Thursday, September 6, 2012

Forced Global Vegetarianism by 2050?

Sweden’s water scientists say that the world may be forced to become vegetarian by 2050 due to lack of water.

No one likes to be forced into anything. In fact, having the freedom of choice is one of the prerogatives we humans appreciate.  The power to choose, however, is being challenged when it comes to how we use farmland and raise animals—if some people have their way.

The reason given for future imposed vegetarianism? Dwindling global water supplies.

Presently, humans get about 20 percent of their daily protein intake from animal sources, but that number may be slashed to a mere 5 percent by the year 2050 due to not having enough water—resulting in compulsory worldwide vegetarianism.

The Stockholm International Water Institute made the grim prediction. It said, “There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in Western nations.”

“Nine hundred million people already go hungry and 2 billion people are malnourished in spite of the fact that per capita food production continues to increase,” the report indicated. “With 70% of all available water being in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land.”

The scientists say that vegetarianism is one way to deal with the water shortage.

Forced vegetarianism, I might add.

No doubt our drought here at home adds fuel to the water shortage focus—and it’s a legitimate worry—but what wasn’t mentioned in the water concern resulting in the “involuntary vegetarian” conclusion, is the fact that conventional farming and irrigation systems around the world continue to be extremely inefficient. Typically, less than half the water reaches crop roots and is misdirected or simply evaporates. Additionally, there is often over-irrigation or inadequate drainage.

Organic farming, however, rarely has such water-wasting consequences. A 2005 study by Cornell University Professor David Pimentel reports that organic farming produces the same yields as conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy and less water. Organic farming also doesn’t use pesticides, won’t contribute to groundwater pollution, and yields healthier produce.

The truth is that, unlike conventional agriculture, organic farming methods can produce enough food to feed the growing global population. In fact, some even say that organic farming may be the only way to feed the estimated 9 billion people worldwide by 2050. University of Michigan researchers discovered that organic farming yields up to 80 percent more food on individual farms in developing countries compared to low-intensive methods on the same land. That’s true for developed countries as well; organic farming produces as much or more—without the energy and water waste—as conventional farming does.

Forced vegetarianism by 2050? No. We have choices. We need to maximize our resources, including water, through organic farming.

Dr. Hans Herren, an internationally recognized scientist who has developed organic farms in Africa for the past 27 years, agrees that organic farming can feed the world. Check it out: