The future of food has a very bleak outlook and that does not bode well for the future of the human race. For several reasons we should be very afraid, or at least be prepared for some very hard times.
A series of factors seem to be converging that will dramatically impact our ability to feed ourselves. For example the world's population is growing so fast, exponentially as it were, that something has to give.
A confluence of many factors is putting the global food supply at risk and each will be examined in the succeeding pages but first is the population explosion.
If nothing else, human beings are a prolific species. When God said to be fruitful and multiply, we went at it with a vengeance. In the late 1600’s there were about 500 million or so humans on the earth.
By the early 1800’s we had doubled to about a billion. Fast forwarding to 1930, we see another doubling to 2 billion. In 2016 we hit 7 billion. At the current rate of begetting, by 2050 there may be over 10 billion of us fighting for space and food on this sphere we inhabit.If you want to see what all this looks like in real time, take a look at the World Population Clock. Frightening! Also, the book shown below gives a good, hard look at what it will be like trying to feed the world in 2050. Click on the book cover to get your copy.
The term "carrying capacity" was coined to describe the resources needed to provide for the world’s population. Although resources cover a lot ground, common usage views "resources" as food. Estimates for the carrying capacity of the world are all over the map and most are used to justify one political point of view or another.
Ecologists seem to have zeroed in on about 12 billion as the number. But just feeding people is one thing but feeding them nutritious, health sustaining food something else.
If we humans prove incapable of reining in our population explosion, Mother Nature and the multinational food, chemical and agri-biotech corporations will surely do it for us. Food sustainablitiy will determine how (and if) all those people can be fed.
Just as our bodies work to maintain homeostasis, meaning balance, nature does likewise in the environment. It appears that she has already put the machinery in motion to reduce the number of human beings to a more sustainable balance.
Speaking of balance, below is a short embedded video from the National Geographic that puts global population growth in perspective. It was uploaded on Dec. 27, 2010 so it's already over three years out of date but the idea is to get a feel for what 7 billion and growing means.
It doesn't address the outlook for food as such but does make one stop and think how all those people will be fed. The short answer is "they won't". As it points out in the video, if we don't restore balance, nature will.
Concerning an over-populated planet, climate changes impact on the future of food is Mother Nature's first corrective measure and it is not on the way, it's here now.
Each of the threats to the global future of food will be discussed in succeeding pages but here's a short heads up as to what is either here now or coming soon.
First off is that climate change, which is not necessarily the same as global warming, drought and declining water tables are coming together to turn much of our arable land into deserts. California farmers are becoming a vanishing species; no water, no crops.
Second is that the pollinators are disappering at an alarming rate. The blame so far seems to rest with indiscriminate use of pesticides, herbicides, and destruction of habitat. Bees are dying by the hundreds of thousands in something labeled as "bee colony collapse". The bat population is all but gone in many locales due to disease, contamination of habitat and possibly eating pesticide tainted bugs. Butterflies are dying out due to destruction and poisoning of habitat and food sources. The bottom line is... no pollinators, no crops.
Like fish? Enjoy it while you can since the oceans fish stocks are being depleted to the point of extinction for many species. Overfishing, bycatch and contamination of the oceans are the main culprits.
Factory farming diseases are taking a huge toll on our beef, pork and dairy supplies. Newborn piglets are dying from porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and mortality rates of 80% to 100% in many herds are being reported. Cattle are exhibiting stress and death from being fed GMO corn and grains. Dairy cattle are exhibiting increasing cases of mastitis from genetically engineered overproduction of milk. Factory farm chickens aren't in such great shape either.
The bottom line for the future of food is that declining crop yields, disappearing fish stocks, smaller herds of beef and dairy animals and diseased chickens and contaminated eggs all point to massive starvation somewhere in our future.
It won't completely solve the problem, but if people have a few square yards of dirt somewhere in their yard, growing their own would be a start. To get started, there's no better place to visit than the Burpee Seed folks and you can do that just by clicking the link below. You will be amazed at the seeds, supplies, tools and anything else the home gardener would need.
Quick links to the the Future of Food pages:
Link to Climate Change:
Link to Desertification:
Link to Water Tables:
Link to Monoculture:
Link to Genetic Engineering:
Link to Pollination:
Link to Over Fishing:
Link to Food Sustainability:
Link to Sustainable Farming: