Register

Peak Oil is You


Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)


Page added on May 21, 2018

Bookmark and Share

Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

Enviroment

Do We Have Enough Resources?

Currently, we already produce more food than we need to feed the existing global population. According to Gordon Conway, author of One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?, an equal division of all the food on earth would provide every person with 2,800 calories a day, which is more than enough for a healthy diet. In fact, recent analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that it would be technically feasible to feed the 2050 population with available land and water.

However, that prediction comes with significant caveats. Having enough food doesn’t mean no one will go hungry, as evidenced by the current global situation. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can feed the world sustainably.

So, while it may be technically feasible, what needs to happen to truly meet global demand for food without destroying the planet? Overall, there are three main changes we should focus on.

food supply, global food supply chain, farming methods, water scarcity

1. Increasing Efficiency

While we could potentially clear more land to use for agriculture, it would be better to avoid doing so. The tactics we’ve used to increase yields and farmland in the past have caused severe environmental damage, such as increased erosion and pollution. However, we now know more about farming practices’ environmental impacts and have developed new, high-tech ways to increase farm productivity without damaging the environment.

For example, precision farming delivers water and fertilizer to plants much more efficiently. Advanced sensors, automated tractors and more can also help reduce crop loss and increase yield. Organic farming plays a vital role as well, as it reduces the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides.

Related: Less fertilizer, greater crop yields, and more money: China’s agricultural breakthrough

These changes will likely have to be implemented in developed countries, since farmers in poorer countries typically have fewer resources and, as a result, focus primarily on their own operations.

food supply, global food supply chain, farming methods, water scarcity

2. Changing Diets

Different diets require vastly different amounts of land, water and other resources. The most resource-intensive are those of wealthy nations, which tend to eat more animal products. For example, if the entire world followed the same diet as the United States, we would need 138 percent of the world’s habitable land to feed the global population. In other words, it would be impossible.

We also tend to waste food by feeding livestock. Livestock consume 36 percent of crops grown around the world, and their caloric intake far outstrips the calories that humans receive from the resulting animal products. For every 100 calories of grain that we feed to livestock, we can get 40 calories of milk, 12 calories of chicken or just three of beef. If developed countries around the world committed to reducing the amount of food they consume, or if more people removed meat and animal products from their diets, these actions could help save both food and resources.

food supply, global food supply chain, farming methods, future of farming

3. Reducing Waste

Reducing food waste is a simple yet crucial way to help feed the world. At present, approximately 25 percent of all of the food calories we produce  – enough to feed every hungry person in the world – is lost or wasted.

Surprisingly, one of the most effective strategies for reducing food waste doesn’t have to do with food directly. Instead, it involves societal changes such as reducing poverty, improving access to education and promoting equal rights. In general, quantity of food isn’t the problem, but rather access to the food itself.

When people can escape poverty, society as a whole can afford to pay farmers more for their crops, meaning farms can sell their produce domestically rather than export it. Increasing small farms’ profits also enables them to access the resources they need to farm sustainably and further increase yields.

food supply, global food supply chain, farming methods, water scarcity

So, as it turns out, the earth likely does have enough natural resources to meet our growing demand for food, but it’s not quite as simple as just growing more food. We need to start making some fundamental changes in the way we think about food, agriculture, poverty and hunger to make sure everyone has enough to eat.

inhabit



20 Comments on "Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?"

  1. "Lucifer" on Mon, 21st May 2018 8:50 pm 

    It will no matter soon if there is enough water and land to meet global food demand because the human population will crash and burn in the not to distant future.

  2. "Lucifer" on Mon, 21st May 2018 8:53 pm 

    Even i make the odd mistake, i meant to say it will (not) matter soon.

  3. Harquebus on Mon, 21st May 2018 9:05 pm 

    Growing crops is one thing, even if agriculture can continue in some way but, delivering it to hungry mouths thousands of kilometers away will be another.

    “Modern agriculture is the use of land to convert petroleum into food.” — Prof. Albert Bartlett

    Peak oil mates, peak oil. An observation, not a theory.

