When I first looked at the title of this article "Can we Feed the World and sustain the planet?" I was immediately intrigued. I was caught looking at the first page’s photo for a good couple of minutes. I wondered how this was going to relate to the article. The last sentence of the first paragraph struck a chord with me. “We will also have to produce twice as much to guarantee adequate supply worldwide. I am a natural worrier, so when I heard that we will not have enough food I started to panic. I found it interesting that we as a human kind are actually hurting natural by producing agriculture. I thought this was not going to end well if we need mass amounts of food, and we want the earth to be healthy. When Foley explained that we only 60 percent of the crops go to people, I was shocked. I found it ironic, that while we were lacking some crops we were giving the crops to animals for meat consumption; we were able to give up crops for a nice juicy steak. After reading the second page and beginning of the third I thought this planet was doomed. However then Foley explained that there were five solutions, and I thought thank god. I thought that some of the solutions might be able to happen, but others would take a while to adapt to. I think our meat consumption can be reduced and our waste. However closing the yield gap might be a little more challenging. I thought this article was very informative and taught me a lot about our agricultural society.
The article "Can we Feed the World and Sustain the Planet" was more interesting to me than the article by Michael Pollan. I have never really put much thought into the idea that the population of the world is growing so fast, and feeding the population along with sustaining the planet will actually become a crisis. The article states that by 2050, the demand for food will be doubled. That is a lot of food that needs to be provided, and determining ways to provide that food without damaging or threatening the planet is going to be a difficult task. And that's only 38 years from now. The advice the article gives is to stop expanding agriculture because that is not the solution. By expanding agriculture, ecosystems are being destroyed and the planet will not be sustained. Stress should be put on producing higher yields from existing farmlands. The trends indicate that lesser developed countries do not have as high of yields, so those countries need to increase their production yield so that that gap can be closed. Pollan's introduction proved to be quite interesting as well. He addresses that question of, where does our food really come from? And that is a scary topic. If you grow you're own food, you would know. But all of the food in the grocery store, we truly have no idea where it came from or how it was produced. The world needs to develop ways to provide mass quantities of food to provide for the world's population as well as generate quality food.
After reading both of these articles, I have realized the situation that is present in America and the world that has been here all along. In Michael Pollen's Introduction, he introduces the fact that our eating habits in America are growing very unhealthy. Our food has become industrialized to a great extent in America, and we have no old cultural traditions to look back and rely upon. We eat what the people who have influence over us say that we should eat. It is a pretty gross and disturbing fact when you think about it. Our food industry needs to be radically shifted. The main focus of companies should not be profit for themselves, but health for their customers. Like proven in Jonathan Foley's article, our population is going to continue to keep growing, and therefore we need a steady supply of food to feed everyone. We need to create solutions that will be helpful to our well-being, as well as to the well-being of our planet, and everything else that lives here. We can produce enough food to feed everyone on Earth, yet there are still people that are hungary every day. An ideological shift needs to occur in the food industry, as well as every where else, where our intentions reach towards humanity as a whole.
