Global Authorities Brace For A Worldwide Protein Shortage As “One-Quarter Of Earth’s Pigs Have Been Wiped Out”

African Swine Fever is killing millions upon millions of pigs all over the world, and this threatens to create a crippling global shortage of protein as we head into 2020.  This epidemic began in China last year, and it is now also running wild in North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines.  But this crisis is certainly not limited to Asia.  According to the Washington Post, so far in 2019 there have also been outbreaks “in Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.”  Overall, cases of African Swine Fever have been documented “in nearly 50 nations”, and U.S. pork producers are extremely concerned that it could start spreading here too.

African Swine Fever is extremely contagious, there is no vaccine, and there is no cure.  Once it starts spreading in a certain area, there isn’t much that can be done “other than culling herds and loading carcasses into hazardous waste sites”.  Literally, we are talking about an unstoppable global plague that is an existential threat to our food supply.  Of course many of us don’t eat pork, but there will also be an immense strain on supplies of beef and chicken as those that eat pork are forced to turn to other alternatives.  This is an exceedingly serious situation, and with each month it is just getting worse.

China is the epicenter for this crisis, and CNN is reporting that the Chinese herd has “shrunk by around 130 million” since this epidemic first began last year…

The damage that African swine fever has wrecked on China’s pig population is hard to overstate. The country is home to half of all the pigs on the planet, and its herd has shrunk by around 130 million since the outbreak began about 13 months ago, according to a CNN Business analysis of data from the Chinese agricultural ministry. Many farmers are reluctant to restock pigs after they are slaughtered, fearing they’ll catch the disease.

To put that in perspective, there are only about 70 million pigs in the United States.

Yes, that number is for the entire country.

So the damage that has already been done in China is beyond cataclysmic, and this crisis is very far from over.

And according to the Washington Post, the losses in China are even higher than what CNN is reporting.  If you can believe it, the Post says that “as many as half of China’s pigs” have already died…

As many as half of China’s pigs, an estimated 300 million, have died of the virus or been exterminated since the disease took hold 13 months ago.

Of course the virus continues to sweep through China like wildfire, and at this point Rabobank is projecting that up to 70 percent of China’s pigs could eventually end up dead.

And considering the fact that about half of all the pigs in the entire world are in China, that is a very sobering thing to hear.

Needless to say, this crisis has been dramatically driving up the price of pork.  According to CNN, the price of pork in China is now nearly 70 percent higher than it was at this time last year…

African swine fever has ravaged China’s pig population, and the country’s consumers are feeling the pain. Some are even switching to other meats as the dietary staple becomes unaffordable.

Pork in China now costs nearly 70% more than it did a year ago, according to data released Tuesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

For the average Chinese citizen, this is a really big deal, because pork accounts for about 70 percent of their total meat consumption.

So to keep their population fed, China has started to import massive quantities of pork and beef from the rest of the world…

China has also been buying more pig meat from the rest of the world to keep its consumers happy. The country imported more than 1.3 million tons of pork in the first nine months of 2019, a 44% spike compared to a year ago, according to customs data published Monday. Imports of beef were up more than 50%, as people substitute that meat for pork in their diets.

As this virus continues to rapidly spread all over the planet, the supply crunch is only going to get worse.

Global prices are going to continue to escalate, and those on the bottom of the global economic food chain are going to have an increasingly difficult time being able to afford to buy any pork, beef or chicken at all.

And nobody should expect things to turn around in a year or two.  In fact, one expert is projecting that “it will be another 4 to 6 years before China will be able to rebuild its herd”…

“We’re past a year now and it’s still spreading and getting worse,” he says. “We believe it will be another 4 to 6 years before China will be able to rebuild its herd, but that’s making assumptions about when and if they will be able to get an effective vaccine.”

Of course that projection assumes that there will be a vaccine, but right now there is no vaccine and we don’t know if there will ever be one.

Meanwhile, this virus just continues to sweep across the globe like wildfire.  In fact, we just learned that it has gotten into “two more provinces in the Philippines”

The highly contagious and deadly African swine fever virus has spread to two more provinces in the Philippines, the world’s 10th-largest pork consumer, officials said on Friday.

Cases of infections were detected in some areas in Cavite, south of the nation’s capital Manila, and in Nueva Ecija on Luzon island.