  4. Makati1 on Mon, 21st May 2018 9:21 pm 

    Harq, but it would not need to be delivered “… to hungry mouths thousands of kilometers away”, except in rare cases, if big Ag died and allowed things to go back to self supporting home farms. An acre of land can feed a family of six quite comfortably, with excess, if used properly.

    There is a lot of land that could be farmed that is not in production today, but not with huge machines and petroleum input. There is also a lot of water wasted in nonproductive uses that could be used for growing crops instead of golf courses, car washes, huge lawns, etc.

    I flew over a lot of it in the last few days. The Ps, Japan, Canada, and the Us. Amazing, the picture/perspective you can get of things from 35,000 feet.

  5. Harquebus on Mon, 21st May 2018 9:55 pm 

    Makati1
    Migration to agricultural areas is probable. Climate change might throw a spanner at that one.
    For my part, I have learning to grow vegetalbes and grains without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Those who haven’t tried it are going to be in for a deadly shock when in comes time to.
    Although my efforts offer no guarantee, it’s all I can think of to give myself an edge.
    The number of people that I have tried to convince to do the same is large and the number that have actually done so is small.
    Water is the only problem that I haven’t solved yet. With the inevitable reduction in the human population, I am hoping that it won’t be.

  6. Sissyfuss on Mon, 21st May 2018 10:56 pm 

    ” We need to start to making some fundamental changes in the way we think about food, agriculture, poverty, and hunger.”
    And also bottlenecks, overpopulation, climate change, and the 6th Mass Extinction.

  7. dave thompson on Tue, 22nd May 2018 1:17 am 

    Humans are sooooo smart and the ingenuity abounds. 7 billion? no prob. 10 Billion? No prob. However many billion? no prob. snark.

  8. Davy on Tue, 22nd May 2018 5:16 am 

    “Currently, we already produce more food than we need to feed the existing global population. According to Gordon Conway, author of One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?”
    That is a deceptive point. Naturally if we didn’t there would be widespread famine. Most of us know we are mining water, soil, and fossil fuels to feed humans today so the producing is not sustainable.

    “In fact, recent analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that it would be technically feasible to feed the 2050 population with available land and water.”
    Technically feasible is just another academic projection of an average annual growth economy meeting historically growing technical innovation. How long can this linear growth continue? This also includes a cooperative climate combined with soil and water efforts to improve very dangerous mining of resources and the resulting erosion and groundwater depletion. Climate is destabilizing and efforts at water and soil failing to stem dangerous resource degradation. Academics today goal seek their results. Should we call them academics when they input desired results into a program and get desired results then give this to the hungry masses who crave techno optimism? Fraud is a better label.

    “precision farming delivers water and fertilizer to plants much more efficiently.”
    When I farmed these practices were just coming on the scene back in 2000. These efforts have narrow applications. Some very large farm operations can manage them well. In any case these efforts hit diminishing returns very quickly as operations size for application shrink. Cost and expertise is an issue. One thing about farming is when a crop needs to get out it has to get out quickly. You can’t wait around for a technology application. Farming can be a marginal business so the first thing to go are these type of efforts when money gets tight.

    “Livestock consume 36 percent of crops grown around the world, and their caloric intake far outstrips the calories that humans receive from the resulting animal products.”
    This is a good point to a point. We feed far too much corn to cows for example but grains for chickens and pigs are important unless we want to have every house have them. This is not realistic in the world we live in. A vast area of the globe is only responsibly farmed with grazing. Cattle, sheep, and goats need to be grazed not crops or vegetables. How much vegan can we get a population to embrace? Remember it takes lots of the same crop impute stuff to raise vegetables and fruit too. Tradeoffs are a bitch.

