Food

Published on December 9th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

World’s Biggest Looming Problem a Food Crisis?

food crisis coming

A recent article in NZ Herald News discusses the looming food crisis and how it might become the world’s biggest problem in the decades to come.  “If the world doesn’t act now, it faces a catastrophic global food shortage by mid-century,” Greg Ansley writes.

Ansely cites numerous recent studies concerning the degradation of our oceans and potential mass extinction in the oceans due to CO2 emissions and global warming as well as the growth of dead zones due to the chemicals we use on our agriculture and runoff from our polluted urban areas.

He also discusses the growing demand for food, and especially “high-quality food,” population growth, and water shortages. Ansley writes:

The main drivers of the looming crisis include population growth that will reach 9.2 billion by 2050 (most in the poorer nations), rising demand for protein foods such as meat, milk, fish and eggs, and a global food requirement by 2050 that will be up to double today’s, outstripping growth in food output.

Fuelling this will be growing shortages of water and productive land – 25 per cent of land is already so damaged it can barely yield food – declining nutrients, high energy costs, over-fishing, decimation of coral reefs and ocean food chains, declining agricultural research, climate change, and economics, politics and trade policies that distort world markets.

He definitely makes a compelling case for the idea that a food crisis might be our biggest problem soon, extensively citing Dr. Julian Cribb’s book The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do To Avoid It.

He also goes into the problems that could be triggered from a food crisis like this — from wars to intercommunal violence to famine to mass displacement.

For much more on these topics, read: Earth’s gravest challenge: Not enough food to go round

Photo Credit: physicianforhumanrights via flickr (CC license)






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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Pingback: Food — Not for Everyone | Planetsave()

  • Too bad the science disagrees with your mantra. Global Warming (Newly dubbed Climate Disruption) and increased CO2 provide more growth both on land and in the oceans and leads to INCREASED food production.

    So if you are actually concerned about the food supply, stop pushing the Global Warming disaster scenarios and get to dealing with over fishing, air and water pollution, plastic filled ocean gyres, needless killing of whales and things that really matter. Forget about the polar bears. They are highly adaptable and their numbers have been increasing for over 50 years.

    Do what is important, not what is in “style”.

    • Wayne, the science doesn’t support your statement at all. Plants need CO2 to live, but they have basically reached their saturation point. They are absorbing a smaller and smaller % of the CO2 in the atmosphere. Furthermore, in the oceans, high levels of CO2 are causing ocean acidification that numerous studies and scientific bodies have proclaimed are a great threat to our ocean ecosystems. And, on land, the problem for food supplies is not due to CO2 increase directly, but to the more severe and higher rates of flooding, drought, natural disasters, and ecosystem collapse and migration that are coming (and already here) from global climate change. i’m sorry that there is so much disinformation out there, but the science is really clear on this matter.

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