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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 11, @04:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the Betteridge-says-"No" dept.

Can We Feed Billions of Ourselves Without Wrecking the Planet?

We are now producing more food more efficiently than ever, and there is plenty to go around for a human population of 7 billion. But it is coming at a drastic cost in environmental degradation, and the bounty is not reaching many people.

Sustainable Food Production, a new Earth Institute primer from Columbia University Press, explores how modern agriculture can be made more environmentally benign, and economically just. With population going to maybe 10 billion within 30 years, the time to start is now, the authors say.

The lead author is ecologist Shahid Naeem, director of the Earth Institute for Environmental Sustainability. He coauthored the book with former Columbia colleagues Suzanne Lipton and Tiff van Huysen.

This is an interesting interview with the author. Do you agree (or disagree) with his conclusions?

Columbia Climate School

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Barenflimski on Tuesday January 11, @05:55PM (1 child)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Tuesday January 11, @05:55PM (#1211834)

    I love these articles. They're always full of so many assumptions. The people that write these articles love to put things into pretty little boxes that "make sense." And in their perfect worlds where these articles are written, I'm sure it all does make sense. My point is that for most places I've visited outside of the "western world", these things are all just dreams that have a close to zero chance of being implemented locally.

    They assume that people have any view outside of their local system.
    They assume that the governments and people of the world are connected.

    When you travel around the world, you quickly see, that outside a few western countries, government is hardly a thing. Having an organization to depend on is something most people (billions) have never and will never experience. I'm not convinced that air dropping food to sustain populations that don't have a way to produce their own, is a healthy or good way to deal with the situations.

    The reality on planet earth is that a large portion of the population still farm and gather food on their own. These are likely the people that will carry on the human race, when the rest of us that depend on them vanish due to starvation.

    From the individual perspective on the ground, it would be nice if we could keep things night and tidy and clean. From the reality of the human race over time on planet earth, we are just another creature that mother nature threw on the face of the earth, that is going to completely change how the planet looked before they discovered 'modern technology.' Think roaches, or rats left to populate until their environment is no longer stable enough to support the current population.

    I'm all for cheery articles and fun forward thinking, but outside of putting the entire world under one umbrella, this is all fantasy outside of a few cases. Regardless, lets do it. I'm sure there is away to make money on this somehow.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday January 12, @04:31PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 12, @04:31PM (#1212154) Journal

    When you travel around the world, you quickly see, that outside a few western countries, government is hardly a thing.

    There's a lot more western than there used to be.