Excerpt from Anton Komat's video lecture:

Even if we use different languages, our hearts should speak the same words of love, tolerance and compassion. This is the only way to solve the main problems of the world. (Mr. Fingerprint)

4 images of the global crisis
At the heart of the crisis is NOT finance,
but FOOD and energy!
In November 2008 the Slovenian biologist and environmental activist Anton Komat gave in the context of the performance tour of his new book “The Symbiotic Man” a lecture on the global crisis, which currently shakes the cornerstones of our civilization.

On his own farsighted nature, he led the audience systematically through the history how the crisis was developing and showed the necessary steps for their solution – but they require a very different approach than that currently provided by the World politicians offered!
The video (31m 10s)

The very informative presentation itself lasted almost two hours. Unfortunately, because lack of time and translation resources, we made only a half-hour excerpt with english and german subtitles.

Nevertheless, we tried to leave as many important facts as possible and we hope our intention was successful.

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Video transcript
Greetings and thank you for your coming!

My aim is to awaken responsibility in all of us. I will not intimidate you for this weekend or even scare you away for the whole following month, but we need to look things in their eyes, just as they are. I always try to find out the truth to pass it then on to you. Each one must then of course decide for himself how he picks it up, whether he accepts the fact, or questions it or waits for life to confirm it.

The global state of the planet is at an impasse and it threatens a catastrophic impact on the ecosystem and also for mankind. Now comes the time for the consequences and rescue of the situation at the local level.

There are no global solutions anymore, the global experiment escalated with "Reaganism" or the dogma of the free market, regulated by "God's hand". Representatives of the neoliberal turbo-capitalism disregarded the words of all opponents worldwide and brought the world into the current situation.

Current events show us that Slovenian, EU and world politicians will again not do the right things to eradicate the roots of evil in the name of a safer future. Now again solutions are suggested to restore or stabilize the current system, and with only minor corrections.

The financial crisis is not a "technical" defect, but a moral and ethical defect of our civilization, which has burst all bonds. Built into the system are greed and ruthlessness and it is based on "infinite" growth. We all know that politicians get a rash if economic growth is not in the range of 3% to 4%. Well, since yesterday, the EU is officially in a Recession. Smaller growth is always a big political problem.

To be clear: to keep such a growth, we need consumption. A man, who in olden times was a respected dignity, an entity, is today demoted from a citizen to a consumer, who is welcomed only if he consumes goods. Not only when he is consuming, but also if he runs into debts. Modern humans must live beyond their means, must consume more than they deserve – to fulfill the projections of the elites regarding economic growth.

The math tells us that at a 5% growth rate, with this input of economic resources, in 20 years we will need three planets in order to survive at this pace. With a so-called “zero growth rate” we would only consume as much as Nature can regenerate. In any case we must not consume more, otherwise we will “Devour the Earth”, if you have seen that film.

By 23rd of September 2008 we have already consumed the whole fund for this year („Overshoot Day“); from this date on we already endanger the foundations of the planetary ecosystem.

The whole system of policy and economy still remains based on this phantom of economic growth. And if we see that this attacks the foundation of the ecosystem, it is clear to us that in the living world only one similar growth exists: cancer. Cancer cells are the only ones which step out from the body's self-regulating system and go their own way. They consume all the energy sources of the body and multiply massively. But they do not only kill the attacked body, but also themselves, because they can't live without food from the host.

So, the question is, why do we still remain seated on such senseless basic principles? Yes, we have remained on them ... because until now it always somehow "turns out all right". Because mankind always hopes that a magic technology will find a way to sail around the problem; because we habitually at the last moment have always found a solution, to "smuggle" us somehow into a new time period. But this is now waiting in vain. There is no (classical) solution anymore.

We will see that, in principle, the right solutions are very simple, if there would only be minimal political will to make it real. But unfortunately the politicians are – I would not say incompetent or uneducated, but – "stupid" that they can't understand the laws of nature, because we can find the solutions for humanity in nature.

When all inputs of energy go only towards the maintenance of a highly complex system, then a small hitch from outside can collapse the system. World civilization has arrived at this point. Some say that we have already reached this point, and others, that we stand just in front of the door. I would like to stress that our world is not only in a financial crisis, even if we currently listen to the politicians. And every two years some of them talks about abstract climate changes. Otherwise only, “financial crisis, financial crisis, unemployment ...”

