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> But take the idea of having to use synthetic fertilizers and pest control.

The corresponding "industrial literacy" element is the statistic that half of the nitrogen in human bodies in the world was fixed from the atmosphere through the Haber-Bosch process. That doesn't mean that we should assume that there's no other way to get nitrogen fixation, but I imagine it means we should realize that changing that in order to do without synthetic fertilizers, or even reduce the use of them dramatically, is a really, really big undertaking.

(I've been vegan or vegetarian for the past 80% of my life, but my carbon footprint is still way above the global average because of my heavy use of airplanes. Well, not this year, maybe. Anyway, one way I notice that I'm lacking in industrial literacy in the sense of this article: I honestly don't know whether my diet puts me above or below the world average in ratio of Haber-Bosch-fixed nitrogen in my body! I think noticing my uncertainty about that makes me more sympathetic to the idea of the original article, though.)




> The corresponding "industrial literacy" element is the statistic that half of the nitrogen in human bodies in the world was fixed from the atmosphere through the Haber-Bosch process. That doesn't mean that we should assume that there's no other way to get nitrogen fixation, but I imagine it means we should realize that changing that in order to do without synthetic fertilizers, or even reduce the use of them dramatically, is a really, really big undertaking.

Some years ago, I read an American defence analyst claiming that USA is just 4 biggest fertilizer stockpiles away from starvation, if no imports are possible. And the globe as well is dangerously reliant on a dozen of so "megaplants."


I also think this understanding of vulnerability is a benefit of industrial literacy.




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