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Operation: Prezentation

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Stevie Xie

on 20 January 2013

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Transcript of Operation: Prezentation

The Food Crisis The End of Plenty By Steven Xie 35 years from now, will there be enough for all? Conditioned You sit down at a table, ready to devour, pick up a fork, and take a juicy bite. Oblivious to the heaps of globally distributed food on your plate. Your beef comes from Iowa, fed by Nebraska corn... ...Your grapes come from Chile... ...Your bananas from Honduras... ...Your olive oil from Sicily... ...Your apple juice is shipped all the way from China... right to Your Mouth. We have been conditioned to accept our high status in society. We have been conditioned to live plentifully. Even wastefully. But this, Modern society has relieved us of the burden of growing, harvesting, even preparing our daily sandwich or meal, in exchange for the burden of simply paying for it. Only when the food prices rise do we take notice. And the consequences of our inattention are profound. Will not last. alas, The Issue For most of the past decade, the world has been consuming more food than it has been producing. High prices are the ultimate signal that demand is finally outstripping supply, that there is simply not enough food to go around. Agricultural productivity growth is only one to two percent a year, and not nearly enough to meet population growth and the increased demand. After years of drawing down stockpiles, in 2007 the world saw global carryover stocks fall to 61 days of global consumption, the second lowest on record. Cars, Karma, and Carbon Dioxide But how fast exactly M re has our population grown? Currently... Meat Worldwide, the demand for grain as increased. Through the demand for meat. As more and more countries such as China and India become more and more developed, the people move up the food ladder causing a growth in desire for meat in these developing countries, as it becomes more affordable and readily available in these regions. However, eating meat is an incredibly inefficient way of feeding oneself. It takes up to 5x More grain To produce Meat Than it takes to produce the amount of grain with and equivalent amount of calories. All this puts a lot of pressure on the grain industry. Not only is the world population constantly growing, but the demand for grain through the demand for meat is skyrocketing. The demand is simply to high for industry to support! Increased Stress On the Environment The increase in the demand for wheat also pressure countries such as Brazil and the United States to expand their cropland, usually by plowing up already rapidly-shrinking rainforests. With the ever decreasing amount of gasoline and crude oil resources, and the ever increasing gas prices, people have resorted to other solutions, energy alternatives that may save them energy and protect the earth in the long run. Growing and processing corn into a ethanol actually uses a huge amount of fossil fuel. Once the refineries complete the distillation process, only about 20 percent of each gallon of corn ethanol is "new" energy. This goes to show that ethanol is not as environmentally friendly an alternative than as we think it is, and that it is not necessarily a benefit over gasoline emission-wise. Ethanol Fuel Ethanol fuel is a type of biofuel that is made from sugar-rich plants such as corn or soybeans. Ethanol fuel is commonly used as an additive to gasoline - it burns cleaner than gasoline, releases less greenhouse gasses than traditional fuel, and will help improve our energy security. The Flipside This raises Ever since 2005, a growing number of farmers have been switching from growing and harvesting their regular crops to growing soybeans and corn, due to their high demand from the ethanol fuel industry, and therefore their increased profitability and yields. food prices tremendously, as there are less farmers growing food to be sold to supermarkets, causing a shortage of food. In July, 2011, ethanol refineries in the United States were consuming more corn than livestock and poultry farmers combined! In 2005, only 16 million acres of land were dedicated to the production of ethanol - it was more than enough at the time. However, in 2011, it took 46.5 million acres just to satisfy the demand for ethanol. Carbon Footprints It is currently estimated that over 40% of all of the corn crops in the U.S. now goes to make ethanol. A dramatic rise in Chinese imports of soybeans was also putting pressure on food prices and supply in North America. Even China, the second largest corn-growing nation on the planet, can't grow enough grain to feed all its pigs! Another report from the US Department of Agriculture states that US corn and soybean stocks are "dangerously low", and that the data collected by the department expressed that, "soybean and corn supplies were at about half typical levels. Cl mate Change, Water Scarcity, Increased smog and pollution causes global warming, where carbon dioxide and heat levels rise consistently above the global average, can affect plants very severely. While one can argue that hotter temperatures in Canada leads to warmer winters and therefore higher productivity rates in plants, it is countered by the fact that many plants are killed during the winter due to the rapid freezing and thawing of the ground, which may severely damage plant roots. Many plants will attempt to move northwards to colder areas due to global warming, which may cause unbalance in many ecosystems where specific plants are vital to the community, and the higher CO2 levels will benefit some plants, but stunt the growth of most others. Many weeds will attempt to move to hotter areas, contrary to most plants. This is both good and bad, considering that the weeds will spread more towards more polluted, city areas, but may free up space in the countryside that would otherwise be unsuitable for agricultural use. It must be recognized that our water are finite. Global warming has caused more melting in freshwater springs than any of us has anticipated, and manipulated the climate so much that droughts and floods beleaguer us every day. We are in as much of a water crisis as a food crisis! Water is much scarcer than it was years ago, and we must conserve it before it is too late. Global warming has changed the weather: places that normally get very little rain suddenly receive extremely moist temperature, while other places that usually get plentiful rain get none, resulting in droughts. The plants in these regions are not given enough time to adapt to the new climate, and either dry out or wash out. A huge amount of water goes into making food: growing it, washing it, preparing it, etc. By conserving food, but cutting down on meat, we are not only preserving our future food stockpiles, but