Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 4, Agriculture.

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You’ll find the introduction to this series here.

This post looks at ‘Agriculture’.

Why do we farm, and produce food the way we do? There’s a long history of human agricultural activity going back around 10,000 years. In the past, in many cultures, the majority of the population was involved in creating food for the community. That aspect has largely declined, especially in the more ‘advanced’ cultures of the modern world. Machinery, computing, hydroponic operations, and many other factors have rendered the large workforce redundant. Will that trend automatically continue and spread to all farming communities in future? Or will climatic, cultural, and political pressures demand change from this industry?

Much food is consumed far from the country of origin. But shipping is a major cause of climate change, so will this aspect reduce with time? After all, many plants that are currently seen as ‘exotic’ in lands other than those of their source, could readily be grown under glass with greenhouses powered by solar/wind/thermal-bore energy. Other plants could be modified by genetic engineering to withstand climatic conditions currently incompatible with their growth. We already have a process that produces meat without any need for stock animals. Will the ‘test tube’ be employed to replace the billions of chickens, the millions of cattle and sheep currently farmed for their meat? What effect would such changes have on the Amazon destruction, farm pollution in rivers, etc?

Urban farms, on top, or climbing the sides, of skyscrapers are already with us. Is this a trend that will increase? Will excess population demand that we destroy more wildlife ecologies in order to feed our burgeoning population? Or will some sense of our specie’s overblown self-importance finally persuade us to reduce our constant breeding and false pride in the biological ‘achievement’ of large families? Perhaps even the religious institutions, so keen on expanding their empires by preventing sensible birth control and appropriate use of abortion, might come on board as conservationists when they realise their very existence is threatened by overpopulation?

These and many other factors need to be considered when creating fiction set in the future. Are you writing an optimistic or a dystopian piece? Whatever it is, how will you deal with such issues in your story?

Part 1 of the series is here. Part 2 Activism, here. Part 3, Advertising .

Research examples:
The Conversation.com
Fg Insight.com
YouTube video

10 thoughts on “Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 4, Agriculture.

  1. Pingback: Weekend Wrap-up: Feb. 6 – Lines by Leon

  2. Great story prompt! We are at the point where sustenance farming is completely impractical for the masses. How did we get here? More access to reliable food = more people, more people = a need for more reliable food sources. How do we break this cycle? I think Heston said it best when he called out, “Soylent Green is made of people! it’s people!”

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    1. Glad you can see a story prompt here, Leon. Of course, the real issue with food is to do with distribution rather than production. There’s enough food to go round, but it is unequally shared, mostly because the wealthier nations that once colonised the poorer ones have left a history inadequate for those lands to deal well with many issues. And the demand for ‘exotic’ foods by the wealthy nations often results in those crops being grown in preference to the basic foods needed by the residents of the poorer countries, simply to satisfy the profit greed of those with the wealth and therefore power to control the markets. But that’s a topic for another post.

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  3. I don’t hold out much hope that the (mostly) fundamental religionists will learn the importance of taking care of the earth. Most of them don’t care, because they believe that god is going to end the world during the rapture and that they will go to heaven because they have closely followed the so-called rules. Why care about the environment when the world is going to end anyway??

    Then there’s the deniers who refuse to believe there’s a problem and that burning oil and gas is a good thing. I understand that it takes a full generation for this type of adjustment (the realisation that oil and gas usage is dying) in thinking to occur.

    However, I am at heart an optimist, and I do think those changes in thinking are beginning to happen, hopefully soon enough …

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    1. I agree, Lynette. That’s why they were such supporters of the idiot Trump. It’s a fundamental problem of most religions that they consider the ‘afterlife’, a non-existent and disastrous dream, more important than the real life we live here on Earth. It’s a constant theme of much of my fiction, actually.
      The deniers, of course, are largely people with a vested interest in the status quo and without the sense to understand that their profiting from the use of fossil fuel places the future for their own offspring at risk as much as the children of those of us who accept the science.
      I, too, am an optimist and hope that the double-edged sword of the internet will slowly educate those who otherwise would wish to remain in ignorance of the realities.

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  4. Nicely written Stuart. There is so much truth to what you have written. I truly believe we will be forced to continue to use land to grow livestock. In the not so fat away future we will likely be eating 3D generated foods made with mostly insects and using lots of mill worms. Our food will look like a hamburger but it will be anything but in the not too distant future. Great lesson and useful tools my friend. I see what you have been up to. Nicely done. Hope you two are being careful. Sending hugs to you two. 🤗🤗💕❤️Joni

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    1. Thanks, Joni. I’m putting this series together for a few reasons. Initially, it’s to help other scifi writers, but it will also hopefully generate thoughts about our future among readers, too. I do a great deal of research for my books, and this seems a good way to share the thoughts I generate through that process of learning.
      Just come back from having my 1st Covid 19 vaccination. You and Scott stay safe and keep well.

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