Feeding 9 Billion People and Breaking ships in Bangladesh

In my last post I had written about climate change.  I wanted to follow-up on that and write about Jonathan Foley’s insightful article on the challenge of feeding 9.6 billion people by 2050.  More than half of that population growth will come from Africa, according to an U.N. report.

Agriculture, according to Mr. Foley, is the greatest contributor to global warming.  Crop production would have to double to be able to feed the increased population.  It is alarming to find out that out of the total ice-free land on earth, 38.6% is already used for agriculture.  Another 14.9% is human-modified (Logging, planted forests, mines, quarries, etc.).

Mr. Foley recommends the following steps to meet the need for increased crop production and reduce global warming:

  • Freeze the footprint for agriculture.
  • Grow more on existing farms.
  • Increase resource efficiency.
  • Shift diets
  • Reduce Waste

Finally, my thoughts on the three main drivers for change in the first half of this century:

  • Population Explosion.
  • Increased Consumption due to reduced poverty and increased income levels.
  • Climate Change.

Any business or country that is looking to thrive and succeed in this world will have to gain control of these drivers.

If you ever wanted a reminder on how lucky we are, please read the article titled “The Ship-Breakers” (National Geographic, May 2014).  It is tale of people, desperate for work, employed to recycle old ships.  The very same ships that carried our cargo.  Bangladesh is the largest ship recycling nation in the world, followed by India, and China.

Follow me on Twitter: @rrprasan

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