A new report from researchers at the University of Minnesota says that the world’s food demand will double by 2050, however thankfully there is a gaping hole in their research – the team neglected to consider advancements in urban farming, which could provide agricultural solutions for Earth’s growing human population (as it is already doing in places like Havana, Cuba). The University of Minnesota researchers estimate that an area the size of the United States would need to be cleared by developing nations in order to make enough to feed their growing communities, and that clearing that area will significantly increase carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere leading to increased climate change. Or, we could build farms on empty urban lots, on city rooftops and in community spaces and feed ourselves on the open land we already have by using new technologies being developed in empty storefronts in London and high-tech laboratories nestled into Subway sandwich shops in Japan.
“Agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions could double by 2050 if current trends in global food production continue,” said David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences. “Global agriculture already accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions.” Unfortunately, though they’ve released an enlightening report, the team seems to offer only simple solutions of trying to get richer nations to help poorer nations increase crop yield and use nitrogen fertilizers more efficiently. For some reason, they completely leave out all of the innovative advancements being made in the world of agricultural sustainability.
This study presents a huge issue that is facing the world in more arenas than just agriculture. If we are to solve these daunting problems that are staring the human race in the face we’ve got to think outside the box of conventionality. In the report, the researchers from the University of Minnesota offer up three different scenarios. In order to make enough room to grow plants first off we could clear more land, secondly we could increase yields on current agricultural land or finally we could do a combination of both. Perhaps the researchers working on this team didn’t look out their windows at the lawns that most definitely spread out from the building they are researching in and think that, “by golly, there’s some open space right there. Let’s plant a vegetable garden and feed ourselves.”