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Published on October 16th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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Cleantech & Food: How Are They Related?



clean energy food

Today is Blog Action Day, with the topic being Food this year, and our network is participating. So, what’s cleantech got to do with food?

Well, while we don’t write about it a lot. Clean energy and cleantech, in general, have a ton to do with food.

Energy and Food

Of course, energy is needed for the humongous food industry that feeds us (most of us, that is…). With rising energy prices (due to peak oil, growing demand, and us finally starting to calculate in the health, environmental, and other societal costs of dirty energy sources), the food industry is affected and food prices rise. Beyond inconvenience to those of us living in rich countries and not under the poverty line, this can also leave many without food and can trigger tremendous social unrest and political instability.

Getting the costs of clean energy down faster than not (primarily with good government policies and mass deployment at this point) and installing cheap, clean energy as fast as possible will help to transition us away from costly and increasingly expensive dirty energy more smoothly.

Wind energy is already the cheapest option for new electricity in most places. Solar may be the cheapest in the long term. Other good options we can tap today include geothermal and various types of marine energy.  And, of course, we can and should tremendously improve our energy efficiency.

Driving EVs is also an obvious solution, with the medium- or long-term costs already lower for most people.

Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Food

Aside from just driving down the cost of energy, an even bigger issue when it comes to food is the intricate relationship between global warming, climate change, and food security (or insecurity). This is actually something we write about a lot on sister sites Planetsave and Eat Drink Better.

Of course, the #1 thing we can do to address global warming and climate change is speed up the transition to a clean energy economy. It’s not the only thing. But it’s clearly at the top of the list.

So, in the end, I guess I’m saying that today is a good day to reflect on some of the lesser-discussed reasons for promoting, developing, and installing clean energy. Food security being one of them. (Water security another, of course.) And, beyond just reflecting, it’s time to get down to business promoting and installing clean energy.

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Hellebardius

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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  • Anonymous

    We have a very active farmers market system in our area and a number of people making a living by growing produce for those markets and some of our grocery stores.

    That cuts down on the field -> market distance which, in some cases, can decrease petroleum used for transport. (Not in all cases. A full truck of produce can move a long distance on the fuel used by a pickup/van moving a small amount.)

    We’ve also got farmers using electric conversion tractors to work their fields. Batteries are adequate to let one work about an acre per charge, which is fine when you’re growing a variety of crops and staggering planting rather than using a mono-crop system.

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