FFS – Against Food Apocalypse

A frequent image or scenario in discussions about the future of food is that of environmental collapse. That global warming will lead to epidemics of diseases, massive migrations of people, collapse of ecosystems and massive shortages of food. These form the backgrounds to the need for a technological intervention that will address one part, or aspect of this frightening future scenario (FFS). As several authors have previously noted (see Swyngedouw) if the authors genuinely believed this FFS they would have taken to the hills with a stock of tinned food and a shotgun. Rather this FFS is a rhetorical device aimed at demonstrating the urgency and saliency of their intervention.

But this not to suggest that the FFS is harmless, rather as with much rhetoric it has a cumulative impact. We start to see that the future is frightening and restricted, it is perilous and pernicious. This is the a dark reflection of the utopianism that scarred much of the 20th century (see John Gray). It is equally damaging and is not based on evidence but generally on projections, which are at best a speculative form of knowledge. Yet, it would seem at time that much policy and thought is being guided by such FFS.

We need to start to question this form of rhetoric, perhaps as sceptically as we would question those who try to sell us a panglossian future.


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