Chaitanya Ramisetty

Zenosys Consulting

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What If the World’s Food Supplies Run Out?

What If the World’s Food Supplies Run Out? Will science and technology be our saviour in the years to come.Some people think the next war will be over water resources. But it might be so that it will be about food.

The poor were having too many babies. If this continued, I reckon, the planet would run out of food. Well, there were only nine hundred million humans on the planet once. Now there are about 7 billion. This is expected to rise to 10 billion by mid-century.

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    Apr 10 2013: Call me sarcastic, pasimistic and crule but I think that the world food supply is already runing out (as can be seen from the globaly rising food prices) and there is a simple and one very likley result- people will die. War starvation or something else- but eventually the count of people on earth will be lowered to the point we can feed ourselves.
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      Apr 10 2013: And the fundamental question is: if we do not stabilize the population now, then when? Many countries in Western Europe - even those such as Italy and Ireland with large Roman Catholic majorities - have stabilized their populations. And they do it while fully respecting individual human rights.Why can't we?
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        Apr 10 2013: The most effective way to reduce birth is women education. Educated women who works and in good economic state will have less kids, and in an older age. Condoms are also usefull.
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    Apr 13 2013: With the exceptions of sub-Sahara Africa, India, and Bangladesh, many of the world's most populated regions have fallen below replacement fertility rates, thanks to social, economic, or political coercion. China, who instituted a strict one-child policy in 1979, is already below the replacement rate and has been for approximately 20 years. A brief summary: Replacement fertility is the rate required to maintain a population in equipoise with mortality rates.

    Massive technological strides have been made in the medical and agricultural fields. Children and adults are now given access to the latest medical treatments, and farmers are able to increase crop production while utilizing less acreage—factors which ultimately result in lowered child mortality rates and increases a population’s ability to sustain itself. However, many of these advances are not available in the most destitute and overpopulated regions of the world, which, as a result of high infant mortality, results in continued population expansion.

    Robert Malthus, a celebrated political economist and demographer, posited that, if left unchecked, exponential population growth would eventually outpace agricultural production leading to starvation, war, and disease. This scenario is aptly referred to as a “Malthusian Catastrophe”. Malthus went on to conclude that such population booms could be rectified early through moral restraint, and by restricting marriage and reproduction among certain groups, mostly the impoverished.

    While I do agree that population control and the availability of food should be of the utmost concern to everyone, I can’t fathom nations going to war because of it. However, given the current economic trends in many developing countries, I expect that concerns arising from the availability and environmental dangers of energy resources to dominate international political discourse in the present and near future.
  • Apr 10 2013: There is a lot of waste that could feed a LOT of people. Think grocery stores that throw away perfectly good food. So I think we have a good buffer.

    But I disagree with your question.. I worry we will continue expanding our food supplies. That is the real threat.
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      Apr 10 2013: Yes Brian. Thank you for bringing up this point. Food wastage is also a reason for food supplies to run out. The world produces a lot of food, enough to feed billions more than are living right now.
      But We're not doing enough to resolve these complex issues that are critical for providing 9-10 billion people with a nutritious diet.

      I think the first step is more awareness of these issues and the need for action on multiple levels of society.

      Again Reducing food wastage is also a part of solution for helping food supplies not to run out.
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      Apr 10 2013: There is nothing to disagree Grace. You are absolutely right. There is no turning back. We need to wake up and wake up now.

      The rise in food prices is directly correlated to the 80 million people being added to the world’s population annually. This is beginning to “tax both the skills of farmers and the limits of the earth’s land and water resources. I am afraid already as you said the scarcity of water is limiting the food production dramatically and causing another food crisis.
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    Apr 9 2013: I'm thinking that Jenny Craig's sales will drop?

    Or perhaps an opportunity for some one who can figure out how to make Soylent Green?
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      Apr 9 2013: Hey Pat,

      And perhaps our grand children might just need to plug themselves on to a power outlet when they are hungry. I I am sure Spielberg would enjoy seeing that.
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        Apr 9 2013: What if What if. Won't global warming kill half of us off by then anyway?

        100 years ago what do you think people would say if you asked them if the planet could support 7 billion at a better and better level of health and happiness?
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      Apr 9 2013: Hello Zx,

      My concern is not about Doomsday. Its about the population. it is likely that world population will reach 8.3 billion by about 2025, and possibly 10 billion before leveling off. I am looking for answers of how we can stabilize the global population at the lowest possible level. I am sure there are ways to increasing food production by modernizing and intensifying agriculture in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

      As time goes on, the control of water for food and agricultural uses will become a more pressing issue. I mean more food will have to be produced over the next 50 years than has been during the past 10,000 years combined.