Is there another activity – besides becoming a market gardener – that would bring greater stability to a family’s health and well- being in an uncertain world?

Following is a video clip of divestment activities, including the divestment activities of the heirs of the largest oil tycoon in history – John D. Rockefeller. Collapsing old investments and struggling new sustainable investments may well be the norm for the present human era.

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