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Avoiding Malthus 2.0: Why Food Pessimism Leads Nowhere | Biomedgrid

Journal: American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research (Vol.6, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 64-65

Keywords : Biomedical Science and Research Journals; scientific research articles on biomedical; biomedical research articles; biomedical journal articles; AJBSR;

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Planet Earth's natural resources, such as land, freshwater, raw materials etc., have to be shared among an increasing number of people (and farm animals). Moreover, human life expectancy has continuously increased. Consequently, more people consume for longer, leading to fears whether there is enough for all of them, now and in particular in the future. One particular concern is about human diets and their resource implications. Globally, agriculture accounts already for up to 40% of global land use and 70% of freshwater withdrawals [1]. Moreover, food systems contribute 19-29% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of which agricultural production, including indirect emissions resulting from land-cover change, contributes 80-86% of total food system emissions [2]. In 2013, food represents 97% of world agricultural production (value) and 23% of world food production was exported, according to FAOSTAT Production and Trade databases (online). The question is whether humankind can go on consuming food and drink as it currently does. While food security fears have been with humans for their entire existence, the British scholar Thomas Malthus, at the turn of the 18th century, introduced the notion of the “population trap”. Rapid population growth would eventually outstrip agricultural production thus leading to shortages of food supply and starvation. The much more recent concerns about food system sustainability add fears that current agricultural production practices damage environmental ecosystems and world climate, thus threatening the natural resource base of future generations. The current perception is that the very activity of food production that is meant to keep humans alive kills them eventually in the long run.

Last modified: 2019-12-03 13:48:23