“I predict we will see global protein shortages within our own lifetime.”

19 Jan 2010

“There is a finite availability of agricultural land. And with population growth there is increased competition for land between urban development and the production of food, animal feed, and now biofuels,” said Peter Barr, Chairman of the Meat and Livestock Commission at their annual Outlook Conference on Jan 17, 2010.

According to an article by Farming UK (quoted on the Optimum Population Trust blog), Barr also said:

On top of this there are the pressures caused by short-term crises as a result of disease, droughts and floods and the longer-term impacts of climate change all of which destabilise world trade.

Food security has not been a fashionable topic. But, it is one I have been raising for a number of years, and it is now rapidly rising up the agenda.

What might this mean? Barr said, “I predict we will see global protein shortages within our own lifetime.” Does he connect this with the inefficiency of eating animals, instead of eating plants directly?

In any case, when people in this industry start issuing warnings like this, it makes me really worried.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »