“…the amount of grain grew from 285 kilograms per person in 1961 to a peak of 376 kilograms in 1986. But since then, grain yields have begun to stagnate, while population has kept growing; by now, the average human is back to 350 kilograms per year.[*]  Read those numbers again. For the last quarter century, despite the rapid spread of massive-scale corporate agribusiness farming, despite the help of Warrior and Extreme and Prowl and Respect and Kixor [pesticides], despite the advent of genetically engineered crops, despite the $185,000 tractor, the amount of food per person has been dropping.”

Eaarth, Bill McKibben, pg. 153.
* Source: Brian Halweil, “Grain Harvests Set Records, But Supplies Still Tight,” Worldwatch.org, Dec. 12, 2007.

Because yields were rising, we never took seriously all the warnings. In much the same way that rising house prices lured people into ever deeper debt, the Green Revolution lured us into a kind of ecological dept we’re only starting to comprehend. As Graham Harvey, the English food researcher (and the farming consultant to the radio drama The Archers), points out, ‘Our food supply is now more dependent on globally traded grains than at any time in our history. This makes it inherently unstable and vulnerable to the kind of catastrophic meltdown that threatened the banking industry.'”

Eaarth, Bill McKibben, pg. 156-7.

In 1940, our food system produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil fuel it consumed. Now, says Michael Pollan, ‘it takes ten calories of fossil energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food.‘”

Eaarth, Bill McKibben, pg. 156.

“In fact, though, the science now makes clear that ‘far from compensating for the other damages associated with climate change, hotter temperatures will seriously diminish the world’s ability to feed itself.'”

Eaarth, Bill McKibben, pg. 153.

“The federal government says that thirty-six states face water shortages in the next five years, which is bad news for farming, since 70 percent of the water we use goes for irrigation, and irrigated fields supply as much as 40 percent of the world’s food. By 2007 half of Australia’s farmland was in a declared drought, and a farmer was committing suicide every four days.

Eaarth, Bill McKibben, pg. 155.