The Feed and Sustain Article really alarmed me about the building problem surfacing in our world and how little the general public knows about it. We all know the population is going to double or even triple in years to come and we all know that means more food and our simple answer to that is just make more. However, this article points out that answer doesn’t work and is a lot more complicated then it seems. In my animals and society class we continue to talk about food and production and by supplementing non-harmful genetic modified animals and plants that we can produce more for less impact on the environment and in our wallets. I believe there are little things we can do like the article said that would dramatically help our problem: lowering consumption of meat or not wasting so much food in restaurants or other businesses. We need food and we need shelter and we need to find a way with 9 billion people to efficiently have both. However, I feel like this article is lacking prospective of the farmers who really know the new advances and the problems about raising animals and growing crops because it isn’t an easy thing to do. There are ways to further enhance our food productivity and erase our carbon footprint. However, the trick is to change society and help take down standards of all natural, never been touched farming because soon that wont be possible when the daunting task of 9 million people are hungry and expected to be fed. We all fear the question where does our food come from and it is very scary question. However, I feel this can be fixed with communication on the farmers side to the consumers about what exactly is in our food and what are these hormones that are being injected in my meat. A lot of these scary conceptions we have can be put to rest when we realize the facts that many of theses new terms aren't as harmful as we originally thought or maybe we can discover there are some practices that are harmful that are being unnoticed. -Liz
After reading "Introduction" [The Omnivore's Dilemma] by Michael Pollan and "Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?" by Jonathan Foley I was quite intrigued by some of the points made in these pieces. I have always had a strong interest in diet and nutrition so Michael Pollan’s piece created a stronger reaction for me personally. In the reading he makes the point that we as omnivores really do have the option to eat pretty much whatever we please, but we must make the choice of whether we should or not. This is a decision that plagues almost all of us I’m sure, but I feel as if the uncertainty is not so much the individuals fault as much as the supplier. Many people do not fully understand what certain foods will do to our body, or have a misconceived notion of what it actually will do. Much of what is out there today about food is created for marketing purpose, not for informational or beneficial health purposes like some would suspect. By doing a little research and being cautious, many people would be able to clean up their diet quite easily, making the choice of what to eat not quite as complex. This directly relates to what Jonathan Foley mentioned early in his piece of the limited resources available to eat. Some of the best food choices and most nutritionally beneficial foods are a shrinking commodity in comparison to the vast array of poor food choices with minimal nutritional value. Although some of his predictions I believe are a bit far-fetched, Foley has a very good point in the fact that a lot of the farmed goods (also known as healthy foods) are going to have to be produced on a much larger scale in the future, especially if American diets can manage to improve. Derek
In Pollan’s article I liked how he addressed the fact that as humans, we face the daily options of what we would like to eat. This can be a struggle for many Americans who are faced with healthy and unhealthy choices. I enjoyed Pollan’s article on diet and nutrition, however I had a stronger reaction to Foley’s article on the future of our civilization. This article was an eye opener for me to read. I had no idea that agriculture has disrupted ecosystems in the world more than anything else. If the global demand is in fact going to double within the next 40 years then we, as a civilization, have little time to waste. Food is a necessity for all human beings to survive and if there is going to be too little of a supply; it makes me concerned about my future. I agree with this article’s five step plan to prevent the world from running out of food, however, it is unrealistic that everyone in this world is going to implicate this plan into their everyday lives. Not eating meat and not increasing farm land is possible, but highly unlikely considering the rate at which our society is constantly expanding. I think that the best thing to do right now is to get this message out to the general public and have governments pass laws enacting these practices so that people will be forced to listen. This is our future and the fate of our civilization at risk. Jenna
While I was reading the article “Can We Feed the World,” all I was thinking about was how many people could this world really feed if we had to set a maximum and what would happen if we exceeded it? I kept thinking that instead of coming up with a plan to create more food, that we should stop the population growth. I feel that it would be more beneficial to the world if we did this because if our population does rise to what they expect, we would have more problems than just supplying people with food. We would have shortages in everything along with food. Instead of spending all this energy researching ways to feed the projected population, they should have spent it on figuring out how to decrease the projected population. That is my two cents on that subject. The other article “Our National Eating Disorder” is more interesting to me because my mom just started a low carb diet and actually bought some of the books that this article talks about in the second paragraph. The high protein, low carb diet is the diet that my family is on right now. My mom has lost about 40 pounds and my father has lost roughly 35 pounds even though he did not have much to lose. So everything that this article talks about is basically what I have been living with and learning about due to my mom starting her new diet. At the end of this article on page six, it talks about the exact diet that my family is on right now and it is the neo-Paleolithic diet which is basically you only eat what you can hunt, gather, or grow yourself. This is also very healthy for your body and I believe that everyone should go on some sort of diet just so you can keep your body as healthy as possible. ---Nick
