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Price of eggs, Irish potato famine & dangers of placing climate solutions in one basket
Dennis Wyatt new mug
Dennis Wyatt

Putting all off year eggs in the proverbial one basket can be expensive.

Consider what is happening now, especially in California

The average price of a dozen run-of-the-mill, non-organic eggs in the Golden State is now $7.37.

That’s up from $4.83 six weeks ago.

Some of it is issues with the “raw material” supply chain as in the delivery of grains that constitute chicken feed.

Much of it has to do with events that can’t easily be controlled.

Just like the Ukraine-Russia war has upended energy markets, sent prices soaring and is creating major challenges to move toward green energy without creating widespread human suffering in places like Europe, the egg industry is experiencing its Waterloo.

It’s called the avian flu.

Chickens get the flu. Humans get the flu .

But even back in the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918, it doesn’t wipe out entire cities of humans.

In the case of the avian flu, it can wipe out entire flocks.

It is why poultry farmers — think chickens and turkeys — are sticklers for sanitation to assure the health of their flocks.

Even if you don’t eat egg dishes per se — scrambled, poached, omelets, sunny side up and otherwise — most of us eat eggs to some degree. They are ingredients in a lot of creations from many ice creams to cookies.

What is happening short-term with eggs is what is happening to efforts to address air quality in the name of today’s climate change realties.

The climate changes. Man does  a lot of stupid self-destructing things. No one should be arguing that.

That said, there are questions of why these things happen.

At the same time, most of the green solutions moving forward are building on long-established efforts to make the air cleaner, assure safe water supplies, and energy security.

In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, there is evidence before our eyes that overall, the green movement accelerated by an uptick in teeth gnashing over how the climate changes has its roots in problems we can identify with.

*The air quality in the valley by a number of matrixes was twice as worse as it is today than it was in the early 1990s with half as many people. It wasn’t that long ago that you couldn’t even see Mt. Diablo on  the northwest horizon most summer and early fall days.

*The concern of too much water and not enough water from what the skies deliver is evident with the number of levees and dams we have in the greater region. Rising sea levels — aa well as retreating sea levels — aren’t a product of paranoia. We are literally standing on what was once a great inland sea.

*Fossil-based fuels are not renewable energy. Once they are used up at some point in the future — whether it is 100 or 500 years from now — they will be gone. Whiteness the Rio Vista Gas Field in the adjacent Delta that has produced 3.6 trillion cubic feet of gas so far with an estimated 330 billion cubic feet left.

Those are realities we can’t ignore.

But at the same time solutions need to be varied enough that they don’t put the economy — or more precisely, civilization itself — into the same exact quandary we are now experiencing with egg supply and prices.

Worse yet, we have a myopic approach when it comes to how we view the green energy movement regardless of what side of the fence we are leaning toward.

Imagine if we took the same approach with eggs as much of Europe did with potatoes in the 1840s.

If our diet and agriculture was so narrow as it was in Europe in the 1840s, historians would one day be calling this The Great Egg Famine of 2023.

It sounds absurd but if our dependence on food choices was as sharply focused on a handful of staples was 175 years ago, the egg shortage would have dire consequences.

It was events beyond potato blight itself — the response of the United Kingdom’s government  on how to control it as well as decisions made to supposedly save Ireland that forbid access to workhouse aid while in possession of more than a quarter-acre of land — that led to widespread suffering, death, and political upheaval.

That is where the myopic factor comes into play.

The United Kingdom’s ruling class held firm to its perception of the cause and solution to end the famine that was impacting all of  Europe and not just their nation.

It triggered unintended consequences that still reverberate today.

If you are sure the Chicken Little-style alarmists are on the money or if climate change is non-existent in any form and is the figment of someone’s imagination, you will likely dismiss those that see a balancing act between the two positions as the best course of action forward.

Those that see an alternative course not  weighed down by absolute mandates and putting all of the proverbial eggs in one basket are often dismissed on one side as “deniers” and on the other as being “woke”.

And if that isn’t dismissive enough, those on both side of the issue will parrot one of the most irritating pronouncements Rush Limbaugh ever made that those seeking a middle ground have no bedrock values or core beliefs.

It is a condensing assumption that allows both sides to arrogantly  dismiss arguments that would tweak their stances on green energy and climate change.

There has always been a danger in putting all of our eggs into one basket whether it is fossil fuels or solar/wind energy.

And those that have staked out absolute positions on either side of any issue are blinded to the facts the decisions we make for ourselves — whether as individuals, the community, the country, or the world as a whole — are not made in a vacuum.