Food And Water

Life in a hot, hungry world

  • The world is entering a time of acute water scarcity. Cities now take up to half of the water once used to grow food and will redouble their demands as their populations swell to 7 billion mid-century, leaving only a diminished fraction of the water to grow their food. Groundwater is vanishing in every country in the world where it is used for food production.
  • A quarter of the world’s arable and grazing land is so degraded it can scarcely produce and the current loss – about 1 per cent a year – spells disaster by mid-century unless reversed.
  • Half the fertilizer applied on our farms is wasted.
  • Between farm and the consumer’s fork, half of all food is wasted.
  • The world may already have passed ‘peak phosphorus’, meaning demand is now outstripping the finding of new resources.
  • Peak oil probably means that agriculture will, by mid-century, depend almost entirely on biofuels for motive power, which could in turn absorb a tenth or more of our food growing capacity. By 2020 we may be burning 400 million tonnes of grain a year – equal to the entire world rice crop - to keep cars on the road.
  • Nearly a third of the world’s major fisheries have collapsed or are stressed and prospects for doubling the global food supply from the oceans look bleak.
  • Current forecasts suggest up to half the Earth may be in regular drought by the end of the century, causing major disruptions to food supplies in areas experiencing drought, heat, flooding, sea-level rise, and increased pressure from pests.

Peak Oil And World Food Supplies

UN warns of 70 percent desertification by 2025


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