    “Reducing food waste is a simple yet crucial way to help feed the world.”
    This is another nothing burger when you are looking for a big savings. Behaviors are not going to change much until a crisis and once in crisis it could be too late. Our modern way of life which is highly productive makes eating problematic. Industrial food transportation and processing is wasteful but think about going local and seasonal and the changes that would be needed to how people live. We can save some by personal behavior. I waste no food on the farm. Vegetable waste goes to chickens and other waste to the field dogs but I farm and have the ability to do this.

    My opinion as a current permaculture grass fed cattle and goat farmer and as a onetime industrial corn and soy producer is that we are at about as good as it gets with productions with all efforts hitting diminishing returns just as climate is destabilizing. The economy surely is going to decline to lower levels of economic activity considering our debt trap. More people and more pollution are destroying our oceans, soils, and water resources. What is needed is a push to put people back to the land to adapt and mitigate to a coming budding bottleneck but instead cities are getting bigger. We need to live with less because less is coming but we generally want more and believe more is coming because of technology. I see no hope longer term to avoid some kind of die off but in the next 10-20 years we will probably see what we see today albeit with more starvation as the system begins to fail the less fortunate.

  9. Jef on Tue, 22nd May 2018 8:43 am 

    We might be able to feed the current population depending your definition of feed is.

    If you mean feed as in feedlots like CAFOs then yes.

    If you mean feed as in a healthy human diet that nourishes the body then no, we are not even able to feed a fraction of the planet right now.

  10. Theedrich on Tue, 22nd May 2018 4:18 pm 

    The U.S. Empire depends on believed hot air.  The hot air come from two main vents:  the Declaration of Independence and the myth of “original sin” as twisted into Yid-Christianity.

    As far as the latter myth is concerned, one could do no better than to read Professor Ziony Zevit’s What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden.  (Zevit is the widely recognized Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California.)  Given that the whole of Christianity is based on this fable of mankind’s (but effectively, only the White race’s) progenitors eating some “forbidden fruit” in “Eden,” this means that the entirety of the tutti-frutti called Christianity, from Catholicism to evangelical snake handlers, is false.

    By the way, Marxism is a heretical spinoff of this complex, dethroning its god but basing its justification for mass killing on the faith’s insistence on helping the “poor” (in Communism, the capitalistically oppressed “workers”).  Also, in Marxism the Yid-Cretin heaven gravitated to earth.  The Commies with their “thesis-antithesis-synthesis” absurdity are the logical extreme of the Levantine fable.

    Then we have the American “Declaration of Independence,” a piece of Enlightenment propaganda prevaricating that it is “self-evident” that “all men are created equal.”  Ah yes.  So there is no difference between the European rocket scientist and the wastrel shooting up heroin or the 70-IQ Kalahari Bushmen.  In other words, biological evolution never happened — another unconscious assumption of both Cretinity and the Enlightenment.

    Superimposed upon these Hellenistic and early-Yankee fantasies is the political system called “democracy.”  As long as the U.S. was thinly populated and loosely controlled, the system, no matter its spurious foundations, functioned reasonably well.  But as time progressed, it morphed into full-blown bribe-ocracy, so that today the masses have virtually no say in the major actions of their government, and a so-called “Deep State” of lobbyists, bureaucrats and the military rule all.  Money flows under the table from Saudi Arabia, foreign and domestic megaJews, and elsewhere, to keep the illusion of stability afloat.

    Yet all the while, Humpty Dumpty has been sitting on nothing but the “full faith and credit” of believers in fantasy fiction.  As the realities of global pollution, overpopulation, general overshoot and nuclear-weapons-based power-politcs continues to grow, it looke increasingly likely that Humpty will have a great fall.  And we all know the consequences thereof.

  11. Boat on Tue, 22nd May 2018 5:03 pm 

    Three.d

    One example. GW didn’t execute the Iraq war to the expectations of the voters. They were so pissed they went with a black Dem. Lol talk about a change of pace…… for not one term but two.
    What other country does that. Who brags about our system and it’s mistakes. But what country this big can the voters yank the chain and dump the prevailing power.

    owrr

  12. MASTERMIND on Tue, 22nd May 2018 5:12 pm 

    Theedrich

    Yet all the while, Humpty Dumpty has been sitting on nothing but the “full faith and credit” of believers in fantasy fiction. As the realities of global pollution, overpopulation, general overshoot and nuclear-weapons-based power-politcs continues to grow, it looke increasingly likely that Humpty will have a great fall. And we all know the consequences thereof.