After reading the article "Can We Feed the World" I got a sense that humanity as a whole might be in for a bumpy ride in the future. Looking ahead and knowing that our overall population is expected to get to be around 10 or 11 billion is daunting. There are a lot of problems that come with that number. I think, as said in the article, that food and land will be the biggest problem. I am fearful that down the rode there will be enough strife and hunger that wars will break out. That is unless all citizens of earth act now. Reading the five point plan that was laid out by Foley's team, I got a sense that this would simply not be enough. I believe in addition to being more efficient with the creation, use, and waste of our food, we need to find a way to keep the human population from booming out of control. It is just like an infestation in an ecosystem. If given enough time, the infestation will most likely kill the ecosystem, devastating the other inhabitants. That is why I believe along with focusing on the efficiency of agriculture, we must also focus on keeping the human population down. I have no clue how we would do this, or rather I do not want to think of the ways to do this as it seems too sinister an idea. Hopefully in time humanity will be able to band together to figure this conundrum out. -Tate
Foley's article, "Can we feed the world and sustain the planet?", was very intriguing. I first want to say that the picture of the apple carved to look like the world was very impressive. I wish I was talented enough to think of something like that. Anyway... the article definitely opened up my eyes to what is actually going on in the world. I knew to some degree that there are many countries in the world who don't have the resources to attain the food and nutrition they need. However, this thought doesn't cross my mind every day because I have the luxury to grab food whenever I am hungry. Food is something I definitely take for granted nor do I think about where the food is exactly coming from and what it is doing to the agriculture. In Foley's, article he said there are three problems we need to solve all together: end hunger, double food production by 2050, while reducing the damage to our agriculture environments. That right there is mind-boggling. How are we supposed to do that? Our world is huge and to get everyone on the same page to tackle something that big would take a tremendous about of work and dedication. Yes, if we are able to conquer world hunger and make our environment cleaner and better at the same time. Man I would say we definitely made a miracle happen. Foley did explain the five step plan in order to achieve this. However, it would take time to get everyone on board, to portray the message of what we are trying to do as a community, and to make it happen. I don't want to say it is impossible. I just think it would take a lot of hard work and a long time to conquer a issue this big. It just scares me to think that in less than 40 years, there won't be enough food to feed the whole world. - Sarah
Pollan’s article titled The Omnivore’s Diet talks about how the real question we ask ourselves is not “What can we eat?” but “What should we eat?”. This question drives us insane. We spend so much time worrying about what is healthy and what isn’t. What will keep us skinny and what will distort our figure. What will affect our health in a negative or positive way. And then when we finally go to the supermarket and decided on something to buy, we have to decide if we should buy the conventional kind or the organic kind, or if we should buy the whole wheat bread or the white bread. These questions eat us alive, to the point where we actually stress out about it. Eating sounds like such a simple task, but figuring out what exactly it is we should eat is the tough part. After reading the other article by Foley I was actually a bit concerned. Obviously overpopulation is an issue all around the world, and it is something that is very prominent in our own country even. It was much more intriguing than the first article, and it brought up points that I have never really thought about before. Points such as: we should not expand our agriculture because that will just further destroy our ecosystem and leave us with even less food to feed the increasing number of people. Instead of expanding agriculture, we need to produce more from current farms that already exist. - Kayla
While reading “Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?” by Jonathan Foley I couldn’t help making connections with my economics class and feel like we will be able to feed our planet. Foley mentioned that many of the land used for farming today is not as efficient as it could be. This is an issue because world demand would rise higher than the world supply which is not efficient. Economics would call those small inefficient farms an economic opportunity for large farms with the money and technology to make them efficient. Because of this the farms would be bought out and made more efficient thus bringing up the supply of food. This is good for the environment too because large businesses are in the public spotlight so much that they need to be eco friendly in order to keep a safe image for the public. As for the issue of meat not being as efficient as crops economics had another solution. With world demand of meat going up and the supply staying the same the price would drive up making less people buy meat because they cannot