Posted by Big Gav in agriculture
Grist has an article on a study on the scalability of sustainable agriculture - Feed the world sustainably by 2050? Yes, we can!.
Adding a bit more data to food system reformers’ arguments, a new study led by Germany’s prestigious Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research takes on the question of whether we can “feed the world” while preserving the planet come 2050. Short answer: Yes!
Researchers modeled various agricultural styles, growth patterns, and diets. Here’s what they say:Despite pushes from agribusiness to intensify farming to feed a growing global population that is expected to reach over nine billion by 2050, the researchers found that a diet equivalent to eating meat three times a week would allow forests to remain untouched, animals to be farmed in free-range conditions, and greener farming methods to be used.
With as many people obese in the West as malnourished in poor countries—roughly a billion of each—distributing protein more fairly is also an opportunity to tackle global health problems, the report points out.
Oh, didn’t I mention that we’d have to eat a bit less meat? But at least there’s no need to go all Jonathan Safran Foer, so that’s something, right? There’s also one other slight adjustment we’d need to make. I won’t hold you in suspense for too long as to what it is. But believe me when I say that House Ag Chair Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) won’t like it at all:[F]eeding the world in a planet-friendly way means there will be little room to grow bio-fuel crops for cars. Feeding people must come first.
People before cars? How un-American. Ah, well. Can’t win ‘em all!