This is a global plague unlike anything we have ever seen before.

According to the New York Daily News, “more than one-quarter of Earth’s pigs have been wiped out by the virulent disease.”

I put that last sentence in bold to make sure that you caught that.

More than a fourth of our pigs are already gone, and this virus is still raging out of control.

I will continue to keep my readers updated on this crisis.  What we are facing is literally a global nightmare, and we are still in the early chapters.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters.  (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing those books you help to support my work.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included with each article.  In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

“An Estimated 150-200 Million Pigs” Have Been Hit By A Global Plague Of Biblical Proportions

African Swine Fever is the greatest threat to global food production that we have seen since World War II ended.  As you will see below, the disease has now spread “to every province in mainland China”, and it has now infected “an estimated 150-200 million pigs”.  To put that number in perspective, that is more pigs than the entire U.S. pork industry produces in an entire year.  In other words, the equivalent of the entire U.S. pork industry has just been wiped out.  On top of that, African Swine Fever has also spread to Cambodia, Tibet, Romania, South Africa and Vietnam.  The losses are staggering, and this crisis continues to get worse with each passing week.

Earlier today I came across a Canadian news article entitled “Why bacon could get a lot more expensive”, and in that article a Canadian expert claimed that there are “tens of millions of pigs who have disappeared” in China…

“The meat of choice in China is pig and disease has been devastating for them,” Friendship said. “They have lost a lot of pigs and they will be doing lots of culling.”

He noted that although official figures from China suggest the outbreak’s effect have been minimal, experts estimate that “we’re dealing with tens of millions of pigs who have disappeared.”

Friendship estimated the decrease in pigs is roughly the equivalent of what Canada and the U.S. produce combined. And this lack has created a vacuum.

That claim is consistent with the information that I put into an article about this crisis a few weeks ago, but I decided to go hunting for some even newer numbers.

So eventually I ended up over at PorkBusiness.com, and according to them African Swine Fever “is now affecting an estimated 150-200 million pigs” in China…

Production losses from African swine fever (ASF) have eclipsed initial estimates, Rabobank said on Thursday. In 2019, Rabobank expects Chinese pork production losses of 25% to 35%, creating new challenges and opportunities for animal protein exporters.

“African Swine Fever has spread to every province in mainland China and is now affecting an estimated 150-200 million pigs,” said Christine McCracken, RaboResearch animal protein analyst. “The expected 30% loss in pork production is unprecedented. These losses cannot easily be replaced by other proteins like chicken, duck and seafood, nor will larger pork imports be able to fully offset the loss.”

When I use the term “plague”, I am not using it lightly.  I have never heard of a single disease wiping out this many farm animals before.

Have you?

We are potentially talking about an absolutely crippling blow to the global food supply.

And pork prices are already starting to skyrocket.  The following comes from the same Canadian article that I mentioned earlier

At the beginning of 2019, Canadian farmers earned $150 for every pig shipped to market but now they’re making between $220 to $225, he said.

Since first being detected on a small hog farm in northern China last August, African Swine Fever has spread like wildfire, but so far it hasn’t reached the United States.

And U.S. farmers are doing all that they can to keep that from happening, because African Swine Fever can have a mortality rate “as high as 100% within 2-10 days”

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that causes death in domestic and wild pigs of all ages. Symptoms include high fever, decreased appetite and weakness, red, blotchy skin or skin lesions; diarrhea and vomiting; and coughing and difficulty in breathing. Mortality rate is as high as 100% within 2-10 days.

Even if a pig survives African Swine Fever, it is often culled anyway to help prevent the spread of the disease.

There is no vaccine, and there is no cure.  And even if this outbreak was ended immediately, it would likely take the Chinese pork industry many years to recover.  The following comes from CNN

“China normally accounts for 49% of global pork consumption, while consuming 28% of the world’s meat supply,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone. “As such, this is a big problem for China, and we expect it to be a five to seven year problem before production can be restored.”

Of course this outbreak is not likely to end any time soon.  In fact, all of the experts expect African Swine Fever to continue to spread.

So pork prices will continue to skyrocket, and prices for chicken and beef will also rise aggressively as many consumers shift to alternatives to pork.

