Will we run out of food?

It's the year 2050.  Earth's population has just passed 9.5 billion and it's still climbing.  Africa's population has quadrupled, and global food demand is now twice what it was in 2014. 

Will there be enough food for everyone?

  Food for today, but what about tomorrow? (photo by William Laurance)

Food for today, but what about tomorrow? (photo by William Laurance)

As daunting as it sounds, that is the reality we'll soon be facing, according to demographers and food-security experts.  And it gets worse.

To feed our burgeoning populace, we'll need to turbocharge agriculture--transforming vast areas of relatively unproductive smallholder farms to bigger, more efficient, industrial-style farms.

But modern farms demand a great deal of energy, and energy prices will surely rise in future.  As energy prices go up, food prices will go up.

Worldwide, billions of people already devote much of their income to food.  What will happen if food prices rise sharply--perhaps doubling?

That's the focus of an essay by ALERT director Bill Laurance, which just appeared in Ensia Magazine

Entitled "Food + Energy = Crisis?", it asks tough questions about the future--and has two urgent implications for how we manage our world today.