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Study Says Crop Yields to Feed a Growing Global Population a Concern

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“Crop yields to feed a growing global population may have reached a maximum in some parts of the world…”

Science News from United Press International is very concerned about the future. They are worried about how we are going to feed our ever-growing population. It is a subject that is being brought up more and more and with good reason: our population has surpassed the planet’s carrying capacity. But this is never broached in the article.  The author is simply concerned that new technologies may not be enough to produce what we’ll need for an expanding population.

“But since many of those technologies were one-time innovations, the projections of future yields may be overly optimistic…”

Sure, optimistic, environmentally harmful, avoiding the real problem, allowing an unsustainable population to continue exponentially growing for a temporary amount of time without regard for ecological footprint. Call it what you will. “…30 percent of the major global cereal crops…may have reached their maximum possible yields in farmers' fields, raising concerns about efforts to ramp up food production to meet increasing world populations.”

This is the statement that is most telling...the one that really gets my goat. Clearly the concern and subsequent desired efforts are toward finding a way to keep up with global food production to keep up with this population increase. “This decrease or stagnation in yield gain affects 33 percent of major rice-producing countries and 27 percent of major wheat-producing countries, they reported.” Never is it mentioned that the overpopulation problem itself is the issue needing to be addressed. This is just another article suggesting slapping a Band-Aid on a bigger problem – in fact the problem.

I want everyone on the planet to have access to a nutritious and fulfilling diet. Clearly. But if the solution we’re after is advocating for further population growth and creating a slew of yet to be revealed environmental problems then why are we pursuing it? Family planning, women’s rights, education, equality, and living conservationist lifestyles would go much farther and for longer if we were to focus on these as solutions. Taking this other route – including destroying vital ecosystems for arable farmland – is obviously going to create a greater hunger problem in the future. There is only so much we can do on a finite planet, even with technology.

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  • Dave Gardner
    Dave Gardner Tuesday, 24 December 2013

    I'm very glad to see this topic today. Many scientists have expressed concern that humankind will always expand our numbers to match any increase in food supply. This would suggest food supply is not where we should be focusing our energy, as Lynsey notes. Meanwhile we're only feeding today's 7 billion (many of them marginally) by burning through fossil fuels, baking the planet and creating vast ocean dead zones. Where are the journalists who will do more than phone in short-sighted reports like this?

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