Unfortunately most people still don’t seem to understand what we are facing.  In this country, most Americans are partying instead of preparing, and that is a huge mistake.

And the mainstream media certainly is not helping.  Millions upon millions of pigs really are dying all over the globe, and yet there is barely a peep about this crisis on our major news networks.

We’ll see what happens.  Hopefully this outbreak will subside and things will return to normal.

But so far that hasn’t happened, and African Swine Fever just continues to spread.

If it starts spreading in North America too, there is going to be a lot of panic and the mainstream media will be forced to start paying a lot of attention to this story.

Over the coming months, supplies of pork are going to get tighter and tighter, and prices are going to shoot higher and higher.

We have never faced a crisis quite like this, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Hundreds Of Millions Of Pigs Feared Dead From Swine Fever – Price Of Pork Has Risen 38 Percent In The Last 4 Weeks

A plague of epic proportions is ripping through the global pig population, and CNBC is warning that this unprecedented outbreak of African swine fever “could lead to significant shortages” of pork in the global marketplace.  As you will see below, the price of pork has already risen 38 percent over the last 4 weeks, and it appears inevitable that it will go a lot higher as this crisis continues to intensify.  When the first case of African swine fever was reported in China last August, nobody was really too concerned at the time.  But since then it has been spreading like wildfire, and the most recent estimates of the spread of the disease that we are getting from the experts are absolutely terrifying.

China consumes 49 percent of all pork produced in the world, and they slaughter approximately 700 million pigs a year.

So we are talking about the primary source of protein for the most populated country on the entire planet.

According to the Daily Mail, one major pork supplier has “suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak”.  And apparently this is the primary reason why the price of pork has increased by 38 percent over the last month…

There was an 18% increase in the price of bacon from February to April this year, according to Bidfood, Beacon said, and the market price of pork has risen by 38% in the last four weeks.

The company also said another of its suppliers, Brakes, suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak, which has increased pig prices around the world.

If what this pork supplier is claiming is true, then this plague is far, far worse than we had previously been told.

And commodities economist Arlan Suderman is giving us similar numbers.  He just told CNBC that hog feeding in China is down “at least 40%”, and in some areas he says that it is down “more than 50%”…

“What our people there in China find is a far different story where the disease is continuing to spread,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone in Kansas City, Mo. “China just doesn’t want the rest of the world to know what the situation is.”

The economist termed it “a very dire situation” and estimates hog feeding in China has fallen at least 40% and in some larger swine producing regions plummeted more than 50% in response to the disease. He said the decline is directly attributable to infected pigs dying and producers afraid of the disease and liquidating herds to salvage some value.

There is no cure for African swine fever, and when it hits a pig farm it spreads like wildfire.  In an effort to fight the spread of the disease, most of the time authorities slaughter any pigs that somehow survive.

So if 40 percent of China’s pig farms have already been essentially wiped out, we are talking about a blow to global pork production unlike anything we have ever seen before

“If we’re down 40%, that would mean on an annualized basis that they’ve lost more pork production capacity than what we produce in all of North and South America together on an annual basis,” said Suderman.

I hope that most of you are starting to grasp the implications of what I am sharing.

And China is not the only one grappling with this outbreak.  African swine fever is also devastating pig farms in Vietnam, Cambodia, Tibet and we just learned that an outbreak has now erupted in South Africa

South Africa has detected an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm in North West province, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday, citing a report from the South African agriculture ministry.

The outbreak killed 32 out of a herd of 36 pigs on a farm in the Ditsobotla district, with the remaining animals slaughtered, the report said.

The good news is that there haven’t been any outbreaks in the U.S. yet, and the National Pork Producers Council just canceled the World Pork Expo due to fears about the disease

The National Pork Producers Council said it would be safest for the U.S. herd to cancel the World Pork Expo, which attracts about 20,000 visitors annually to the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Visitors attend from 40 countries, including areas that have tested positive for the disease.

“Producers have been very concerned about the risk of African swine fever,” said Jen Sorenson, vice president of the council’s board.

The United States sells approximately 20 billion dollars worth of pork annually, and so there is a tremendous amount at stake.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking this threat extremely seriously, and they are going to do all they can to keep African swine fever from crossing our borders.

