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Monday PrayerCast, 9th May 2022

09/05/2022

News and Prayer Update.

It’s Monday morning, 9th May 2022, and this week we’ve got a kind of a special edition, – about FOOD!  There’s two major food issues, present day logistics –  in other words transportation costs and the availability of transport, that causing price-rises, – and future global and local food policies. So, let’s take some time this morning to think about food, glorious food…

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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Are you aware of Government Farm Retirement Incentives?

My granddaughter sometimes wears a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words, “No Farmers, No Food, No Future.” It would make a timely message for our government in Westminster, where a scheme has been put in place to offer financial incentives to older farmers to retire and give up their farms. But sure, what could be wrong with that? It actually seems like a good idea, until you scratch the surface, and find that the real motivation behind it is the Government’s “Net Zero Policy.” The BBC carried the story on its website, and it reported, “…It is part of a massive overhaul of farm grants, incentivising farmers to protect the environment. Some older farmers are resistant to new “green” methods, Environment Secretary George Eustice believes, and he wants them to move on.” I wonder what new green methods he’s talking about? Could it be a drastic reduction in livestock numbers, could it be the so-called ‘rewilding programme’ where agricultural land is wasted on letting it go to seed? Could it be planting of forests, great for squirrels, not so good for food production.  Could it be using good fertile land for wind farms and acres of solar panels? And since these green methods are far less productive than present farming practice, what’s going to make up the food deficit that results? Insects? Tasteless, bland meat substitutes, favoured by vegans? 

Here in NI, we are hearing reports that there are to be huge reductions in the regional cattle and sheep stocks over the next 30 years or so. On 22nd April, the Guardian carried a report which read, “Northern Ireland will need to lose more than 1 million sheep and cattle to meet its new legally binding climate emissions targets, according to an industry-commissioned analysis seen by the Guardian. The large-scale reduction in farm animals comes after the passing of the jurisdiction’s first ever climate act, requiring the farming sector to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reduce methane emissions by almost 50% over the same period.”  Let me put that in context for you. In June 2020, the latest published figure, our regional cattle herd is 1,611,467 beasts. We have a population here of around 1.8 million people. If we lose 1m cattle,  to meet our ‘Net Zero Targets’ we will lose almost two thirds of our meat supply by 2050. How will such a huge reduction affect our food supply – unless of course the powers that be intend to reduce our population by a similar amount – down to about half a million people? And how will they do that?

What about imported food? If we can’t produce our own food, can’t we just import the food we need? Well the problem there is that there’s not going to be a lot of food about, worldwide, if things stay as they are. Bird flu in England has restricted free-range chicken production, and egg sales. The war in Ukraine has restricted supplies of grain, – after all that area, including parts of southern Russia produce around a third of the world’s grain. In America, there has been a strange spate of fires at meat processing factories, apparently around 20 in all.  

Also in the USA, the Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates, – a man who seems to be overly interested in human population levels, climate change alarmism and vaccine manufacture, has also been buying up farm land, becoming the largest owner of agricultural land in America. The Guardian reported this a year ago on 5th April 2021; the writer noting, “Cascade Investment, the firm making these acquisitions, is controlled by Gates. And the firm said it’s “very supportive of sustainable farming”. It also is a shareholder in the plant-based protein companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods as well as the farming equipment manufacturer John Deere.

A few weeks ago I reported on the aggressively enforced lockdown presently in force in the Chinese city of Shanghai, where the general population are imprisoned in their homes, where people are committing suicide by hurling themselves off the balconies of high rise apartment blocks, screaming out of their windows by night, due to their lack of exercise, fresh air and most importantly food.  But Shanghai is one of China’s major ports, a prosperous, commercial hub which trades with the rest of the world. So while the city is locked down, in pursuit of the zero-covid policy, what’s happened to the trade? Basically it has stopped dead. An Australian news outlet has posted satellite images of thousands of ships, holding position in the seas surrounding Shanghai. The Perth News reports, “usually the total number of ships queuing anywhere in the world is about 4000 and we’re talking about 1000 at one Chinese port,”  Think about it, – that’s around a quarter of the usual number of queued ships, queuing to get in to Shanghai. Those ships, standing stationery in the sea are not going anywhere, not delivering their cargoes and picking up other cargoes, not available for food transportation.

Is this a coming famine? – Not in the strictest sense of the word, for  a famine is usually the result of natural circumstances, – but these food shortages are due to man-made circumstances – whether deliberately or otherwise, and as we have seen perhaps some of these issues are being caused in the name of environmentalism – the Malthusian notion that the world is overpopulated, – that humans are a blight on the planet, and that we need less people. We don’t.  Isaiah wrote, Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.  Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s wonderful creation, we are made in God’s image, and with a special characteristic that marks us out as being different from all the rest of creation, – the ability, – the longing to have a relationship with our creator.  

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OK, look – I don’t want to alarm anyone – I’m not advising panic buying! But what worries me most about all this, – this growing reduction in worldwide food production, and logistical problems, is the seeming nonchalance of our ruling elites. Boris Johnson is pouring millions of pounds into the war with Russia, on the battleground of Ukraine, but where is the urgency about the rise in food prices and the potential of shortages? It’s not the responsibility of you and me, ordinary tax-payers, to prepare for such eventualities, – but it is the responsibility of the government.  There is biblical precedent in the book of Genesis. Remember how Joseph was in prison when Pharaoh had a really strange and alarming dream, a dream about fat cows and thin cows, – and since no-one could interpret the dream, Joseph was brought up out of prison, and  he advised the king to make advance provisions for the famine to come, while the land was bearing plenty. Here’s the text from Genesis 41:33-36 “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.”  Let’s hope that our national leaders have even a fraction of that wisdom. Follow the link in the episode notes to find out more about all these stories.

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Well, before we finish, The NI Elections are over, the polls have closed and the ballot papers are being counted, just as this podcast is being recorded. Next week, we’ll look at how the results might affect the moral and spiritual temperature of the region.

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Todays Grace Gem is from Jeff Pollard, who wrote:  “God is in absolute control over all the dizzying heights and depths of medical, scientific, and governmental tyranny that is spreading, deceiving, and destroying our sin-sick world.”  Find more inspirational quotes on Gracegems.org. 

Let’s pray…

Our Heavenly Father,  We acknowledge that you are the creator of this world, the Lord and Giver of Life. You made this world perfect, and when you rested and looked on all that you had made, you saw that it was good. Yet through our human sin and greed and foolishness we have ruined your creation and caused the whole creation to groan and travail in labour, like us, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body, when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Until that time, restrain, we pray, those who would use this created world and its vast resources for political ends, and bring them to an awareness of judgment of God which overshadows them. We pray for those who rule over us in Parliament and in our new Assembly, and ask that you would bring each one of them to saving knowledge of Christ, that they will rule wisely, praising those who do good and a terror to those who do evil.  Amen

That’s all for now! Links for all these stories are on this page, and there’s a link to that website in the episode notes. Catechism class is tomorrow – Tuesday, and there should be a sermon podcast on Saturday.

Don’t give up, – lift up your head! Don’t be discouraged, – let’s keep watching, and keep praying, and keep believing in our Sovereign Lord, who overrules everything in the universe he created.

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