In 1950, the world was populated by two and a half billion people. This was up from 1.6 billion 50 years earlier. Medical advances and improved distribution of resources had significantly sped up population growth. Experts were starting to worry about overpopulation but resources were not expected to run out for hundreds of years.
Just over six and a half decades later, the global population has almost tripled. There’s an estimated 7.4 billion people in the world. But while human growth has been immense, resources have not followed the same course. On the contrary, the average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990.
In many parts of the world food production has struggled to match the increased needs of the human race. In that struggle, resources have been depleted with little time to regenerate.
There’s no longer a question of if we’ll run out of food. Experts are instead focusing on when we’ll run out of food.
Meat is a major part of the problem…
Meat is an essential part of most people’s diets. We eat so much meat, that chicken farms need to hatch millions of chickens daily. Cattle, pigs, sheep, and all other sources of meat, are in danger of running out if they’re not raised in immense volumes.
But raising so many animals causes another problem – we need the resources to sustain them. Meat production not only endangers animal populations, it also diminishes plant life to a huge degree. For every 10 kg of meat, 385 kg of vegetable mass is required. Around 800 million tons of edible food is fed to farm animals every year.
…but vegetarianism is not the solution
Many vegetarians see this as yet another reason to stop eating meat. If the whole world stopped eating meat, greenhouse gases would plummet, climate change would slow, and there’d be far fewer hungry people. Unfortunately, this just creates other problems. We need meat or the equivalent in our diets, and while red meat can cause serious cardiovascular damage, no meat causes other health implications.
And, while less meat means fewer animals diminishing vegetation it also means MORE HUMANS diminishing vegetation. And, of course, the global economy would tank if the meat industry ceased to exist. In any case, it’s not going to happen. Getting individuals to give up meat is a losing battle, and getting whole nations or regions involved sometimes seems like a fool’s errand.
Experts have pinpointed 2050
By 2050, there will be an estimated 9.6 billion humans on Earth. As with all population predictions, this number could be a huge underestimation.
If that number is accurate, meat will run out around that time. If we cut down on eating meat, but not eliminate it from our diets entirely, food production can become more sustainable. But the chances of that happening on a global scale are no more than theoretical.
It could happen sooner
2050 still seems a while away, but it is in our lifetimes, and our children’s lifetimes. More importantly, food could run out much sooner than anticipated. Big corporations are doing a good job at deforestation, lessening our resources for the intangibility of money.
Furthermore, wars could impact food production.
If nuclear war happens, even if it’s limited to a region, large tracts of land will no longer be suitable for growing food.
Even a conventional war pulls massive amounts of land out of the food production supply chain. The on-going conflict in the middle-east is a perfect example – the biggest issue for many in that region of the world is access to food. And, in fact, in that conflict food has become a weapon to ensure compliance with the edicts of whomever is in power.
Thus, it’s crucial to be prepared for food shortages. We can no longer rely on corporations and governments producing food in a sustainable way. The best preparation is to have our own food sources. [How to start your own micro-farm]
For many of us, alternative food sources mean dried and/or preserved foods, stored safely during times of stability. The idea of a constant supply of fresh food might seem like a fantasy even under normal circumstances. But access to fresh food is critical to long term survival. Foods filled with preservatives have already been proven to be a massive health threat – it is simply not a good strategy to eat foods with chemicals for an extended period. And foods preserved naturally do not have the shelf life needed to survive an extended disaster spanning years and decades.
Micro-farming is an option that many can utilize to secure a dependable stream of fresh food. And in normal times a properly run micro-farm can even be a source of revenue and profits. It requires skills that are easily learned and access to land that is practical for most people with a job or other steady income.
When the food supply chain is shattered, those with micro-farms or micro-farming expertise just might be the ones holding the keys to everyone else’s survival. [Watch a video on why you should set up your own micro-farm]