Everyone accepts that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability …
So says Ian Roberts, lead researcher of a paper on obesity that finds that the biomass equivalent of obesity is equivalent to 242 million people of average size.
Well, Professor Roberts, I don’t accept that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability. You might find agreement from Thomas Robert Malthus, Sir William Crookes and Paul Ehrlich among others, but the greatest threat to environmental sustainability is almost certainly the green movement which wants to divorce food production and distribution from the market.
As Matt Ridley in The Rational Optimist writes, in 2004 a hectare of farming land fed about 8 people, or about 1250 square metres per person, down from 4000 square metres in the 1950s. Ridley estimates (conservatively) that today’s technology implies only 100 square metres of farming land per person.
Now greenies (and trendy rich inner city people) like to enjoy organic farming, eschew GMO and food with preservatives and hate herbicides. They like to divert crops to the production of so-called bio-fuels.
But each of these damages the environment and reduces the quantity of food that can be produced.
There is no doubt that the world can feed a considerably higher population than it presently has, and beyond what it is projected to reach (peaking in 2050 at about 9 billion according to the likely scenarios by the United Nations (only the United Nations could be so prone to hubris to publish population projections to the year 2300!).
Governments are responsible for people starving. Through corruption and mismanagement they prevent the free market distributing food to those that need it. Through misinformation about GMO, herbicides, preservatives and bio-fuel, we increase the cost of food. Conflicts and corruption increase the cost of food distribution.
GMOs increase the productivity of food production – less land is required to produce a given quantity of food. Herbicides reduce the need to plough land by killing weeds and thus also increasing the productivity of food production. This reduces soil erosion, silt run-off and the killing of small animals during ploughing. Preservatives significantly reduce the waste of food. Bio-fuels take fertile land away from the efficient production of food to produce inefficient and costly fuels which are available elsewhere. By reducing the land required for farming, much more land is available for other purposes, including forests and wilderness. Yet environmentalists campaign actively against any proposals to extend the use of GMOs, herbicides and preservatives.
The greens are not only the enemy of humans, but the enemy of the environment.