Walk into any major supermarket in America or Europe and you’ll see food products, acres of them, as far as the eye can see. From fresh fruits & vegetables to dairy products, bread, meat, seafood, and a wide range of both canned & frozen goods. But in less developed parts of the world, it’s a very different story, and that’s why Blog Action Day 2011 decided to focus on the critical issue of food this year.
The statistics are sad, evidenced by data from the World Food Programme:
The reasons for this shortage of food in developing countries are many, and every region must deal with its own unique set of circumstances, but a key organization that has analyzed the situation is the Earth Policy Institute, led by Lester Brown. From the list of issues detailed below, it’s obvious that the food supply crisis is not being caused by just one or two factors, and it also becomes evident that many of these adverse dynamics feed upon each other, serving to make matters worse.
- Global population is increasing by 75 million per year
- Increasing affluence means more meat consumption
- Little unused arable land is left for crop expansion
- Rising energy cost increase food production cost
- Over-pumped aquifers lead to falling water tables
- Loss of cropland to industry and residential use
- Growth in crop yields has been slowing recently
- Soil erosion and climate change expanding deserts
- Deforestation and overgrazing reduce soil quality
- Expanding use of food as biofuel adds price pressure
Peak Oil – Water Shortages – Climate Change – Population
This video, produced by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, illustrates the situation in a graphically compelling manner – in just three minutes.