3 Sustainable Ways to Feed Everyone On the Planet

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If you listen to all the bad news out there, ending world hunger can sound quite difficult, if not impossible. The good news is, it may be easier than we thought!

The human population of our beautiful, but finite planet grows by the minute, and some have predicted that we will drive ourselves into extinction before a solution to our food supply problems is found. This isn’t the only threat either. Pollution, climate change, bee colony collapse, and soil depletion caused by irresponsible farming methods are among the many threats to our food security.

Luckily, this recent study published in the Science journal shows that we can meet the basic food needs of at least 3 billion more people in a sustainable manner just by making 3 key changes to the way we grow, produce, and consume food.

Here’s how they say we can grow more food without stressing out the environment even more:

1. Use Land More Efficiently
The researchers point out that there is a surprising “yield gap” between how much we should be able to grow and what we actually grow. The researchers found that closing even half of the worlds’ yield gaps would feed 850 million people, especially in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

2. Use Our Resources More Efficently
It’s not enough to just grow more food—we also have to protect the resources we need to do so. Growing efficiently spans three categories: greenhouse emissions, fertilizer, and water.

Air: Agriculture produces 20 to 35 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions because of deforestation, methane from livestock and rice, and crop fertilization.

Fertilizer: In the same way that America is overfeeding itself, we’re also overfeeding our plants. According to the study, plants only need 40 percent of the nitrogen we apply and 50 percent of the phosphorus. The rest is excess that clogs up our water supply. (Organic farming is also more sustainable anyway as it replenishes the soil rather than depleting it.)

Water: Irrigation accounts for about 90 of water consumption, with India, Pakistan, China, and the U.S. among the thirstiest countries in the world. They use the bulk of irrigation water for water, rice, and wheat. But the researchers were optimistic and said that boosting crop water efficiency could lessen water demand by up to 15 percent without hurting crop growth….

3. Use Our Food More Efficiently

The researchers also pointed out that it’s not that we don’t have enough food, it’s that we’re feeding it to animals instead of people…. For instance, 41 percent of the corn grown never sees a food factory, supermarket, or kitchen. All of this wasted corn could feed 760 million people. (Just make sure you get enough plant-based protein if you want to start eating less meat.)

Read the full article at RodalesOrganicLife.com


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