While world governments bedwet over a fantasized climate catastrophe taking place 100 years out, mankind could be facing a potential catastrophic food shortage. A worthhile read (see link below).
The disease is Ug99, a virulent strain of black stem rust fungus (Puccinia graminis), discovered in Uganda in 1999, threatens the world’s wheat supply. Read the scary details here: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/02/ff_ug99_fungus/all/1
Wheat provides 20% of all calories consumed by humans. According to Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution:
This thing has immense potential for social and human destruction.
According to wired.com, the fungus attacks the stem of the wheat plant, causing it to wither and die.
Stem rust is the polio of agriculture, a plague that was brought under control nearly half a century ago as part of the celebrated Green Revolution. After years of trial and error, scientists managed to breed wheat that contained genes capable of repelling the assaults of Puccinia graminis, the formal name of the fungus.
But now it’s clear: The triumph didn’t last.
The new fungus has spread from Africa and into the Middle East. It would only take a traveller with a single spore on his shirt to transport it to the USA and Canada.
The pathogen makes its presence known to humans through crimson pustules on the plant’s stems and leaves. When those pustules burst, millions of spores flare out in search of fresh hosts.
It goes to show that nature has a bag full of nasty tricks, and there’s nothing you can do to stop her. All you can do is adapt, hopefully quickly enough. But if you waste your time trying to appease her, and don’t invest your resources wisely in adapting, you’ll get eliminated.