See this article for an excellent summary of the current food situation.
Once again, I am attempting to get readers to understand that reality dictates that dramatic changes have to occur and different institutions have to be developed.
Jerome Raines in The Institution describes one top-down way of building the knowledge required to get us through this crisis:
I am coming to the conclusion that it is unrealistic to expect the general public to make a move without their leaders telling them to do so. We haven’t been programmed that way. In fact, the Constitution prohibits it. What I’m suggesting acknowledges, and challenges, the ruling class. If there is to be meaningful change those who really hold power will have to be the instigators. This is also a course of action that might wake people up. It would draw attention to the grimness of our circumstances and how imperative it is that we act.
At this juncture, it is up to the powerful to save our asses by suggesting that society take a “jubilee” from doctrine, dogma, and specialization. Except for essential services, daily life as we know it would be transformed into a twenty-four hour, seven days a week opening of all public and private libraries for a period of at least six months. No one would go into the classroom, the office, or any other workplace. Those who do not currently “labor” would be required to help those who provide essential services. All payments that are due during this period would be added to the end of whatever payment schedule exists. All of us -- religious persons, professors, professionals, and producers -- would take the time to find out how our little slice of pie fits into the whole. We would do this purposefully with an eye towards developing ourselves into higher quality human beings and transitioning to a mature, advanced civilization. As a society we could potentially leap forward into a more comprehensive age.
Even in the face of how rapidly things are deteriorating it won’t be easy though. I’m not sure how to get the talking heads, the think tanks, the political pundits, and all the other so-called experts to quit leading their followers down this dead end we call the American Dream. The American Dream is an ecological nightmare. The Enlightenment principles on which this liberal democracy was founded are based on material growth in a land of plenty. The founding fathers neither foresaw nor made provision for scarcity. Did they suffer from what University of Colorado professor Albert Bartlett calls the greatest shortcoming of the human race -- our inability to understand the exponential function? Is that why they never asked, what happens when we run out of the land and resources that provide the means with which to expand? Because our political/economic system is flawed at the core, once the material peak was realized the failure of this democracy was a given. Promising perpetual abundance through the conquest of nature and the tyranny of property rights may have looked like a sound plan at one time. That was before consumer demands and retirement expectations exceeded our society’s capacity to provide them without bankrupting the nation. Now that economic gains can no longer be delivered, what do we do? It seems to me, we might entertain basing our political system on something other than selfish individualism.
In order to overcome the flaws of the current paradigm, four considerations stand out -- ecological continuity, consciousness, personal virtue/ethics, and a form of governance that ensures our stated goals are met. These must be at the foundation of whatever we conceive. Perhaps we could look to ecological principles for answers. A climax forest would be a good place to start searching for clues as to what works over the long haul. In that environment many species committed to quality growth efficiently use the available energy to lead long, complex, symbiotic lifestyles.