Single Event Led to a Collapse

   05.23.17

Single Event Led to a Collapse

As some of my regular readers know, I am a big history fan. Everything I read is non-fiction ranging from modern, all the way to Neanderthals. I recently started a new book, “The Little Ice Age – How Climate Made History, by Brian Fagan”.

On page 29 the author states, “The deluge began in 1315.” There was never ending rain. Crops rotted in the fields, topsoil was washed away, hay was not able to be dried, so there was no livestock food for the winter.

When the spring of 1316 arrived, the rains came again

By the winter of 1317, fodder stocks for livestock had been depleted. With no food stored for the livestock, the animals were allowed to roam free. Cattle, sheep and horses either froze or starved to death. With fewer livestock to plow the fields and no seeds from last years crops, less food was planted. Fewer livestock animals also meant less manure to use as fertilizer.

From 1315-1317, even the Kings and churches were unable to find enough food to feed themselves.

The period between 1315-1317 is called “The Great Famine.” An estimated 10-25% of the European population died.

It was a full seven years (1322),  before harvest returned to normal. Shortly after 1322 was when the Continent began cooling.

Single Event Felt Global

Notice that a single event, rain, caused a cascade of events that left hundreds of thousands starving and dead.

  • Rain caused the crops to die.
  • No fodder for livestock.
  • No seeds from the previous year.
  • Topsoil washed away.
  • No manure for fertilizer.

Here we are 700 years later and there are many parallels to today’s world.

In 1317 peasants lived harvest to harvest. In today’s world, people live paycheck to pay check. Any disruption in the pay checks and people go hungry. Our grocery stores depend on shipments arriving on time, day after day.

Just as people in the middle ages depended on good weather so they can eat, we depend on a world-wide food supply chain. A large amount of our out-of-season food is imported. Something that happens to another part of the world will impact our food supply. The same goes for the rest of the world. If something happens to the bread basket, parts of the world will go hungry.

Conclusions

Part of my prepping strategy is to apply history to my prepping plans. I look at events like The Great Famine, and try to figure out how my prepping plans would deal with it.

Not if, but when, there is a disruption in our food supply, cities have no way to cope. There is not enough room in cities to grow food for everyone. Urban areas will fare a little better. Rural areas will probably be the best off.

In 1315-1317, people abandoned their homes in search of food. If people from the city were forced to leave and look for food, urban and rural dwellers will not be able to absorb millions of people.

Our food supply chain has reached a point where it is simply too big to fail.

 

 

 

 

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