But even if the disease never reaches the United States, it is still going to deeply affect us.  If the numbers that I shared with you above are accurate, that means that hundreds of millions of pigs are already dead, and this plague continues to spread.

Pork prices have already shot up, but they will never be lower than they are right now.  China and other major pork consuming nations will be trying to import all of the pork that they possibly can, and that is just going to drive the price of pork through the roof.

And for those of us that don’t eat pork, we will see prices for chicken and beef also rise as pork eaters alter their buying behavior due to rising prices.  So in the end, all forms of meat are going to become significantly more expensive.

Also, let us not forget that “as many as a million calves” were lost in the state of Nebraska alone during the recent flooding in the central United States.  That is going to drive up meat prices too.

No matter how much meat is actually produced, people are still going to be just as hungry.  If you take a basic course in economics at one of our universities, you will learn that when demand stays the same and supply goes down, prices are going to rise.

Of course if African swine fever continues to spread wildly all over the globe, eventually we are going to have a much bigger problem on our hands than just rising prices.

This is a developing story, and I will do my best to keep you updated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Global Famine Begins: UN Announces That The Worst Food Crisis Since World War II Is Happening Right Now

Horse Famine - Public DomainWe always knew that this would start happening.  Earlier this month, I wrote about the severe economic problems that are plaguing South America, but up to this point I have neglected to discuss the horrific famines that are breaking out all over Africa.  Right now there is a desperate need for food in South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria, Eritrea and Kenya.  And Yemen, even though it is not technically part of Africa, is being affected by many of the same factors that are crippling nations all over eastern Africa.  The United Nations says that more than 20 million people could die from starvation and disease if nothing is done.  When I write about economic collapse, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about, and we are starting to see alarming conditions spread across the globe.  Many believe that we could never possibly face this kind of food crisis in the western world, but unfortunately wishful thinking will only get you so far.

The United Nations was formed in 1945, and the UN has just announced that what we are facing this year is “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN”.  The following comes from a CNN article entitled “20 million at risk of starvation in world’s largest crisis since 1945, UN says“…

“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Friday.

Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.”

It would be hard to overstate the level of human suffering that we are witnessing in many parts of Africa at this moment.  In Somalia, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people are in desperate need of food aid

As Somalia inches closer to a calamitous famine, the prospect of utter devastation and colossal loss of human life is once again becoming an imminent reality. The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating by the day with up to 6.2 million people in need of urgent aid. People across Somalia have been forced to walk hundreds of miles in search of food, water and shelter- with women and children disproportionately affected. Over 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished, with over 200,000 more children at risk of acute malnutrition.

In South Sudan, close to half the population is in dire need of assistance, and things have gotten so bad there that people will literally eat grass if they can find it

Across South Sudan more than one million children are believed to be acutely malnourished and UNICEF have said that if urgent aid does not reach them, many of them will die. “There is no food, we eat anything we can find,” one South Sudanese mother told ITV. “We will find grass, we will eat it. That’s just the way it us for us now.”

Over in Yemen, there are about seven million people in need of food help, and authorities are warning that if nothing is done “millions of children” could starve to death

“The numbers affected are absolutely extraordinary,” said Mark Kaye, Save the Children’s Yemen spokesperson.

“We keep on talking about a country that’s on the brink of famine, but for me these numbers highlight that we’re at the point of no return. If things are not done now we are going to be looking back on this and millions of children will have starved to death, and we’ll all have been aware of this for some time. That will shame us as an international community for years to come.

Eritrea was not specifically included in the recent UN alert, but it should have been.  Much of the country has been hit by a crippling drought, and approximately half of all children in Eritrea are stunted

But we cannot understand why Eritrea is not included in the appeal. Unicef has confirmed what we know from our friends and families inside the country. In a report in January, the agency said that the El Niño drought has hit half of all Eritrea’s regions. Acute malnutrition is widespread. As Unicef put it: “Malnutrition rates already exceeded emergency levels, with 22,700 children under five projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2017 … Half of all children in Eritrea are stunted, and as a result, these children are even more vulnerable to malnutrition and disease outbreaks.

We have been warned that there would be famines in diverse places in these times.  But here in the western world we tend to be lulled into a false sense of security by our comfortable lives, not realizing that the massively inflated standard of living that we have been enjoying has been fueled by the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet.

