Worldwide Famine

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  • #51
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We could always eat our own dead. They're dead anyway, right? Then again, in the places where hunger is a major problem, the dead are malnourished, without any good meat on them. There goes that plan.

Or a more humane thing to do is use them as furtilizer. Techniquely, our bodies will be recycled anyways, so why fight it? Although, it probably won't be as efficient.
 
  • #52
Entropy said:
It isn't that we need to grow more, it's the allocation of crops. We could currently feed the entire world and have food to spare, but the people who need it most usually don't get it. Example, you give food to third world countries and they sell it to someone else because they're greedy instead of distrubting it to the starving.
A recent example of this absurdity was during the relief sent after the recent Tsunami.

Governments in the area started taxing relief materials and trucks coming into the area.

Entropy said:
Also lots of farmland is reserved for unnecessary crops such as tobacco. Most of the farmland in North Korea is used to grow drugs because in the short-run it's more profitable than growing food.
When you talk about things like this I am reminded of parts of Southern Ontario. A lot of tobacco was grown there and it provided a steady income for the farmers. HOWEVER, when the taxation, the health scares and all the rest were put into place and demand fell, the tobacco farmers were the ones effected the most.

They had had these farms literally for generations and unfortunately the soil used for tobacco doesn't support much else as a cash crop.

There was quite a spate of suicides and bankruptcies in the area. (This is the area where the book Of Mice and Men took place.)
 
  • #53
russ_watters
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MaxS said:
However, the Earth's human population is also growing exponentially. In fact it is growing faster than the rate of available consumables.

1978 was the year the two rates crossed. Before that point, we had the ability (but did not do so) to distribute equally among all of earth's population enough food so that no one would have to die of starvation. Since that date however, Earth's population has eclipsed our ability to grow crops (including farm animals).
Could you clarify that and cite your source, please? I think you may have misunderstood the information you are citing. While the rate of increase of population might be higher than the rate of increase of the food supply, that does not necessarily imply a shortage of food.
 
  • #54
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They had had these farms literally for generations and unfortunately the soil used for tobacco doesn't support much else as a cash crop.

I'm sure they can grow something more useful than tabacco, but I'm not saying there is something that can be grow just as well or as profitable as tabacco. All I'm saying is that corruption and greed is the cause of world hunger, not an inablity for the Earth to grow sufficient amounts of food.
 
  • #55
Entropy said:
I'm sure they can grow something more useful than tabacco, but I'm not saying there is something that can be grow just as well or as profitable as tabacco. All I'm saying is corruption and greed is the cause of world hunger, not an inablity for the Earth to grow sufficient amounts of food.
Well, it is possible to alter the soil over time ... The Nile Valley is characteristic of this but it takes massive engineering schemes and possibly the routes of rivers.

Southern Ontario for example is divided by the Niagra Escarpment.

Geologically speaking, this used to be an ancient ocean shelf. When this was thrust up out of the ancient oceans, the fertile soils were washed or eroded to the Niagra on the Lake area below the Falls.

The earth below the escarpment is characteristically black, rich, fertile earth.

The land above the escarpment is sand and clay.

Below the escarpment is filled with orchards, vegetable farms and the like.

Above, is primarily tobacco.

Man can't just decide to produce crops in an area. If we could, the sahara would be a nice big, lush forest. :smile:

It is possible to recover Deserts as was done in Southern California but you end up with other problems such as the creation of 'salt marshes' due to mineral leaching.

The proper way to do it is by adding dessert grasses and over generations add more complex foliage to build up a layer of organics which becomes soil.

It is so easy for man to destroy these environments but incredibly complex to recover them. Beiging has the problem of particulate pollutants blowing in from the western deserts in China. Why? Because they cut down the forests. The prognosis for recovery ... GRIM.
 
  • #56
loseyourname said:
We could always eat our own dead. They're dead anyway, right? Then again, in the places where hunger is a major problem, the dead are malnourished, without any good meat on them. There goes that plan.
Prion Disease anyone?
 
  • #57
vanesch
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loseyourname said:
We could always eat our own dead. They're dead anyway, right?

Sure, I don't want to have anything that is still moving in my dish !

Then again, in the places where hunger is a major problem, the dead are malnourished, without any good meat on them. There goes that plan.

Damn.
 
  • #58
Skyhunter
TheStatutoryApe said:
Prion Disease anyone?
Another good argument for a plant based diet.
 
  • #59
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Entropy said:
I'm sure they can grow something more useful than tabacco, but I'm not saying there is something that can be grow just as well or as profitable as tabacco. All I'm saying is that corruption and greed is the cause of world hunger, not an inablity for the Earth to grow sufficient amounts of food.

I do not think I could have said it any better.
 
  • #60
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Famines often occur in dry environments. They are much rarer in cold temperate climates where food is abundant. Reducing population while increasing production, improving food distribution and making trade fairer will end hunger. Some places are more prone to droughts than others.
 
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  • #61
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The Smoking Man said:
When you talk about things like this I am reminded of parts of Southern Ontario. A lot of tobacco was grown there and it provided a steady income for the farmers. HOWEVER, when the taxation, the health scares and all the rest were put into place and demand fell, the tobacco farmers were the ones effected the most.

I know one tobacco farmer out near Cambridge, ON. I recall him telling me that he doesn't grow tobacco year after year in the same fields, as the soil can't sustain it. He had to rotate crops, although I can't remember now what else he grew. I did however see enough tobacco to keep a dedicated smoker satisfied for the rest of his life.

Incidentally, the majority of his tobacco was going to be sold to China.
 
  • #62
EnumaElish
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MaxS said:
1978 was the year the two rates crossed. Before that point, we had the ability (but did not do so) to distribute equally among all of earth's population enough food so that no one would have to die of starvation. Since that date however, Earth's population has eclipsed our ability to grow crops (including farm animals). What this means is that even if we tried to distribute enough food for everyone to eat, many people would still have to starve to death because there just isn't enough to go around.
I would like to see the basis for this conclusion. Where is this coming from, a book? The web? What are your references?

GM crops weren't even around in 1978. GM foods are controversial, but you cannot say that the picture you have presented is accurate to the extent that it does not take GM crops into account, one way or another. (That's just one example.)
 
  • #63
EnumaElish
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vanesch said:
There is a very natural solution to the problem of reduced living standards (let alone famin) reaching highly develloped democracies: they go to war ! Democracies cannot stand lowering living standards, it makes them elect fascist rulers, who blame the "others" for all the misery.
Now, war is the "market response" to famine, and would regulate the problem ; the problem now is that with all the sophisticated armament around, the problem might be regulated once and for all!
There are examples to what you have posted. There are counterexamples as well. For example, after the fall of the Soviet system the living standards fell (and income distribution probably worsened) but Russia didn't go to war.
 

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