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'Fracking' Our Food and Farming System: "Extreme Agriculture" and the Politics of Denial

For related articles and information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

  It might seem a bit of a jump - talking about "fracking" and food production in the same article. However, when we look at what's planned for the next phase of intensive agricultural development, what we find is the same economic and political theories at the root of the measures proposed. 

As we approach the ecological limits to growth, and the measures to maintain "business as usual" become even more extreme, the latest technofix "solutions" to our needs have as much to do with denying the existence of those limits, as they are intended to provide more food or energy. 

The problem with the debate over fracking is that it has become highly insular. It focusses on drilling, or pollution; and fails to make the wider connection to the issues of lifestyle and resources which - arguably - represent the deeper motivation behind the political support for extreme energy sources. 

The same is true of the current debate over farming. We argue about one form of agriculture or another, or different consumer products; but without reference to the wider patterns of lifestyle which predetermine the form of that discussion. 

In contrasting fracking and food, I hope to highlight - through the commonality in underlying causal factors - the wider analysis which we need to bring to the ecological debate.