The fact is that the energy crisis has been with us for a long time now, and will be with us for an even longer time. Whether Arab oil flows freely or not, it is clear to everyone that world industry  cannot be allowed to depend on so fragile a base.

The supply of oil can be shut off at whim at any time, and in any case, the oil wells will all run dry in thirty years or so at the present rate of use. New sources of energy must be found, and this will take time, but it is not likely to result in any situation that will ever restore that sense of cheap and copious energy we have had in times past.  We will never again dare indulge in indiscriminate growth.

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For an indefinite period from here on in, mankind is going to advance cautiously, and consider itself lucky that it can advance at all. To make the situation worse, there is as yet no sign that any slowing of the world’s population is in sight. Although the birthrate has dropped in some nations, including the United States, the population of the world seems sure to pass six billion and perhaps even seven billion as the twenty-first century opens.

The food supply will not increase nearly enough to match this, which means that we are heading into a crisis in the matter of producing and marketing food. Taking all this into account, what might we reasonably estimate supermarkets to be like in the year 2001?

To begin with, the world food supply is going to become steadily tighter over the next thirty years – even here in the United States. By 2001, the population of the United States will be at least two hundred and fifty million and  possibly two hundred and seventy million, and the nation will be hard put to expand food production to fill the additional mouths. This will be particularly true since the energy pinch will make it difficult to continue using the high-energy method of agriculture  that makes it possible to combine few farmers with high yields.

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It seems almost certain that by 2001 the United States will no longer be a great food-exporting nation and that, if necessity forces  the exporting of food, it will be at the price of belt-tightening at home.  This means, for one thing, that we can look forward to an end to the ‘natural food’ trend. It is not a wave of the future. All the ‘unnatural’ things we do to food are required to produce more of the  food in the first place, and to make it last longer afterward. It is for that reason that we need and use chemical fertilizers and pesticides  while the food is growing, and add preservatives afterward.

In fact, as food items will tend to decline in quality and decrease in variety, there is very likely to be increasing use of flavouring additives. Until such time as mankind has the sense to lower its population to the point where the planet can provide a comfortable support for all, people will have to accept more artificiality.


A. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘this’ (line 7):

2. ‘this’ (line 18):

3. ‘that’ (line 30):

4. ‘if (line 33):


B. Match each word / phrase with one of the meanings.

There are more letters than numbers.

1. fragile (paragraph 1) a> extraordinarily b) shortage

2. at whim (paragraph 1) c) wjth care

3. restore (paragraph 2) d) delicate / not strong

4. copious (paragraph 2) e) bring back

5. cautiously (paragraph 2) f> advance / improve . g) plentiful / abundant 6. pinch (paragraph 4) h) wjmout apy stfong reaSQn or purpose
1. How long are oil supplies likely to last?
2. The author says the US will no longer be a great food-exporting nation by 2001 What is the reason for this?
3. Why is it necessary to use chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives?
4. What does man have to do if he wants to maintain his ‘natural food’ trend?

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