By Barbi Alloatti
:: Argentina ::
The population is growing at an accelerated rate. Although this pace was a little slower in recent years, it is estimated that the world will have 2,000 million more inhabitants by 2050. That means that in total we will be coexisting around 9,000 million people with the same -or fewer- resources. we have now.
In this sense, the challenge of how to feed all human beings just 30 years from now. That question today is without concrete answers.
But it was possible to establish a possible solution – or a warning, depending on the point of view -: a team of Swedish researchers from the Stockholm Institute determined that to avoid hunger and be able to supply the entire population, it would be necessary to stop eating meat.
In other words, by 2050 we would all be vegetarians, or at least we would almost completely reduce our consumption of meat. Not by choice, but fforced by the scarcity of water and food resources.
On the other hand, today approximately 900 million people are hungry and more than 2 billion are undernourished, according to the UN.
In this scenario, adding 2 billion more humans in just three decades will make the lack of food and water to supply the entire population more critical.
The answer to this question by the researchers is, then, change your diet to avoid this crisis. But the question is why stop eating meat?
The main problem comes from the water. This resource, which is currently a precious asset and is scarce in many parts of the world, is a fundamental piece for the proper development of arable land.
It is so precious, and above all it will be, that the possibility that water is the reason why most of the disputes between countries will take place is also being analyzed. It is even estimated that the wars in the near future would be for this resource.
In summary, by the year 2050 it is estimated that 60% of humanity will suffer from a shortage of water for irrigation of the land. And precisely, livestock consumes between five and ten times more water than crops intended for plants.
Moreover, if currently 20% of the daily calories consumed by humans come from animal products, within 30 years we will be forced to reduce that amount to 5%, or less, if we choose to take care of those resources that in short supply.
So, switching to an almost or completely vegetarian diet would allow us to save between five and ten times the water resource that we have for agriculture and thus, be able to sustain the possibility of feeding the entire population.
If we opt for that option, consuming less animal products would save us the necessary water to be able to have more arable land for other types of use, such as growing fruits and vegetables.
The report of this team of researchers from the Stockholm Institute was presented at the World Water Conference, held in Stockholm.
In the study, the scientists conclude that global food reserves continue to decline, while the world’s population continues to grow.
So, will we have to give up meat to have enough fruit and vegetable resources for the entire population? Will our children and grandchildren have to drastically change their diet in order to feed everyone?
What consequences would such a diet change bring to people? Will they reach the earth’s resources in this way to supply the 9,000 million inhabitants?
These questions, without a concrete answer to date, force us to rethink our link with the resources that the planet’s surface provides us today.
It may also lead us to consider the possibility of looking for sustainable alternatives to take care of our land a little more, and begin to leave a better legacy for future generations.
If at least that question becomes strong enough for each of us to acquire the necessary awareness to change our habits from today, perhaps we will have a little advantage in this crisis.
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