also the amount of water left on our planet. By conserving our food, especially our meat intake, we are also preserving our future. In Panama and Malaysia (Central America), a two-decade local study of rainforest plots study verified that an increase of 1 degree Celsius has "reduced tree growth by 50 per cent". This is startling news, as trees play a major role in the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and are a vital part of the natural environment cycle. Between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s, the world was once on the brink of a global famine. however, von Braun and his colleagues at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research managed to produce strands of "miracle grains" that more than doubled crop yields with the same amount of work. This was achievement so staggering it was dubbed the green revolution. A Zap from the Past However, today, we are on the brink of yet another food crisis. With world population spiraling toward nine billion by mid-century, these experts now say we need a repeat performance, doubling current food production by 2030. We need another green revolution... ...And we need it... ...In half the time. Brazil alone increased its soybean acreage in Amazonia 10 percent a year from 1990 to 2005! In fact, world meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. The fact that world meat consumption is expected to double by 2050 means we're going to need a whole lot more grain! And Overirrigation. Overirrigation Overirrigation has led to steep drops in underground water levels, now tapped by 1.3 million tube wells, and has led to the loss of thousands of hectares of productive land which were prone salinization and waterlogged soils. Gene Science It is widely believed that the next Green Revolution relies in our newfound knowledge of the gene. Plant breeders now know the sequence of almost all of the 50 000 genes in corn and soybean plants. Soon, farmers will be able to purchase genetically modified strands of plants that have been modified to produce higher yields with less fertilizer and drought tolerance. While it can be argued that altering food genetically may cause side-effects unknown to our health, genetic modification is the only way we will be able to feed our skyrocketing population. Through his Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, Bill Gates has invested heavily in agriculture in Africa and around the world, committing more than 2 billion to GM foods since 2006. Millions of farmers already use GM seeds, and the GM technology is being adopted rapidly by the farming community. GM foods isn't necessarily right or wrong; Virtually all food is genetically modified. Nature doesn't plant seeds in nice, neat rows, till the land, water when it doesn't rain. It doesn't fertilize the crops en masse, and neither does it discriminate plants with monoculture farming. All the methods that we already use to plant crops change the ways things grow, and over time, they also change the genetics of the plant. Widespread droughts and record-breaking heat waves due to climate change across the U.S. and other farming countries have caused mass soybean and corn crop failures this summer, leading to the worst harvest in more than 50 years. In the just the past summer of 2012, corn prices rose by 60 percent - an astonishing amount for such a short period of time. This has even led some farmers to feed their cows candy. After corn prices have doubled since 2009, the current price of corn now stands at $315 a ton, while ice-cream sprinkles can be had for as little as $160 a ton. (Details at http://cnnmon.ie/SOVLGn) Therefore, first, most obvious step towards solving this crisis is to push down the number of mouths we have to feed. Promoting lower fertility rates is a start, but it isn't going to happen any time soon - at least not overnight. By decreasing worldwide fertility rates, we can make sure that our population becomes more stable, and that we can slowly level off population growth and begin to shrink. We Must reduce personal resource consumption. If we cut meat consumption by 50 per cent, we would be able to release an area of farmland larger than the United States for extra food production. However, this will also take its time, and time's the one thing that's not on our side. By 2060, we can expect to see the loss of most of the remaining African wilderness, replaced by farmland, just to keep up with the meat demand! Crops grown to feed people directly currently take up just 4 per cent of the Earth’s available land surface; but crops to feed cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens account for 30 per cent – seven times as much! A Modified Solution? vershoot The first step towards solving the food crisis is to acknowledge and acquire a mutual awareness that we have overpopulated our planet. Currently, our population is in overshoot; our numbers and levels of consumption having exceeded the Earth's capacity to sustain us for the long-term. And as we remain in overshoot, we further erode the Earth's ability to support us. Our population will eventually come down, however, whether voluntarily, or through such natural means as famine or disease. Switching Energy S urces We also need a complete transition to clean, renewable energy. This will be a difficult transition, but our current reliance on non-renewable energy sources is, by definition, "unsustainable." In California, Professor Patrick Brown, a molecular biologist at Stanford University, is developing a way to turn plant tissue into fake meat, indistinguishable from the real thing and far cheaper. There may be other advances on the way as well. In the Netherlands, scientists are working on a way to grow real meat in a vat. These are early days, but if these technologies can be made to work there is the whiff of a new Agricultural Revolution in the air In Svalbard, a Global Seed Vault stores seed samples of agricultural crops stored from participating countries worldwide. Perhaps a solution to the crisis can be accelerated from the genetic qualities from one of the 1.5 million distinct types of seeds in the vault... Twice before, our species has been saved from starvation by science. But as we move towards a planet of eight billion people, we are in uncharted territory. Let’s hope that a new green revolution is coming, and do what we can to make a difference. f d As can be seen by the chart above, our population, since the 1990s, have begun to dramatically exceed our food (specifically grain) supply and production rates. There are approximately 205 million more malnourished people in 2010 than there were in 1995. The world may not have ended in 2012. But unless we solve the The future may not be looking so friendly. Crisis, Thank you for watching my presentation. Need a bibliography? Check it out at http://sprng.me/foskk
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