Unsustainable food production | The Jackal

1 Dec 2011

Unsustainable food production

David Attenborough says people have lost all touch with the natural world:

In an interview with Eureka magazine, published by The Times, he said: “We have a huge moral responsibility towards the rest of the planet. 
“A hundred years ago people certainly had that, they were aware of the seasons and aware of what they were doing to the land and animals around them.” 
Sir David, whose Frozen Planet series ends on the BBC next week, said UN figures showed that due to rapid urbanisation since the 1950s, more than 50% of the world's population now live in towns and cities. 

To grow and move produce takes a huge amount of energy and resources. When the energy runs out or becomes too expensive, the world could face mass starvation even in developed countries. The only way to combat this is to reduce urban intensification and develop more local produce.

However self-reliance goes against the grain of the capitalist system, which relies on people being dependent on industrial food production. This is an unsustainable way to meet the growing demand for food, with the resources required becoming scarce.
  • 10 energy units are spent for every energy unit of food on our dinner table
  • 1,000 energy units are used for every energy unit of processed food
  • 1,000 tonnes of water are consumed to produce one tonne of grain
  • 12.5 energy units are wasted for every energy unit of food transported per thousand air miles
  • 20% of all greenhouse gases in the world come from current agriculture

Unfortunately we're seeing very little impetus to change the current status quo.