In a world with an ever increasing population ways must be considered to maintain the current population and meet the demands of future population growth. The world population is estimated to hit 7 billion in the very near future. This is a startling contrast to the population of the 1800’s being estimated to be a paltry 1 billion. Increasing technology and over use of natural resources has led to a population boom. Many experts estimate that the world population will double again in 23 years. This increase in population only leads to an increase of disparity between the wealthy of developed countries to the rest of the developing world. The world not does have enough resources to sustain this kind of growth. That is why sustainable solutions must be researched and implemented not only to meet the needs of today but to avoid the catastrophes of tomorrow. I will explain three ways in which this can be accomplished and how each of them is being implemented today. They range from reducing consumption of meat, buying locally grown food, and finally taking steps at home to reduce waste.
First would like to point out what could have the largest positive impact on sustainability as well as increasing the overall health of the environment as well as the general population. That is the eating less food produced from animal sources. A large majority of corn, wheat and other agricultural is grown for the sole purpose of feeding livestock. The substantial amount of land use to rise to feed livestock cattle alone is extremely disheartening. The world produces about a 11 billion calories worth of food to which only 7 billion is needed to feed everyone on the planet. This is extremely inefficient considering that around 1.5 billion people are currently living on the brink of starvation. Moreover, Getting the meat from the animal to your refrigerator also consumes huge amounts of energy. Consider the steps: growing grain to feed livestock; operating feed mills, farms, and slaughterhouses; transporting feed and animals; hauling the meat to the grocer's; and finally keeping it refrigerated until it is eaten. All of this results in over 260 gallons of fuel being consumed to provide the yearly average meat consumption of an American family (Fox 2009). The world cannot sustain a lifestyle of high meat consumption given the emerging population crisis. The problem is even made worse by the fact that developing countries are growing a fondness for the western diet of a meat centered meal. The calories consumed by these animals in the form of livestock feed is in orders of magnitude bigger than the calories received from eating the meat. Yet animals utilize considerably more food calories than they produce in the form of meat. 70 percent of all the wheat, corn, and other grains produced in the U.S. are fed to farmed animals, only a fifth of which is actually converted into meat (WW 1998; Waggoner 1997). The meat industry has a whole can be seen as a extremely wasteful venture due to the materials and manpower needed to produce such comparably small amount of product. The impact of the environment alone makes even the most ardent meat industry supporters take some measurable pause when listening to some of the environmental damage caused by their industry. This can lead directly to my next point of buying locally to reduce carbon emissions.
Buying locally would have tremendous short and long term benefits. First, the benefit of introducing jobs and money into the local economy. In the current increasing globalization of production, and consumption, it is easy for locally generated income to leak out of the local economy. In essence the increased revenue in the local economy has a positive feedback effect of increasing local quality of life of those in the immediate area. The next improvement of buying locally is the decreased wasted associated with transporting products thousands of miles. This...
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