afford it. My inner economist and the five step plan laid out in the article made me very confident in our ability to increase the production, and help the environment. The article “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” didn’t spike much interest for me because of the little knowledge I have of nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is basically the study of the effects food have on gene expression. Scientific data shows that gene expression is different in everyone for the types of food they eat; this explains why the Atkins diet may work for some but not for others. Because of it being unrealistic for everyone to know their specific gene expressions involving different foods I have always followed my mom’s dietary advice of everything in moderation. It’s too hard to know what effects one food will have on me so a little bit of all of them will help. Another important bit of information when deciding what to eat is that the body does not really need any fats, or sugars so these can be pretty much avoided. So for me when looking for food the question is not what to eat but what haven’t I eaten? -Justin
While reading "Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet" many things were running through my head. Is it really true that by 2050 we will not have enough food to even be close to feed everyone? Will poverty overwhelm all parts of the world and not just some? Will everyone have to start growing their own food? Even though these questions ran through my mind, Foley made good points that could improve our production of food. For instance he says that our farmland is not being used as efficiently as it could be. So if we figured out a way to maximize use of our farmland we can produce more food for humans. Also, Foley talks about how if we try and make more farmland it could actually further destroy our ecosystem so we need to make use of what we already have. On the other hand, in Pollan's article he talks about what kind of food we eat, where it comes from, and how we view foods. He talks about how we look at food and immediately think how it will make us skinny or fat or change our figure or look. I find this so interesting because it is so true. People are so obsessed with calories and fat and everything in the food rather than enjoying it or finding out where it comes from. Restaurant chains even have to put calories on their menu's these days. Pollan makes a good point also when he says when we go to the grocery store and buy our food, we do not know where it comes from of what is put into it. I feel like that is more important then whether it will make you fat or not. -sydney
While reading "Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?” by Jonathan Foley, I kept feeling very defensive about him blaming agriculture for the world's environmental problems. I appreciated that he acknowledged that agricultural practices have become more sustainable over the last few decades. I did not agree with the idea that people in agriculture don't know what they are doing to the environment. I feel as if most farmers and people involved with agriculture care an incredible amount about what they are doing to the land. I don't think that it is fair either to bundle all of agriculture together as a problem. I understand that we need to preserve the planet's rain forests and savannas, but those issues do not pertain to most people on a local level. Besides my being defensive, I do agree with some of the points that Foley made. It is important that we think about what resources we are really using every time we preform a simple task, like throwing away the extra food on our plates just because we aren't hungry right now. He says that we need to shift our diets away from meat. I agree with the shifting, but not so much in a way that meat is completely cut out of our eating completely. It's hard for me to really have a good opinion about world hunger and the issues we are facing because I have never really seen the issues first hand. I have always been on the producing side of the food chain where I never really see what kind of an impact the food we make has on society. I have seen pictures at school and church and I have heard all kinds of stories, but I don't feel as if I have a good enough grasp on it as I would if I saw it first hand or if it was happening to me. I agree with Foley that there is no one step miracle program that we can follow to save the planet. It will take a lot more than just recycling or turning off the lights when your leave a room. It is going to take a total change in the way we go about wanting to help people and the environment.
With "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, I found his take on our diets very interesting. He portrayed the idea that we have chosen the exact lifestyle that we want to have over time. The complexity of our brains has been influenced greatly by the way that we eat. Evolution has taught us what we like and what can kill us. But we haven't quite evolved enough to realize subconsciously that all the extra sugars and fats that we eat are also causing us death in over a longer period of time. Other animals only eat what they need to survive, yet the human race will eat practically anything that they can get their hands on. After considering how much our eating habits have changed over the centuries and since the start of humanity, I wonder about how our diets will be changing in the future and what the main concerns will be.
These two articles were really interesting to me, seeing how the earth and agriculture don't mesh well together and we are putting ourselves in a bind. After reading the Sustainability article by Jonathan Foley, I was shocked by how we not only have a hunger issue, but how it coincides with our population bursts and collectively chisels at the environment; it was very daunting to read about the trifecta of issues that would be extremely difficult to solve without making another worse. I did not know that agriculture took up so much of the arable land and how it heavily impacted the environment, in a negative manner.
