I was listening to to a Living Planet podcast recently and was astonished to hear that in October this year our planet will reach a population of 7 billion people. If that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a 7 followed by 9 zeros, it looks like 7,000,000,000.
Ok so you get my point that’s a lot of people, and a lot of people to feed, which begs the question: can our planet really sustain so many people? We are fairly sheltered from the real concept of food shortages in Australia, except for noticing the rising price of Bananas (one of over 30,000 products available to us in a supermarket). For someone living below the poverty line however, food shortages have life and death implications, yet they only have few food options available, maybe a staple of rice or wheat.
With the UN world price index at an all time high, the Foreign Policy Magazine focusses heavily on food scarcity throughout it’s May issue. As populations grow and abnormal weather events influenced by Climate Change become more frequent we are seeing more hungry people in the world than ever before; exceeding one billion undernourished people in mid 2009.
Although the topic of food scarcity can turn into a population debate Dr Patrick Webb from the Friedmen School of Nutrition believes we can feed 7 billion people if we allocate resources adequately. “The strain on resources comes not from the 6.5 billion people but from the other 500 million, the very wealthy industrialised country population who use most of the world’s resources.”
We can each do our bit by making sure the food we buy is produced using fewer resources through efficient processing, water use and locally sourced ingredients. If you have some more ideas, please share them in the comments section below.
PS if you like the photograph, it was an entry into the photographic category of the savewater! awards® entitled ‘Water For Feeding The Nation’ by Mitchell Krog from South Africa.