More generally, does everyone really need to subsist on broccoli and almonds to reduce agriculture's impact on the environment? Have farmers really exhausted all the possible environmentally friendly ways of growing existing crops?
Aren't scientists working on new ones even now? It has been years since Thomas Malthus wrote that " History suggests Malthus underestimated the ability of agricultural technology to keep pace with population growth.
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So, my final question is this: Could the authors of this report be repeating a variant of the Malthusian mistake? Aren't they underestimating future technological improvements that could enable farmers and ranchers to produce more food on the same amount of land with less environmental impact?
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When, a la Miles, experts start with the aim of catalyzing a radical food-system transformation, it isn't surprising that their reading of the research concludes that a radical food-system transformation is necessary. They may be right. But they have some questions to answer first. Urban Lehner can be reached at urbanize gmail. To comment, please Log In or Join our Community. Log in. Join our community. China: Taliban Envoys Discussed Peace. Farm Life. View Farm Life. View From the Cab. Columns Blogs. Connect with Urban:. All rights reserved.
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I Went On A Radical "Eat Sugar" Diet. Here's What Happened
Thanks, Mr. I saw that Economist article and was planning to do another blog on the subject of population estimates. But you've already written it for me! As you point out, the key long term is education of women and girls. Thomas Runholt. Population is no longer increasing geometrically and overwhelming our food supply. A quick perusal on Google shows the lifetime fertility rate for women worldwide now to be below 2.
Scientists call for radical change of diet to transform global food system
The Economist points to a recent anomaly in Africa where high birth rates are most worrisome. Even a grade school education for girls substantially reduces desired lifetime births in every society as well as outcomes for their children.
Primary education rates dropped for African girls born around leading to an increase in the barefoot and pregnant in the 90's and early 's. That education deficiency now appears to have reversed, and their children likely will be less fertile than their mothers and reproduce at a rate closer to world norms. Educated guesses by astute demographers now look to a peak world population of 9. Low birth rates are already changing the interface of the world's cultures and may be the defining issue of this century, much as astonishing population growth fueled what the world came to be in the 20th.
The "EAT" gurus, in my opinionprey to their own prejudiceswant to change our diets so drastically that most of us would like to see them isolated in straitjackets. We are omnivores and like meat, even if we know that moderation in consumption would be desirable. Another Economist article pegs grain conversion for chickens at 1. Also ruminant animals convert grass we can't eat into meat so it is dumb to say we can't eat beef. Our current breeds also are optimized for choice finish utilizing our abundant grain supply.
We now convert twice as much corn to ethanol, DDG's and corn sugar as we export, giving us about a 4bn bushel corn slush fund that could be fed directly or exported if needed.
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That cheap fructose sweetening unlimited soda popnot animal fat and proteinmay be the biggest contributor to obesity, increasing morbidity, and ill-health in our country. Regarding grain supplies to feed over-crowded countries with too-fast population growth: A rough rule of thumb is that lb of food grain per capita is enough for basic nutrition in places where meat is mostly un-affordable, and most protein needs are met by legumes. Here, we consume about a ton of grain per capita directly as flour and rice and indirectly as meat.
That number continues to go down as science is applied to animal agriculture. Also we get more efficient over time and concurrently can be more conservation minded with little effect on productivity. More foodstuffs can be diverted from the surplus in the developed world to food to food deficient areas. Certainly as important, parts of Africa and Pakistan where we see the most need for more food are among the least efficient of the world's areas in food production. There is a need for a Marshall Plan like effort in food deficit places for local food-centric as opposed to export crop oriented agricultural development.
I understand the latter part of the definition thorough and complete when it applies to diet, but what about the former part concerning the most basic and important parts of something? When it involves diet does it mean the three main meals?
The most common meaning of "radical" is extreme, calling for fundamental change. When the definition you quote talks about "the most basic and important parts of something", what they probably mean is CHANGING the most basic and important parts of something. He's not telling you to change the essentials, just the proportions. Or if he told you that you need to switch from chicken to turkey, again, the basic idea is the same, it's just the details that differ.
But if he said you need to give up the beef and chicken entirely and starting eating only rice and vegetables, this would be a "radical" change to your diet. You are changing it at a fundamental level, not just surface details. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question. Asked 5 years, 9 months ago. Active 5 years, 9 months ago.
Viewed times. This is the definition of radical from OALD: 1 concerning the most basic and important parts of something; thorough and complete radically altering one's diet.