In Kenya, a national emergency has been declared due to drought and famine.  For those of you that are parents, what would you do if your children were crying out for food but you didn’t have anything to give them?  The following story from Kenya is beyond heartbreaking…

Emmanuel Ayapar is three years old and can no longer walk. The flesh on his legs, which dangle from his mother’s hip as she carries him around, is wasting away.

He seems listless and sad, tongue flicking repeatedly in and out of his mouth.

‘We do not have enough food,’ said Veronica, his 28-year-old mother. ‘We eat only once a day.’

The little boy is suffering from severe malnutrition and is at risk of starving to death. He weighs just 15lb – half the typical weight for a boy of his age.

I don’t even know what to say after that.

In the western world we can be so incredibly self-absorbed that we don’t even realize that children are literally starving to death on the other side of the planet.

Hopefully those of us that live in “wealthy” western countries will step up to the plate and aid those in need, and hopefully this crisis will also help us to understand that we need to prepare for the day when things get difficult in our own nations too.

What Is The Government Preparing For?

UN Vehicle - Jeff SternYou may not be getting prepared for a major national disaster, but the government sure is.  I have been informed that in recent months numerous emergency food companies have been contacted by the government, and they have been told that their inventories could potentially be seized in the event of a significant emergency.  And as you will see below, the government recently participated in an exercise that simulated “an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade”.  In addition, NPR has just revealed details about the very secretive Strategic National Stockpile program that is storing billions of dollars worth of medical supplies in warehouses around the nation.  This is a program that most Americans do not even know exists.  On top of everything else, strange reports of military vehicles with UN markings have been coming in from all over the nation.  So what in the world is the government up to?  Why are they working so feverishly hard to get prepared?

Let’s begin our discussion with the Strategic National Stockpile.  According to NPR, there are at least six of these warehouses at various locations around the country, and they are holding at least seven billion dollars worth of supplies…

Thousands of lives might someday depend on this stockpile, which holds all kinds of medical supplies that the officials would need in the wake of a terrorist attack with a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon.

The location of these warehouses is secret. How many there are is secret. (Although a former government official recently said at a public meeting that there are six.) And exactly what’s in them is secret.

“If everybody knows exactly what we have, then you know exactly what you can do to us that we can’t fix,” says Burel. “And we just don’t want that to happen.”

What he will reveal is how much the stockpile is worth: “We currently value the inventory at a little over $7 billion.

The NPR report indicates that most of the supplies are medical in nature, and this includes “millions of doses of vaccines“.

Could it be possible that the government is anticipating a major pandemic in our near future?

As I mentioned above, the government has also been preparing for a major food crisis.  The following comes from Vice

The US national security industry is planning for the impact of an unprecedented global food crisis lasting as long as a decade, according to reports by a government contractor.

The studies published by CNA Corporation in December 2015, unreported until now, describe a detailed simulation of a protracted global food crisis from 2020 to 2030.

The simulation, titled ‘Food Chain Reaction’, was a desktop gaming exercise involving the participation of 65 officials from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Brazil, and key multilateral and intergovernmental institutions.

So could we actually see such a major food crisis during the years ahead?

Well, according to Reuters global demand for food has already been surging, and one new report indicates that it won’t be too long before we could see “a doubling of food prices”…

Swelling populations and demand for food combined with ever scarcer water and land resources could lead to a doubling of food prices and trigger civil unrest in some developing countries, a new report says.

Demand for food with a higher environmental impact, such as meat, has surged as emerging countries like China and India grow in size and in wealth, said Martin Halle, policy analyst at Global Footprint Network (GFN).

“A few things are very clear: the demand for food is going up tremendously because of population growth,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Of course it is the job of the government to prepare for various apocalyptic scenarios.  If government officials weren’t planning for how our nation would make it through a major disaster, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.

But what are we to make of all of the strange sightings of UN vehicles all over America recently?

According to my friend Ray Gano, UN military vehicle activity has recently been reported “in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona, Florida and now in Virginia“.

In particular, a series of photos of white UN military vehicles traveling through Virginia that were posted on Facebook by Jeff Stern has popped up in news stories worldwide.

