Sir Richard Attenborough has issued a dire warning. In his opinion, unless something can be done to stop the expansion (Expansion? Explosion rather) of the population, it is thirty years only before the world runs out of resources, mainly food and water.
He is only endorsing what we already know but which I am sure a great many people simply refuse to believe or just keep their eyes shut. If the population cannot be controlled (has the Chinese one child policy worked?) then an urgent change to food production is needed in order to feed future generations. A UK government-commissioned study into food security has called for urgent action to avert global hunger. “The Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures” says the current system is unsustainable and will fail to end hunger unless radically redesigned. Already the price of food has rocketed, sugar, wheat, etc., causing riots in various parts of the world. Fears have been confirmed in the culmination of a two-year study involving 400 experts from 35 countries.
According to the government's chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, the study provides compelling evidence for governments to act now. "We know in the next 20 years the world population will increase to something like 8.3 billion people," Beddington told BBC News. “We know that urbanization is going to be a driver and that something of the order of 65-70% of the world's population will be living in cities at that time. We know that the world is getting more prosperous and that the demand for basic commodities - food, water and energy - will be rising as that prosperity increases, increasing at the same time as the population." He warned: "We have 20 years to arguably deliver something of the order of 40% more food; 30% more available fresh water and of the order of 50% more energy. We can't wait 20 years or 10 years indeed - this is really urgent. 925 million people suffer hunger and perhaps a further billion lack micronutrients. The task is difficult because the food system is working for the majority of people but those at risk of hunger have least influence on decision-making." Professor Beddington also said he viewed the billion people who overeat and are therefore obese as another symptom of the failure of the food production system to deliver good health and well-being to the world's growing population. Facing reality. Ending hunger is one of the greatest challenges to be considered. The report calls for protection of the poorest from sharp price increases through government intervention and greater liberalisation of the trade in food in order to offset market volatility. It is noted that China has invested heavily in agriculture and is consequently one of the few countries to have met the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of halving hunger. The report also calls for new measures to hold governments and food producers to account. This would involve developing objective measures on how well they are doing to reduce hunger, combat climate change and environmental degradation and boosting food production.
With the population explosion is it really a problem that can be solved? 8.3 billion people? Somehow I doubt it. Maybe now’s the time scientists should concentrate all their energies on that hoary old sci-fi stand-b y – emigration to a distant planet.