    That is one of the truest and funniest comments i have ever read on this site…LOL

  13. fmr-paultard on Tue, 22nd May 2018 5:32 pm 

    master race theedrich is a tard. he should go to bed with alex jones who also attacks fathertard francis. without catholics europe would’d been quran-land. remember polish catholic king sobieski stopping ottomans at gate of vienna.

    i hope next fathertard will be polish. that how we get the job done

  14. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 22nd May 2018 5:51 pm 

    “For my part, I have learning to grow vegetalbes and grains without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Those who haven’t tried it are going to be in for a deadly shock when in comes time to.”

    Pesticides are not that hard to avoid, but you do need fertilizer for soils.
    I had three llamas (great fertilizer), two horses, two donkeys and one mule.
    It is not easy. Calories are the big problem- one needs grains (bad food), or potatoes are easier.
    I had chickens also– lots of eggs, but did need a bit of imported food. Chickens are great carnivores, and devour a amazing amount of insects and worms and bugs.
    More eggs than could be eaten, so trade with other growers was available.
    It was Northern California so food was grown year around.

  15. Harquebus on Tue, 22nd May 2018 6:45 pm 

    Duncan Idaho
    “you do need fertilizer for soils”
    Not really. Mine is a ‘no dig’ garden. It takes about five years for the soil to start to repair naturally. Pests are less of a problem for me now that natural predators such as spiders and birds have returned.

  16. Cloggie on Tue, 22nd May 2018 7:51 pm 

    “this means that the entirety of the tutti-frutti called Christianity, from Catholicism to evangelical snake handlers, is false.”

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19322?msg=welcome_stranger

    Either we dump Christianity or Christianity destroys us. Christianity is “Marxism for tired old Romans”, pushed by the Marx of Antiquity, “Saint” Paul.

    Back to classical values, throw your inner Jeezazz in the well:

    https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Art-Motorcycle-Maintenance-Inquiry/dp/B001UU4YR4/ref=sr_1_2

    “Nietzsche for Americans”

  17. fmr-paultard on Wed, 23rd May 2018 9:57 am 

    if you want to farm then you need to understand plants. i finished reading “lab girl” recently. she’s supertard. as often, academics don’t say anything obviously practical and there’s no direct mention of lazy man farming that i invented. but hydroponic is superior to lazy man farming and adheres to its principles. some brilliant people invented it.

    if you want to virtual farming you can move to phils and get bf’s then be ashamed to mention that you have bf’s. i have bf’s just being in america. it’s not something i go out of my way to obtain or it’s my highest aspiration like some other people.

    you can also fake farm and offload back breaking labor to women (something i oppose) then you can take up permacultism.

  18. fmr-paultard on Wed, 23rd May 2018 10:00 am 

    there’s other ways to farm by being a merchant or a sheep herders. or you can herd people like mollyneux. you set up philosophers king and exclusive club for revenue streams. it helps if you tell them they’re superior and such. this is how islam does it by telling muslims they’re superior.

  19. GregT on Wed, 23rd May 2018 11:25 am 

    “but hydroponic is superior to lazy man farming and adheres to its principles. some brilliant people invented it.”

    The first known use of hydroponics was in Babylon, or modern day Iraq.

  20. Kat C on Thu, 24th May 2018 4:08 am 

    Phosphate limits food (mined and may be at peak)
    Nitrogen limits food (mostly made from natural gas)
    Water for irrigation limits food (Ogalla aquifer is not being replenished, wells in India dug ever deeper etc)
    Modern agriculture is dependent on cheap fuel
    10% reduction in grain output for every 1 degree rise in temperature http://www.pnas.org/content/101/27/9971
    High enough temps and plants just won’t grow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *