Sunday

Future Food Shortage Predictions Presuppose Population Growth

In an article in the New York Times, Justin Gillis writes about the recovery of the Costa Rican Forest and similar governmental efforts to stop deforestation and in some cases the reforestation of large areas. It's good news. When forests are cut down, all the carbon that was sequestered in the trees is released into the atmosphere. When a forest recovers, it removes a significant amount of the carbon back out of the atmosphere.

But in the article, Gillis writes, "Around the world, trees are often cut down to make room for farming, and so the single biggest threat to forests remains the need to feed growing populations, particularly an expanding global middle class with the means to eat better. Saving forests, if it can be done, will require producing food much more intensively, on less land."

The most obvious solution to save forests is to no longer have a need for more land. In other words, the answer is to stop populations from growing in the first place rather than figure out a way to farm more intensively on less land. I've seen this again and again whenever future food shortages are mentioned. The one most glaring need (reducing the world's population) isn't even mentioned. It's a taboo subject. But it's taboo only because the answer isn't well known. The solution to overpopulation is something that should be done anyway: To give women human rights where they now don't have them. If more people knew about this solution, reducing the human population and stopping the seemingly inevitable population growth would stop being a taboo topic.

You can help. Whenever you get into conversations and future food shortages are mentioned (or pollution, or climate change, etc.) bring up women's rights. Whenever you read an article online, add your comment. Let more people know about the solution to overpopulation. Let's shatter the silence on this most vital topic.

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