Nobody tells us, however, that we are currently in four crises and at the heart is FOOD! And NOT finance! The financial crisis is an error of the system ...

ENERGY CRISIS: If wood is scarce, we go over coal, to oil and now to something new. Now we have to switch the energy basis of the whole civilization and THAT is a big problem.

We can say: "OK, that oil will last 10 or almost 15 years, WE will still drive around...” Then?: “No matter, what comes!” Transportation is still the slightest problem. (Passenger) transport is not the problem, because technical solutions, such as hydrogen or electric engines, as well as alternative fuels are already present. The transport is not a problem, but the energy base of the entire civilization. I will explain this with the example of agriculture.

If we consider the modern industrial agriculture then we see that according to long established model calculations, food production devours 20% of all fossil fuels of civilization. From then on, where the farmer plows the field till the food is on the shelves of the supermarkets, for that we consume one fifth of all fuels.

If we look now to the structure of greenhouse gases we will get a very different picture: food production causes around 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. These are very remarkable facts! We ourselves, humans, with our eating, cause the majority of the greenhouse effect. We humans, ourselves!

If we then include cows, whose methane emissions have more impact on the climate than the CO2 impact of worldwide transportation, then we see that the roots of all evil in the modern world are in industrial agriculture. And of course in the mass production of goods.

And industrial agriculture is nothing other than a petroleum-based agriculture. Our ancestors used solar energy as a base. Today we speak of the necessity to switch civilization to solar energy. I told earlier that the entire planet and its ecosystem runs only on solar energy because it has no other source of energy and it knows no energy crisis. The sun still shines like it did 10 million years ago.

The transition experiment of mankind from solar energy to wood, coal and oil, this digression means that we must come back to the free sun energy, because it will still shine for millions of years. The transition of civilization to solar energy is a necessity.

A trivial example from agriculture: a cow has four legs, a mouth and an anus. In nature she will find her food alone, will graze by herself and at the same time excrete dung onto the soil. No – so that she will have 20% more weight gain (because moving around loses energy - or in plain language: she slims down) – we will chain her, build a pen around her, bring the food to her mouth and transport the manure away. A huge waste of energy if we convert this into petroleum ... How much oil we need in order to cut the grass, turn it several times for drying, bring it to the cow and then splash the dung on meadows, so that we can pollute the groundwater? But I do NOT accuse the farmer, but the totally confused concept!

A huge consumption and waste of energy ... Of course, it goes on as long as oil is cheap. Then the cow can be chained and we can shuffle around these things. But – who will pay for the consequences if the oil price is rising? The consumer who has to buy the more expensive food! Because oil and food rise with such a curve that has a lag of around two years. This is very important to know!

These last rises of food are not worth mentioning. That was the consequence of rising oil prices two years ago. But we know that in the last 6 months the oil price increased from $60 to over $100 per barrel and now falls again and that in two years these will reflect on the food price. And for this you should be prepared!

A few more data on food on a global level: in the past 3 months we observed 30% less intercontinental transports, the food shipment is in decline, because transport costs are so expensive. About 40 states prohibited any food exports because in over 30 countries there were some conflicts due to hunger; and countries who never suffered from hunger, they were supplied. NOW they are suffering with hunger! Because global transport was cutting back and supermarkets were empty.

It is not my intention to stoke fears, but in Slovenia we still build these cubic supermarkets, But they will be empty, in about 1 or 1.5 years – they will be empty, because there will be nothing for selling. And then arrives the question of survival at local level. I have already mentioned: the solution will be made locally. What is broken globally, you can only save locally. Globally it will be impossible due to the energy crisis, which will minimize transportation, and because of the food crisis, which is connected to the oil price. You see how these things are intertwined?

Since Slovenia has only about 30% self-supplied food – 70% of food is imported – the situation could be very unpleasant. Then the question arises of where to get food, we will miss it ... This EU regulation, which we smirked at two days ago that now again bent cucumbers, hunchback tomatoes and wrinkled carrots can be sold, that is already a measure ... In the past we "could afford", to throw food away because there was a surplus. But we so "deformed" an entire generation of children who only like apples which look perfect. But now again everything is good, you see how the standards are relaxed? And this is now THE chance that farmers can again enter the supermarkets.

