Friday, September 25, 2009


Ecological Debt and Food

The FAO tells us that in 2050 the world will have to produce 70% (!) more food to feed our burgeoning global population. That’s a pretty tall order. Of course, there is a monumental amount of food wasted and thrown away, so that tweaking the world food production and distribution system could eliminate much hunger. And because many people starve because of politics, some political changes would save still more lives (although I wouldn’t count on that happening).

Nevertheless, all that surplus wasted food is produced in an unsustainable manner, which is one of the factors behind the world’s ecological debt. Combine that ecological debt with other factors, such as dependence on a deteriorating industrial system that runs on fossil fuels, the wholesale destruction of precious farmland around the globe for “development,” and the rapidly building mountain of monetary debt, and it’s quite obvious that we are never going to increase food production by 70%. Driving production and consumption with debt — both ecological or monetary — is just digging us deeper into a sand pit that is ready to collapse around us.

Again, the economic growth model has to be abandoned, debt must be eliminated, and many people must be moved back on the land to farm it and care for it.

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