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Full planet, empty plates [lester r. brown] summary


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Full planet, empty plates [lester r. brown] summary

  1. 1. Full planet, empty plates: The new geopolitics of food scarcity SUMMARY
  2. 2. FOOD, THE WEAK LINK “WE ARE ENTERING A NEW ERA OF RAISING FOOD PRICES AND SPREADING HUNGER” –LESTER BROWN FOOD EQUATION: Demand  Population growth  Rising affluence  conversion of food into fuel Supply  Soil Erosion  Growing water Shortages  Grain yields plateauing  Rising temperatures PRODUCTION HAS ITS LIMITS BUT DEMAND KEEPS ON INCREASING
  3. 3. FOOD SECURITY Large stocks of grains cushioned world crop shortfalls. 1950 U.S. Cropland set aside program Annual world carryover stocks constantly dropping Phasing out of U.S. cropland set aside program Food Abundance period Barely Keeping pace with demand THE WORLD IS NOW LIVING FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT 1986 Present
  4. 4. RISING FOOD PRICES, STRAINED BUDGETS AND HUNGER Rising demand is raising food prices, for consumers who spend more than 50% of their income on food this represents a serious problem, forcing them to eat less.
  5. 5. The increasing demand for food is rising food prices, making the poor not being able to keep up with them. Now many households that ate at least one meal a day have foodless days as a weekly routine.
  6. 6. RISING FOOD PRICES, STRAINED BUDGETS AND HUNGER Despite the efforts to eradicate hunger, relentless population growth is making it more difficult and is putting excessive pressure on land and water resources making it difficult for farmers to keep pace. Most of the nearly 1 billion people who are chronically hungry live in the Indian sub-continent and the sub-Saharan Africa.
  7. 7. RISING FOOD PRICES, STRAINED BUDGETS AND HUNGER These graphs show how population is growing even faster in developing countries, precisely countries that have hunger problems have the highest population growth rates making this problem persistent over time.
  8. 8. THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION Stage 1:  High Birth Rates  High Death Rates Stage 2 :  High Birth Rates  Decreasing Death Rates Stage 3 :  Decreasing Birth Rates  Decreasing Death Rates Stage 4 :  Low Birth Rates  Low Death Rates
  9. 9. countries that fail to shift to smaller families risk being overwhelmed by land and water shortages, disease and civil conflicts. governments cannot longer provide personal security, food security or basic social services such as education and health care THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION
  10. 10. Countries that have made it into stage three with lower fertility and fewer children benefit for higher rates of savings, they have a “demographic bonus”: the number of dependents decline relative to the number of working adults. Investment rises and economic growth accelerates. The only humane option is to move quickly to replacement-level fertility of two children per couple and to stabilize world population as soon as possible THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION
  11. 11. In every society where income has risen, the appetite for meat, milk eggs and sea food has generated an enormous growth in animal protein consumption. As people consume more meat, milk, eggs and farmed fish indirect grain consumption rises. MOVING UP THE FOOD CHAIN 13 Pounds = 1 Pound
  12. 12. MOVING UP THE FOOD CHAIN Between 1950-1990 the oceanic fish catch climbed from 17 Million to 84 million tons. The human appetite for seafood has outgrown the sustainable yield of oceanic fisheries. Today 4/5 of fisheries are being fished at or beyond their sustainable capacity. Many have declined and some have collapsed.
  13. 13. MOVING UP THE FOOD CHAIN Worldwide roughly 35% of the 2.3 billion ton annual grain harvest is used for feed. In contrast, nearly all of the soybean harvest ends up as feed. People with the longest life expectancy are not those who live very low or very high on the food chain but those who occupy an intermediate position.
  14. 14. FOOD OR FUELNot only are biofuels raising food prices and increasing the number of hungry people; it also makes little sense from a energy efficiency perspective. The grain required to fill a 25 gallon fuel tank of a vehicle with ethanol just once would feed one person for a whole year. In terms of energy efficiency, grain-based ethanol is a clear loser: the energy return on energy invested in producing corn-based ethanol is only 1.5 to 1.
  15. 15. FOOD OR FUELGood news is that as more stringent U.S. Auto fuel-efficiency standards are introduced, gasoline used by cars will decline, and grain-based ethanol will also decline. A Major move to electric cars will further reduce the use of gasoline, using electricity from wind farms, solar cells, or geothermal power plants to power cars will dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
  16. 16. WATER AND FOOD SCARCITYAs adults each of us drink nearly 4 liters of water a day, but it takes 2000 liters of water to produce the food we consume each day. 70% of world water is used for irrigation.
  17. 17. WATER AND FOOD SCARCITY 40% of the world grain harvest is grown on irrigated land, and 40% of world irrigated area is dependent on underground water. Water tables are falling, irrigation wells are going dry. If the pumping surpasses the sustainable yield of the aquifer, aquifers are depleted.
  18. 18. GRAIN YIELDS STARTING TO PLATEAU Grain yield per hectare cannot continue rising indefinitely, once we remove nutrients constraints by applying fertilizer and we remove soil moisture constraints by irrigating then is the potential of photosynthesis and the local climate that ultimately limit crop yields. The earth rising temperature is making it more difficult to sustain a steady rise in grain yields.
  19. 19. RISING TEMPERATURE-RISING FOOD PRICES High temperatures interfere with pollination and reduce photosynthesis of basic food crops. High temperatures can also dehydrate plants. Rule of thumb suggest that for 1 degree Celsius rise above the norm during the growing season lowers wheat, rice and corn yields by 10%.
  20. 20. RISING TEMPERATURE-RISING FOOD PRICES China and India are the world’s 2 top wheat producers and rice harvest. It is the glaciers ice melt that keeps the major rivers of India and china flowing during the dry season, therefore the world has never faced such a predictably massive threat to food production as the melting mountain glaciers of Asia. Himalayan glacier
  21. 21. WHAT CAN WE DO? (NOT IN THE BOOK) Support education. Stabilize population worldwide as soon as possible by eliminating poverty. Education plays a big role, educated men and women who have fewer children can become more economically powerful and contribute to a better future for their families and their communities.
  22. 22. WHAT CAN WE DO? Reduce excessive meat consumption. By eating less meat we can save:  Water  Land  Grains  Fuel.
  23. 23. WHAT CAN WE DO? Reduce excessive meat consumption. By eating less meat we can reduce methane emissions and ease global warming
  24. 24. WHAT CAN WE DO? Reverse biofuels policies Do not support the use of biofuels, do not buy grain- based fuel.
  25. 25. EVERY DAY YOU MAKE A CHOICE Every time you seat down to eat you make a choice, choose wisely, do not eat other’s food by choosing high resource consumption food. Buy local. Walk or use public transportation when possible. Choose an issue to work on and share your concern. Join an institution that works on what you concern the most.