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Published on October 16th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Cleantech & Food: How Are They Related?

October 16th, 2011 by  

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

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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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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