In Slovenia we had crazy situations: we subsidised agriculture (most recently with 25 million euros) where our potatoes were eaten by Germans, our milk was drunk by Italians, but we ate Ukrainian or Romanian potatoes, (which probably still radiates) and drank Hungarian "Alps" milk, because there are many "high alps" pastures.

Well, as I said, we were subsidising, and the best foods were exported from our country, and we ate any excess from other countries. That is this so-called “globalization”! It is about the restoration of local self-sufficiency and I think marketplaces should again be established in every settlement where local farmers can sell their products.

The second point: THE CLIMATE! The climate is closely associated with consumption, food prices and our future projections. An extremely important issue!

Climate protection is not only that we save energy, through buying of energy-saving lamps, insulating walls, ... We have rules now for climate-friendly buildings, they introduce very high standards. Everything is right and good, of course, I support this! But – even if tomorrow we all consume only half the energy, we have not solved anything – now maybe you all will look at me very strangely – as long as we do not REDUCE THE CONSUMPTION!

Look – even if you build your house according to these new rules: you insulate walls and insulate pipes and windows, or install thermostats and new, more efficient furnaces – all this will cost a lot and brings back huge consumption. And for that we again need new natural resources. You see – as the state wants on one side to redevelop the situation, on the other hand he bases it again on high production and huge consumption.

The only way we can stop the consumption? It is best that I declare by my own example. I had the good fortune to inherit an axe from my great-grandfather, with the year 1887 engraved on it. It was a family axe, which had been passed on from generation to generation. And this axe I received from my father and I had it - until it was stolen. Then I had to buy a new one. But – all these new purchasable axes will break within two days, if you strike it on a slightly wrinkled beech tree branch. From the men's viewpoint today's tools are low grade.

My father even had the old shaving tools where you made foam with a brush. That was like a ceremony. Today you spray the foam and use a disposable razor blade. Mass production goes further in the direction of goods for single use. If something is broken, it's not worth repairing. Recently, my son’s printer was defected: The repairs would cost €120, a new printer just €100.

Reform in consumption has to go in the direction of production of best-quality goods as they were in past times. Sure, if we reduce production, (as theorists of zero growth have calculated) jobs will be lost in this sector, but this happens anyway, because everything is automated. These people will be relocated to service and maintenance and therefore there will be no additional unemployment if we will move our civilization towards a sustainable direction. Such production will consume fewer resources.

Today we recycle approximately 85% of the iron, this Europe already has under control. Now we still have big tasks in the field of plastic waste.

There are, as I said, four crises. Now I would like to talk about the health crisis.

In the 1960s, the state budgets used about 5% for health care. Today we require 15%! with a rising trend.

The cause is NOT the aging of the population, – believe me it isn't – but it lies in the statement of modern doctors, that today it is virtually impossible to find a completely healthy person and that today it would be difficult to write a textbook about the "normal" human physiology, if the old measurements did not exist from the era where people were not yet so degenerated or contaminated with hazardous chemicals.

Our (official) precautionary institutions tell us: "Eat fruit and vegetables, then you will be healthy and will have fewer diseases, etc." But according to recent analysis from two weeks ago, 48% of fruit and vegetables in the EU were poisoned. Forty eight percent! They found 340 dangerous substances, 7 of them were endocrine disrupters, others were cancer agents. Facts which gives you goose pimples. Another reason for self-cultivation! Or for purchasing from a known source. Another reason not to buy in these toxic-waste-kitchens.

All who are professionally involved know that 80% of all diseases are based on poor-quality food and/or water.

Another important, very informative fact I previously forgot to mention regarding food-energy-agriculture:

1940 saw humanity with a level of food production tehnology, such that we used 1 kcal oil energy to get 3.5 kcal energy from food. Today we consume 10 kcal oil to get 1 kcal from food!

That shows us the enormous consumption of fossil fuels just for food production. This fatal link between oil and food will bring us to hell's kitchen!

