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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, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday January 11, @07:46PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday January 11, @07:46PM (#1211875)

    Just don't ask me about fair and equitable ways of enforcing population control.

    See, we actually don't need to do that: There's not much need for draconian 1-child policies, definitely no forced sterilizations, or anything like that.

    All available statistical evidence suggests that these do the job pretty darn well:
    1. Make child labor illegal, and actually enforce those laws.
    2. Make sure all children have comprehensive sex education, so they know all about the birds and the bees and how babies happen by the time they've reached puberty.
    3. Give out free and discreet birth control to anybody who wants it. Make abortion legal and also discreetly available to anybody who wants it.
    Useful added bonuses include enough gender equality that women have jobs they want to focus on, and shunning religious doctrines that heap praise on people for having lots of children.

    The reason this works is that kids are expensive, risky to the parents' health, and a general pain in the ass, and while there are some people that really enjoy parenting there are an awful lot of people who really rather wouldn't go through all that. So you make it as easy as possible to not have kids, and enough people will choose that route to reverse the population growth or at least flatten that curve a lot.

    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
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