Is all of this activity unusual?  If so, should we be alarmed by it?  Brandon Turbeville apparently thinks so…

For the past day or so, military convoys have been witnessed traveling both North and South, with lines of equipment ranging from Humvees, troop transport trucks, and tankers to military personnel following the convoy in civilian vehicles. Interestingly enough, many of the soldiers traveling in the convoy were seen wearing helmets, an unusual procedure for a simple convoy. In addition, the convoys were carrying what appeared to be construction equipment.

Although the troop movement may indeed have been a routine convoy and the United Nations vehicles may also have been a routine shipment from a manufacturing facility or even a simple and benign transport, the controversy brewing in the United States elections and the potential for civil unrest, the dangers of economic collapse, and the potential conflict with Russia are all potentials for use of United Nations “peace keepers” inside the United States as many have posited in the past as well as for some type of “martial law” scenario.

The armored UN vehicles that were spotted being transported through Virginia are quite impressive.  Here is some info on them from the Daily Mail

The VX weighs in at 16,600lbs.

Seating for two plus eight crew.

Windows do not roll down, instead there are locked gun ports on the vehicle that can be opened to shoot bullets out or accept documents in and are even big enough to pass through a can of soda.

In addition, these heavily armored vehicles are designed to withstand a gas attack and to be impervious to small arms fire…

Internal fans can keep bad air out, such as in the event of a gas attack, or bring fresh air in when reversed.

PA system to speak to the outside world.

Remote-controlled spotlights on the roof and pairs of red and blue strobe lights are mounted to each four sides of the vehicle.

Every window on the vehicle is filled with ballistic glass that’ll shed small arms fire like they’re pebbles and even resist a close-range shot from a high-powered rifle.

Each vehicle has nine gun ports, and so when they are fully manned they can lay down a very impressive field of fire.

At the end of the day, I don’t know what all of this means.

Everything that I just detailed could just be part of normal government activity that is simply receiving some unusual attention right now.

Or of course it could also be possible that the government is getting prepared for something really big, but even if they were, they would not tell us in advance anyway.

Personally, I am convinced that this period of time leading up to the election will be highly chaotic in America, and so my eyebrows definitely perked up when I came across these various news stories.

But ultimately the significance of all of this will be determined by what happens during the weeks and months to come.  Without a doubt things have become much more serious in this nation lately, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot more serious…

California Is Turning Back Into A Desert And There Are No Contingency Plans

Drought - Public DomainOnce upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert.  And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one.  Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1000 years.  But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water.  It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans.  Back in early 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the entire state, but since that time water usage has only dropped by 9 percent.  That is not nearly enough.  The state of California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of total water a year since 2011, and we are quickly heading toward an extremely painful water crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

But don’t take my word for it.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti “is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine”.  What he has to say about the horrific drought in California is extremely sobering

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Are you starting to understand why so many experts are so alarmed?

For much more from Famiglietti, check out this 60 Minutes interview.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, essentially the entire state is suffering drought conditions right now.  And as you can see from the map below, most of the state is currently experiencing either the highest or the second-highest classification of drought…

US Drought Monitor California 2015

Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment.

What are they all going to do when the water is gone?

In some rural areas, reservoirs are already nearly bone dry.  And in other areas, the water quality has gone way down.  For example, in one Southern California neighborhood black water is now coming out of the taps

Residents of a Southern California neighborhood are concerned about the fact that the water flowing out of the taps in their homes is the color black. That’s right; the water coming out of their faucets is indeed black — not gray, not cloudy — but black. Inky, opaque black water that the water company says is okay to drink.

Those who live in Gardena, California, are understandably skeptical when asked to consume water that strongly resembles crude oil or something emitted by a squid. The water reportedly also has an “odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell,” according to one resident.

Perhaps you don’t care about what happens to California.

Perhaps you believe that they are just getting what they deserve.

And you might be right about that.

But the truth is that this is a crisis for all of us, because an enormous amount of our fresh produce is grown in the state.

As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is very heavily dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…

99 percent of the artichokes

44 percent of asparagus

two-thirds of carrots

half of bell peppers

89 percent of cauliflower

94 percent of broccoli

95 percent of celery

90 percent of the leaf lettuce

83 percent of Romaine lettuce

83 percent of fresh spinach

a third of the fresh tomatoes

86 percent of lemons

90 percent of avocados

84 percent of peaches

88 percent of fresh strawberries

97 percent of fresh plums

Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.

