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The idea of feeding a population of 9 billion by the year 2050 is daunting. Consider the United Nations’ estimate that 1 billion people in the world today are hungry. The average number of malnourished people worldwide between 1990and 2006 is 850 million with the high point of 1.023 billion hungry people, reached in the 2008 crises. Before we can determine if we can feed 9 billion people in 2050, is it not a better question to ask: “Have we met the needs of our current population?” Increases in population growth, higher food prices due to increased demand, and rising poverty levels both in the US and internationally are all obstacles that need to be controlled.
To begin with, strategies mentioned in “The Future of Food” need to be put to use, in order to overcome the challenges we face in meeting the growing demand for food.
Elizabeth Dickinson states, “the world is always on the verge of a food crisis” (144).
The population in this world is growing larger and larger everyday, so imagine how much food production would need to increase to feed 9 billion people by 2050.
For example, in Elizabeth Dickinson’s info graphic essay, the largest number of respondents voted that the world would need to increase its food production by 70 percent. That is an enormous percentage because we would need to start increasing the production from now, so by the time 2050 comes around we will have increased by 70 percent. If we delay the process of starting to increase the food production then we will probably still won’t be able to feed the whole world in the future.
As the population grows, increased demand will lead to higher food prices. For example, at any time demand for a commodity rises, prices generally surge. On the other hand, at any time demand for a commodity goes down, prices decrease. The cycle works the same with supply. An increase in supply on constant demand will cause a decrease in prices while decreasing demand will cause an increase in prices. In other words, if there is too much of the same supply but little demand then the price will go down, rather than having too much of the same supply with very high demand, prices will go up.
People often ask, “What’s going on in the world today that is causing this food production problem to happen?” The answer remains, the population growth. A few examples of what has caused food prices to rise so high are: China and India have the largest and quickest growing populations generating demand for food from around the globe, so impact on prices has been raising demand from these countries, the Japanese tsunami and earthquake drove up seafood prices by 6%, and vegetable prices rose 50% month due to crop damage in Australia, Russia, and South America.
If these prices keep rising we will not be able to feed the whole world and we will still have hungry people in poor countries. Elizabeth Dickinson states, “Poverty is the main problem. Even when food is abundant, many go hungry because of the lack of income to purchase food” (146). To cut down the global hunger rate, ten respondents voted that the international community should promote broader economic growth. In other words, we should produce a wider and vigorous quantity of growth. Strategies we can use to face all these challenges are genetic engineering, stress-resistant breeding, and the use of ecosystems in farming.
The Green Revolution, which did not bypass Africa, is another problem facing food production. Elizabeth Dickinson proclaimed, “It failed because expensive hybrid seeds and fertilizers quickly degraded soils and impoverished small farmers” (147). This Green Revolution was ineffective. The use of fertilizer increased significantly, while per capita agriculture decreased dramatically. Yield continued to stay stationary in throughout Africa in the main crops such as maize, rice, wheat, etc.
The green Revolutions impact on farming and food production has caused virulent disputes. Some people argue that it has saved many lives by enlarging agricultural productivity, while others argue that it ha made a catastrophic impact on small farmers. It has also effected the environments by “generating a massive global market for seed, pesticide, and fertilizer corporations” (GRAIN). Experiments studied in the past have came to the conclusion by stating, “a main reason for the inefficiency of Africa’s agriculture is that the crops on the great majority of small farms are not the high-yielding varieties in common use on the other continents” (GRAIN).
Lastly, in “What Do We Deserve?” all of the different models of economic justice relate to “The Future of Food” by Elizabeth Dickinson. The first model is the libertarian model. This model is about the inequality of people and how different races, classes, genders, and people with different sexuality preferences don’t have the same opportunities and don’t start out their lives the same. For example, people of different classes either grow up rich, middle class, or poor. Arora states, “So while the racetrack may look nice and shiny, the runners don’t begin at the same staring point” (87). The second model is the meritocratic model.
This model is about how some people are already born with talents and attributes while others don’t have that advantage. Those who do not have those advantages have to work hard to earn their wins. For example, society does not give as much praise to a person who isn’t born with a talent or attribute than they do to those who already have it in them. Arora expresses, “Are their wins not as arbitrary from a moral standpoint as the wins of those born with silver spoons in their mouths?” (88). The third model is the egalitarian model.
This model talks about how if the people who are born with natural gifts don’t work for their success but still get rewarded, they should share their rewards with the public who do work to earn rewards. For example, if someone is born wealthy because of the family they come from, then they should be considerate to others and share what they have instead of being greedy. They did not work hard to earn the wealth. It was just handed to them very easily. Arora proclaims, “We should certainly encourage people to hone and exercise their aptitudes, but we should be clear that they do not morally deserve the rewards their aptitudes earn from the market” (88).
All of these models relate to “The Future of Food” in very similar ways. It shows that not all people can afford the increasing prices of food, which causes world hunger. The ones born with attributes that make their life easier would be able to gain fame and fortune and wont have to worry about going hungry. Also they have things a lot easier than others. People don’t deserve anything unless they have earned it. It is not fair to those who are trying hard to succeed but fail and get no credit at all.
Those trying to succeed are trying to provide for themselves in order to afford the food while prices are getting higher and higher. To sum it up, food production in the future will be a very big challenge we will have to face, but all obstacles can be overcome if we set our minds to it. I believe that if we all work together on the strategies talked about earlier, we can achieve feeding all nine billion people in this world, including all the starving people in the countries that suffer from poverty. Also with all the types of models of economic justice, society need to be fair with the right ways on rewarding people from either different classes or with different advantages.
