Several years ago I imagined that at some point not too far away we would reach a food apocalypse. That we could not produce food. We would not have vegetables, legumes, or cereals available because in addition to the disappearance of the bees, agriculture would no longer be possible since all the seeds, in the hands of a single company, would no longer be available after the financial bankruptcy of this corporation. Nor could we feed ourselves on meat, eggs or milk because since we did not have soy or corn for fattening, all the farms on the planet had had to lower the blind. Farming animals in freedom, grazing, had already disappeared years ago from our memory and this possibility was unknown.
And the sea and the rivers? In my delusions, at that moment the cause I imagined was "a plague of sea lice born in aquaculture pools that had jumped into all the oceans and seas causing a complete and irreparable infestation."
At the rate we are going, the first two suspicions are more likely than ever. Bayer, with products in its catalog dangerous for bees, is already almost the only owner and mistress of the genetic heritage of humanity. And the third, has it already started? Hopefully not, but at the end of July, explains the environmental organization Salmon an Trout Conservation Scotland, a very high proportion of dead wild salmon were found in one of Scotland's most iconic rivers, the Black Water. The cause of this mortality was the presence of hundreds of lice adhering to the salmon "peeling off the skin" until their death. On the net you can find the photos and a video that illustrate this description, but it is not very pleasant to watch. And, indeed, it seems that these parasites have reached wild salmon spread from the seven farms of The Scottish Salmon Company that grow salmon in captivity in that region.
Fish farms, where hundreds of thousands of salmon are grouped, are a conducive environment for the multiplication of lice that end up reaching the surrounding waters, thus affecting the animals in the wild.
The news should force us to rethink industrial food production systems. Wanting to produce huge quantities of food at frantic rates to distribute around the world in exchange for economic benefits, we insist, is forcing the harmony and balance of natural systems with lethal consequences: from climate change to the disappearance of thousands of species or the loss of fertility of the lands and waters that are the sustenance of life. The argument made that it is the only way to feed a growing population is false. Analyzing the current hunger figures it is no longer necessary to argue about it.
Perhaps the only logical discussion is to debate whether life in the sea will be extinguished by a plague of lice or a plague of plastics. Or for both.
By Gustavo Duch
El Periódico de Catalunya