And of course there are other areas all over the globe that are going through similar things.  For instance, taps in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are running dry as Brazil experiences the worst drought that it has seen in 80 years.

The world simply does not have enough fresh water left at this point, and that is why water is being called “the new oil”.  The following comes from CBS News

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

And if scientists are right, what we are experiencing right now may just be the very beginning of our problems.  In fact, one team of researchers has concluded that the Southwestern United States is headed for a “megadrought” that could last for decades

Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advances added some grim context to those predictions.

Columbia University climate scientists Jason Smerdon and Benjamin Cook, and Cornell University’s Toby Ault were co-authors on the study. They took data from tree rings and other environmental records of climate from the Southwest and compared them to the projections of 17 different climate models that look at precipitation and soil moisture. When they made the comparison between past and future, they found that all the models agreed: the next big megadrought is coming, and it will be way worse than anything we’ve seen in over 1,000 years–including droughts that have been credited with wiping out civilizations.

Needless to say, along with any water crisis comes a food crisis.

Virtually everything that we eat requires a tremendous amount of water to grow.  And at this point, the world is already eating more food than it produces most years.

So what is going to happen to us as this water crisis gets even worse?

Feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter

Volcanic Eruption - Public DomainThe number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

For example, just check out what is going on in the Philippines

Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on “Alert Level 3” on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of “relatively high unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.

PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a “Critical Alert” in the agency’s 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.

But of even greater concern is Bardarbunga.  It is the largest volcano system in Iceland, and a major eruption could potentially be absolutely catastrophic

This time the threat of an eruption – potentially even more powerful than the one in 2010 – is posed by Bardarbunga, the biggest of Iceland’s 30 or so volcanic systems. Located roughly at the country’s centre, the volcano’s 10-kilometre caldera lies several hundred metres beneath Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier by volume.

Scientists are taking the latest rumblings seriously: roughly 8000 years ago, after all, the volcanic leviathan let rip with the largest eruption of the past 10,000 years.

“It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen with an eruption,” says Monash University vulcanologist Professor Ray Cas, who is president of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.

Scientists tell us that over the last 10,000 years Bardarbunga has produced “more lava than any other volcano on the planet.”

If we witness a full scale eruption at Bardarbunga, the cancellation of a few thousand flights may be the smallest of our concerns.

The truth is that we might be looking at the coldest winter that any of us have ever seen in the northern hemisphere.

But don’t just take my word for it.  The following is from a British newspaper article entitled “Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter EVER this year“…

Depending on the force of the explosion, minute particles thrust beyond the earth’s atmosphere can trigger DECADES of chaotic weather patterns.

Tiny pieces of debris act as billions of shields reflecting the sun’s light away from earth meaning winter temperatures could plunge LOWER THAN EVER before while summer will be devoid of sunshine.

The first effect could be a bitterly cold winter to arrive in weeks with thermometers plunging into minus figures and not rising long before next summer.

If this did happen, there is nothing that we could do to change it.

We would just have to deal with it.

This is a kind of “climate change” that everyone can agree on.  It is well known that volcanic eruptions can substantially lower global temperatures.  In fact, some global warming theorists are already blaming increased volcanic activity for why temperatures have not been rising in recent years

“In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space,” said lead author Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, in a press release. “This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence.”

But if Bardarbunga fully erupts, we could be looking at something a lot worse than a little “global cooling”.

We could potentially be facing winters that never seem to end.

It has happened before in recorded history many times.  The following list comes from Wikipedia

The effects of volcanic eruptions on recent winters are modest in scale, but historically have been significant.

Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.

In 1883, the explosion of Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide.

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.

The possibility of volcanic eruptions substantially cooling our weather is the biggest “climate threat” that we are facing by far.

Without warm summers and plenty of sunshine, our crops will not succeed.

And global food supplies are already stretched to the limit.  Just this week we learned that one out of every nine people in the world does not have enough food to eat.

What would happen if global food production was cut by 10 or 20 percent for a few years?

So keep an eye on Bardarbunga and the other major volcanoes around the planet that are rumbling right now.

They may just play a major role in our immediate future.

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