The four most common degenerative diseases: hormonal disorders, cancer, diabetes and heart disease, originate from food. The paradox of our world is the extreme polarization between the hungry and the overweight: some die due to obesity, others because they have nothing to eat. Or the overweight have a poor-quality diet. Therefore modern man has a pretty sad choice: to die sick on a full plate or on an empty plate by starvation.

Excellent, truly fantastic choices! There is a third, recommendable way: that we will die healthy and calm like our ancestors with just an appropriately filled plate.

Accompanied with food rises the important question of water. We are now at a crossroad: half of the water sources are polluted, the others are still in order. If we will only accept water in plastic bottles then we are incorrigible litter louts and we have missed the historic opportunity to save the water springs.

For heaven's sake, don't buy plastic bottles!

A few data that already infants know: for the production of one plastic bottle 1/4 liter of oil and 5 liters of clean water are used!

So we just make profit for the industry and the state collects sales taxes; but on the other side we accumulate vast amounts of plastic waste.

Local self-sufficiency means energy independence. Food independency through self-cultivation. Connect yourself in groups with local farmers. The farmers will be happy, if they have regular customers and they will also customize the cultivation to your wishes. Recently I went through Slovenia and saw wonderful turnips and cabbages, along with a sign: "Buy from the farm." Excellent, you stop and buy turnips and cabbage. I ended up with three crates full of good products for less than €4. I couldn't believe that I can buy so cheaply from the farmer. But we need time to adapt to this fact. He was pleased about the sale, and I have safe food. Three crates full of different products, for so little money. This is still possible here in Slovenia.

Especially now I hope that (local) farmers will again enter onto the shelves of supermarkets, because now you no longer have to straighten cucumbers or smoothen apples. These high standards were a big perversion. Only large farms had the chance to achieve them, small farmers were pushed out of the market, the goal was their destruction!

The survival of small farmers was not in the interest of bigger traders, and the seed industry, the goal was the industria- lisation of large farms (we recommend you also to watch the animated film The Meatrix). In the USA the lowest limit of rentable area is 200 hectares of land, with less it's impossible to survive. The transition to organically grown food is necessary, as well as the ban of gene-manipulated organisms.

If we cannot finally bring Slovenian agriculture into order we will always have problems. First there were "mad" cows, then pigs, then bees are dying, etc. There are always disasters. Slovenian agriculture has absolutely no vision or program. It is one of the most chaotic social systems; but the farmer has the most problems, as one who was pushed as a victim into this "game".

Spraying is generally overdone; there is much more "cosmetic" spraying than is necessary. We focus to much on quantity and too little on quality. Here comes the problem of genetic depletion when we use a lot of agro chemicals. The plants always becomes less resistant, needing more chemicals, (I mean the industrial varieties of plants and seeds) and there are increasing problems with the germination of seeds. I meet many people who have massive problems in their gardens, because seeds do not germinate or only minimally. The selective intensification with the aim of highest yield always hurts the plants in their resistance. That's incredible! And then we need more chemicals ...

QUESTION: On the continental shelfs large quantities of methane are stored and with the rising sea temperatures it will enter into the atmosphere, what will dramatically accelerate global warming. What do you say about that?

Methane is also trapped in the permafrost of the Siberian tundra and arctic tundra; the two largest deposits. The quantities are unimaginable. But we must know that methane has an about 23 times stronger global warming effect than CO2! The factor is shocking.

If we consider the effect on climate, for me it is incredible that the supporters of Al Gore's thesis on global warming do not include 1.3 billion cows, if they produce more methane than all the cars’ carbon dioxide.

But cows are "sacred", you don't have to talk about them. Why? – this is unclear to me. Because they have such a climate potential, we should also reduce the cattle herds, not only the number of cars and oil consumption, if we are honest. There is something not in order ...

Thank you for your visit! I hope you will utilitize some practical advice if you got it. I wish that you will be optimists, in good spirits, that all problems are solvable, that you will be friends and help each other. The problems of the Big Ones are their problems. You have to solve them on your local level and you will get by fine.

Be brave! and thank you again!

THE MEATRIX: an animated educational film about the machinations of modern agriculture