Feeding 9 billion people is possible with sustainable farming
An international team of scientists has proposed a five-point plan for feeding the world while protecting the planet.
The research concludes that "feeding the nine billion people anticipated to live on Earth in 2050 without exhausting the Earth's natural resources is possible, provided that we adopt a more sustainable food production approach."
The findings concludes that we can feed the increasing amount of people on this planet without exhausting the world's resources if we successfully pursue sustainable food production on five key fronts: halt farmland expansion, improve crop production, more strategic use of water and nutrients, reduce food waste and dedicate croplands to direct human food production.
"Agriculture is the largest single cause behind global warming and loss of ecosystem services, and at the same time the key to human wellbeing in all societies. We now have the opportunity to not only cool the planet, but also to build resilient societies, and improve human wealth", says co-author Johan Rockström, Executive Director at Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Stockholm Environment Institute.
Together with scientists from the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, McGill University, UC Santa Barbara, Arizona State University and the University of Bonn, Rockström has for two years tried to find an answer to what could be the most compelling question facing humanity today. Based on data gathered about crop production and environmental impacts using satellite maps and on-the-grounds records, the scientists propose a five-point plan for doubling the world's food production while reducing environmental impacts.
"Our research has shown that it is possible to both feed a hungry world and protect a threatened planet," says lead author Jonathan Foley, head of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.