Potatoes in Greenland – A Global Warming Feel-Good Story

Gloom! Doom! Global warming means we’re all screwed!

Ah, forget that. We’re humans, we’re like cockroaches, damn hard to eradicate, coz we adapt1. One adaptation – it’s now warm enough to grow potatoes in Greenland. Given that the entire food supply there is either shipped in or hunted/fished, then a few fresh veggies would go down a treat2.

De Spiegel – Global Warming a Boon for Greenland’s Farmers
New Statesman – The Greening of Greenland

This is an unequivocably good thing for Greenland, given that their economy consists of subsistence hunting, fishing in over-fished waters, welfare from Denmark, getting screwed over by Denmark, and drinking themselves to death. So hey, more income, more nutrients, less imports, less dependence upon Denmark and more potato vodka. It’s a win all round3.

(Coz I’m a policy wonk, I can’t write anything without a pile of footnotes, so here goes:

1 – Doesn’t mean we’re happy about adapting.

2 – Obviously, the long-term problem for farmers in Greenland isn’t the weather, it’s the dire soil – there isn’t any, just rock ground to sand by glaciers. But that’s solvable, just return whatever organic material you can find to the soil. Give it twenty years of nuturing and she’ll be right.

3 – Now, the real problem for farmers globally is not so much warming, as it is variability. If you know it’ll be two Celcius warmer, fine, plant crops for that. But warming is increasing variability, so farmers will have to deal with more floods, droughts, early or delayed rains or frosts, and that is a problem for global food supply. Hey, Greenland, population 57,000 people, approximately 0.001% of humanity is benefitting, but here’s a global warming feel-good story.)

5 thoughts on “Potatoes in Greenland – A Global Warming Feel-Good Story”

    1. Thought you’d be keen to know this.

      (Am I right about the soil or am I just guessing? Given that the only organics they’ve got are potato tops, huskie crap, and fish and bone meal with added dead seal, is that going to work?)

      1. Since soil is made up of bits of broken up rock, husky (or other) crap, and ground up dead things of the animal and vegetable variety, then yeah, in theory you’re right. I’m not sure on the logistics of growing stuff in soil that’s made up almost entirely of the stuff you’re growing, but they could also build it up by planting crops like lupins and such on anywhere stuff will grow, and working the plants back into the soil at the end of the season. And they’d have to do it intensively for many years.

        That soil the spuds are in looks nice, though.

  1. Hurrah indeed!

    Given that Greenland currently supports a population only the size of Napier, a doubling or tripling of that could really take the pressure off strained natural resources in the Hawkes Bay region.

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