By the year 2050, it is predicted we will be over 9 billion on this planet, which adds an extra 2 billion to our current 7.43 billions. A recurrent question we dare to ask ourselves is how are we going to handle such a request without ruining our planet and consequently starving future generations?
Generally speaking, when it comes to producing our food, we cut down forests, contaminate soils et rivers with chemical fertilizers for thousands of years. An area of the size of Africa would effectively represent what is cut down to make way for cattle. Unfortunately, this deforestation and pollution plays a main part in the loss of entire ecosystems, soil contamination (i.e. water) and increasing air pollution. Furthermore, this exceeding production will not even be in favor of those who genuinely need it: the 800 million people who suffer from hunger.
If we stop polluting new lands, how will we produce enough food to feed 9 billion hungry mouths ?
Surprisingly, there is no need to produce any more than what we produce today, there is enough food produced to feed everyone on this planet. Unfortunately, the distribution of food is badly handled and therefore food ends up being wasted. The solution? Reduce food waste and use the lands we already have more effectively.
Beyond the countless environmental damage it has done, the green revolution majorly boosted farms and their production systems. We now have access to high-technology and precision farming which allow us to reduce the achievement gap and thus produce more without polluting more.
Like Lufa Farms does it here in Montreal, it is possible to produce sustainable and organic food on a city’s rooftops. Growing food inside a town is beneficial not only concerning reduced transportation but also for the crops’ growth as there are dense amounts of CO2 in the air (see photosynthesis).
It’s time to change our diets !
It would be a lot easier to feed everyone on this planet if what we produced ended up in our stomachs! Only a mere portion of the outcome of our food crops ends up in our plates (55%), while 36% is used for livestock. The remaining 9% is processed into biofuels and industrial products. Although many of us consume meat and farm products, only a fraction of their calories is found in our meals, making this a continuous cycle of lost calories and proteins.
Combined together, these solutions could double global nutritional supplies and reduce the world’s ecological footprint. However, these solutions require a substantial mentality shift across the world, triggered by a change inside children’s educational programs. We must detach ourselves from our past ideologies in order to find a balance between an increased and a sustainable production to preserve the environment for the generations to come.