Then reading about "The Omnivores Dilemma" by Michael Pollan had me thinking very differently about diets and why we struggle so much nutritionally. I loved learning how, as omnivores, we have the privilege of variety but how that also causes us anxiety when it comes to testing our foods, and how supermarkets are the epitome of stress because we have not tested the foods personally; we rely on the store to know it is safe and that we can eat the plethora of foods they provide, when in reality, we really shouldn't eat all the foods provided. Also, it was interesting how Pollan staged the idea that diets don't necessarily work, not only because of lack of scientific information, but also because our bodies differ by culture and we as Americans don't have a specific 'food culture' if you will. Our bodies haven't learned how to break down anything in particular. Or at least that what's I concluded while reading about the French Paradox.
I enjoyed both readings thoroughly and liked the alternative point of view both Pollan and Foley took while tackling the issues of nutrition and world hunger issues. Both were perspectives that I had not considered before.
I found these articles interesting as they presented concern for the health of humans and the environment, however some of there arguments and proposals were just as flawed as the current food production system they were trying to criticize. One of the prominent arguments of the "Can we feed the world and sustain the planet" article was that agriculture is using a large proportion of the earths land and is threatening the health of tropical ecosystems. I think we can all agree that we should work to save the rain forests and other ecosystems however he goes on to say that we should switch from a grain fed livestock based system to a pasture based, grass fed system. The problem with these two arguments is that pasture based systems require more land area than conventional livestock production systems. Some other areas that this article covered I believe are very important especially as we move into the future, especially in terms of the efficiency food distribution and consumption. 1/3 of the energy involved in the food production industry is consumed in the home and end users, so if we can reduce waste in this area that world make the system much more sustainable. The graph that showed the importance of shrinking environmental impact, increasing production of food, and access to food did a good job of showing the huge task facing agriculture in the coming years.
The Omnivore's Dilemma presents one side of the argument as to wether people should eat meat and animal products. Some people feel that we shouldn't eat meat because in much of human history we ate much less meat than we do today. I feel that it is everyone's personal choice as to what animal products they choose to eat and if they don't feel they want to consume animal products that is there choice, however just as it is there choice not to eat meat and meat consumers do not promote policies to hinder vegetarian like diets, they should give other people the freedom to consume whatever animal products they please without placing unnecessary burdens on them.
After reading and taking some time to absorb all the material presented in the readings I still am filled to the brim with feelings of astonishment in regards to the growing problem of the food crisis and the tangible possibility of us running out of meat. I believe that the most feasible solution is to make a national awareness movement to make the severity of the situation apparent to the population so we can make a conscience effort to reduce our consumption to preserve the resources that were gifted to us. While we are to overcome and subdue the earth and the resources given to us, we are still to be responsible stewards of the resources available, and preserve them for the generations to come instead of insensibly consuming everything that we want on a whim to gain instantaneous personal pleasure. Instead we need to be aware of what we are doing and the ramifications of our actions to foresee how we may produce a more thriving future for our descendants. Braden
As I read these two articles, I began to realize how complex food and eating can be. The Omnivore’s Dilemma made me think about what we can and should eat while Can We Feed the World made me think more about what we will be able to eat in the future if current trends continue. I really enjoyed the Omnivore’s Dilemma because it did actually make me question why I eat the things I eat. The example about trying to decide what we should pick in a large supermarket really resonated with me. I just think the selection and variety of foods we have now is almost absurd and it’s hard to know what is good for you and what isn’t. Can We Feed the World left me with a really unsettling feeling. The idea of the world effectively running short on food and running out of agricultural lands sends a chill down my spine, especially due to the absolutely massive amount of food seemingly available now. I have never known what it is like to walk into a grocery store with barren shelves and I would prefer not to. Hopefully we can adapt the author’s or other similar principles that will allow us to solve the food problem. Ryan
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on November 1, 2012 2:55 PM.
October 16th class: Earth Art: Buster Simpson, Christy Rupp, Vaughn Bell, Richard Long, Brightwater Treatment System was the previous entry in this blog.
"Choices" - David Nye is the next entry in this blog.
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