In the passed couple of decades, the foods we deem to be natural or of the Earth are instead Genetically Engineered. The term Genetically Engineered does not mean that the entire vegetable or food is fake but rather means that there is at least one genetically modified ingredient in the food that is sold all over stores, which raises a great health concern for many people. In the feature production of the documentary known as The Future of Food looks at how modern day technology has changed the food we consume and the effects it can have on our health.
In watching this film about all the advancements that science has come to in the world with the food being eaten everyday, both the positive and negative effects of all those technological changes, its only right to think of the countries that barely have enough food in general or the people who are losing their livelihoods because of the advancements created by science in first world countries.
A first world country like the United States has not only a great amount but also lots of variety of nutrition; however, even this is still not enough to “satisfy” such a wealthy nation because steps are still being taken to continue to “improve” nature. Projects were done that helped produce corn in all kinds of different colors and creating bigger than normal sized strawberries. A question seems to arise, is all this technological advancement necessary?
Are we as a society taking unnecessary measures to “fix” something that is natural and worked since the beginning of time? In the medical world, many health problems have been examined where food and nutrition were identified as partial contributors to the problem. This film helped in explaining how enzymes are used to knick corn DNA and how foreign DNA was then presented into the corn cell walls. Consuming the genetically modified corn caused allergic reactions and stirred a health concern about labeling genetically modified foods.
In my particular opinion it should be the people’s right to know whether the food they’re ingesting has been altered genetically or tempered with from its natural state. Nevertheless, this does not belittle the question as to why it is necessity to alter the food in the first place. In order to formulate a ground based opinion I need to weigh the positives and negatives. Natural food always has the benefit of being “natural,” however, genetically engineered foods sometimes has the advantages of looking more appealing, tasting better and/or having a longer lasting flavor.
I have experienced this first hand I have grown a distaste to certain organic foods simply because they just didn’t taste nearly as good as those that are genetically engineered even though the organic foods were supposed to be fresher and of course natural. This certain taste for food could just be that I got too used to the taste of all the preservatives that go into foods. It’s interesting how I got used to chemically preserved foods and genetically engineered tastes that overtime became the good tasting ones while the healthier ones were rejected by my taste buds.
Another benefit is that genetically engineered foods end up being cheaper because they have a greater resistance to environmental conditions that would normally spoil the unaltered form and are also made in quantities not given the same attention organic foods are given to be fresh and ripe. Being that they are made in greater quantity, they are available for more people for cheaper prices, becoming the food of choice. The question would be, are the quantities made and the decrease in prices good enough to outweigh the negative effects of genetically engineered food?
Another point and question would be why do many countries still remain unfed and continue searching for methods to feed their fast growing populations if these genetically engineered foods are produced in such a surplus manner? Keeping the advantages of genetically engineered foods in mind, there are definitely several noteworthy disadvantages too. An advantage was the surplus of food, however, how is it a benefit if such foods are harming the body?
Some would agree that it is better to feed and raise a healthy smaller sized population with natural, unaltered forms of food than to infect a large population and have them suffer from the repercussion caused by the food they had consumed. Also, most people that are not keeping up with this field of work do not know that there are these bodies that have consumed the modified foods for such prolonged time periods and have overtime probably developed immunity to the side effects the modifications can have. In these genetically engineered foods the DNA is altered, and just as changes in human DNA lead to disorders, consumption of foods with altered DNA may have the same fatal effects.
Certain genetic modifications can even go as far as cause cancers and brain and organ damage. A huge disadvantage that most people do not notice, especially those who live in urban areas, is that due to the production of the genetically altered foods a lot of farmers have been put out of jobs. These farmers are not needed as much anymore because more crops can be made for cheaper and therefore they no longer make as much money on each crop they plant and sow as they once did, as was shown in Central American countries.
Now days, while technology could be helping the economy by decreasing the price of foods for people, it is also harming people who depended on the unaltered food to bring them income. The U. S. economy and industry is choosing quantity over quality, which is not beneficial to our health but instead just our wallets. I believe that its not fair for people not to know what is in their foods and usually people don’t seek food that can hurt them, therefore, it was crucial that the “Genetically Engineered Right to Know” act get passed.
It would allow people to know what they are consuming from the labels on the foods and therefore prevented conditions that could’ve risen from individuals allergic to a modified substance. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration is supposed to be on top of the foods produced and their effects. Nevertheless, it seems that genetically modified foods don’t cause enough of a significant threat in order for them to take action and stop the advancement, rather than promote it and seek ways to improve it.
What would bring this matter to a flashing red alert? Though I admitted that genetically altered food does taste better, I still do not agree with the fact that I am consuming and enjoying the taste of unhealthy food. People often look for the most ripe fruits and healthy looking vegetables when they go shopping, but for a lot of produce these bigger fruits and vegetables end up being the modified ones. Though I personally have only been able to see the advantages of these foods, I realize that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits of having genetically modified foods.
From a realistic point of view, being a student on a low budget it would be unpractical for me to purchase anything but the cheap genetically altered food. Looking even at the bigger picture, many individuals and families have the same outlook I do. Therefore, many people may be against the genetic modification of food, yet not much course of action will be taken. People are comfortable with their life styles, making the cases and effects of modified foods not seem like such a big deal. This shows that the wrong approach is probably being taken to bring this to significant awareness.
To promote foods that are not going to be altered, there needs to be ways to produce the same great quantities and keep prices affordable under the economic conditions of the country and the budget of the average American Family. It was crucial to pass an act that will help identify the genetically engineered goods but still it is not sufficient enough to solve the issue at hand. This matter is truly a very controversial issue, containing both pros and cons; therefore, we as a government and a knowledgeable society we need to take a stand and incorporate more ideas in to solving this domestic problem.
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