Food (in)Security

I’m worried. No, scared.

No, terrified.

At first it didn’t seem all that frightening. When the washouts cut us off from civilization a few weeks back and the store shelves emptied in about three minutes, I thought, “You people. What’s all the fuss?”

I figured I’d be okay. I have a garden. Then I thought about it a little more. This time of year my plants are just poking up out of the ground. My whole crop would yield approximately one mouthful.

Okay, maybe I’ll have to eat weeds until the harvest, but I’m a hunter. I can eat wild meat.

But wait, what happens when we run out of bullets? And gasoline. How do I get to the moose in the style to which I’ve become accustomed: truck, outboard motor, generator to power my espresso machine?

And how do I get the moose meat home without the help of internal combustion? Paddle? Carry? I just had a heart attack thinking of it.

Milk was one of the first things to disappear from the shelves. If our isolation were more prolonged where would our milk products come from?

We have no Yukon dairy herds. All we have is Brian Lendrum and his goats. He’s blind, so we might be able to sneak in and get some milk for free, but knowing Brian, along with his many other talents he’s probably a crack shot with a rifle.

That leaves wild mountain goats. Imagine trying to milk one. Never mind the fact we’d have to climb up to the tops of the mountains to find them, but I understand they are very protective of their milk supply. And they have sharp horns.

Every person has their own threshold—the point at which life becomes unbearable when some commodity runs out completely, and they begin looking for a rope and a chair.

For me it’s popcorn.

I can do without anything (yes, including sex), but I cannot do without popcorn. I tried to grow it once. No, I cannot grow enough to supply my needs, so when we run out, you won’t have Roy Ness to kick around.

Perhaps we’d be able to airlift popcorn. If it was already popped, it would be lighter and easier to ship. One Hercules transport load could last me over a month. This is the kind of thinking we are going to need post-Apocalypse.

Where is your point, your line in the sand? Coffee? Alcohol? Nicotine? Picture Whitehorse when all of these run out. Starving, twitching, irritable people roaming the streets with nothing to do. Let’s hope we run out of bullets first.

What happens when we run out of those little @ symbols? No email. I don’t want to sow panic, but…

Suppose, instead of a few days, our isolation extended to a few weeks, a few months, a few years. A few decades, even.

Picture yourself living in the Yukon, 10 years after the collapse of civilization. Packs of feral dogs carrying off the children and the old. (This might be a blessing because there won’t be anything to feed them—the old, the young, or the dogs.)

Chaos, lawlessness, insurrection, gangs of thugs taking what they want: frozen yogurt, dry garlic ribs, hair conditioner.

Think it through, people.

However, during our time of isolation there was one small window of hope and redemption. The Skagway road remained open.

We had the comfort of knowing that we would not run short of plastic jewellery, t-shirts with pictures of bears and statuettes of breaching humpback whales. Thank God!

I hope I have not caused stress hormones to be released into your bloodstream. I do hope, however, to alert you to the DANGER we face and how VULNERABLE we are in the Yukon.

I don’t want to worry anyone, but I feel I must point out the obvious.

What if our transfer payments are cut off? What if the federal government cannot send enough money to keep us?

Imagine dissolute deputy ministers aimlessly wandering the streets. What morbid fantasies will infest their idle minds?

I’m worried. No, scared.

No, terrified.

Roy Ness is a writer, actor and comic who normally uses a hoe and a rifle to keep his food insecurities at bay.

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