How to feed the billions

Food System
Jun 10th, 2012 | By Aubrey Yee

Playing off the popularity of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” several concerned groups are now calling industrial agriculture the new ‘inconvenient truth’.

Wondering how we are going to continue to feed the 7+ billion people on this planet, a recent video by the University of Minnesota’s Institute of the Environment cites some alarming figures:

- More than 40% of the earth’s surface has been cleared for agriculture
- Global pastures cover 30 million km2–the size of the African continent
- Agriculture uses 60 times more land than urban and suburban areas combined
- Every year we use 2,800 cubic km of water on crops - its the biggest use of water on the planet, and major rivers and lakes are drying up
- Agriculture contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet combined.

http://youtu.be/hgmzV0E7ZoE

What are we to do? While there are no easy solutions, this video and others like it aim to elevate the global dialogue around this crucial issue quickly. The University of Minnesota group suggests initiatives around: incentives for farmers, precision agriculture, new crop varieties and drip irrigation. This is clearly a huge and complex issue, but one that will become increasingly present in international policy debates, and as a matter of survival, a reality we cannot ignore.

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