Can The World Really Afford To Eat Ethically?


A starving girl.  Photo by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Estimates of the World’s population in the year 2050 range up to as high as 10 billion.  I think it will be less as the current trend towards lower population growth continues.  The world is a 6.8 billion now and growing.  This is an interesting site where you can see the growth in real time.  Whatever the real number as the years go by, how everyone will eat is a real problem.  Many of us in the developed world, and especially those that are not poor citizens of the developed countries, tend to lose sight of the reality of food issues for the majority of people.  For most people of the world, organic carrots, grass fed beef, or non-gmo soybeans are as foreign as the concept of “disposable income”.  Of course I am one of the lucky ones who can try my best to buy healthy, ethically produced, food.  I can buy local produce, shop in a food co-op, and generally afford to be an ethical consumer.  If you are also fortunate in that regard, you should be shopping ethically also.  But what about everyone else?  It is not a pretty picture.

As discouraging as it can be, I sometimes I have a hard time seeing how 8 billion people will eat without the practices of modern agribusiness, genetically modified crops, and the vast array of chemicals I often rage against.  The world’s population is mostly poor and those people are moving from the countryside, where they once grew their own food, to cities.  They need to eat and they have very little money.  In the world of science and agriculture there is not even a debate over what will be needed to feed the world beyond the gates of the privileged populations of the developed world.

What got me thinking and somewhat discouraged today was reading a couple of articles and press releases that came through my news reader this week.  Here is just one example. Tell me what you think please.  I really believe that we are doing right by spending our money on food that has been ethically produced, on food that is healthy and wholesome, and whenever possible, on food that is produced in our local communities.  Is that a naive concept?  I don’t think so.  We do our best and if only 10 percent of the world’s population will ever be able to afford this diet, at least it is 10 percent.  But right now even though 10 percent might be able to afford to eat ethically, perhaps 2 percent currently are doing it.  It is that other 8 percent we need to convince.

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Will Sig
1 Sukhmandir Kaur

If you’ve seen The Future of Food, ( free at hulu) then you know how important it is to buy locally and avoid corporate produced food. It takes twenty times the resources to feed animals used for food pound for pound then to use the same resources directly for human consumption. So we can still feed people if they cut out eating meat. Cattle production also contributes to green house gasses and promotes climate change. Even cutting out 10% of meat consumption can make a difference.


2 Lisa

I am certainly pro ethical eating. More often than not I choose to eat organic foods and when possible, mostly seasonal, I eat locally produced foodstuff.

Can’t say as I’ll ever cut out meat consumption as suggested by Sukhmandir Kaur, but I do prefer natural raised, organic and kosher meats.

It is agreed that if we all do just a little bit the outcome would be less grim for the future.


3 Will

Yeah common sense goes a long ways. But often shoppers really don’t know how the food they buy is produced. If everyone knew what happens on the typical feedlot, 90% would not want to buy feedlot meat. But almost nobody knows anything about meat production.

As Michael Pollan said in his oversimplified little book of food rules. If it comes from a plant eat it. If it is made in a plant, don’t.


4 Liza

Yes, a lot of people are not aware how the food they buy are produced. Back here even fresh vegetables and meat are tainted with chemicals to keep them fresh. Sometimes you just don’t know what to buy anymore.
.-= Liza´s last blog ..The Wedding Cake Test =-.


5 Anna

Well protein is not only in the beef, there are other vegetable sources. This is scary, and whenever someone complains by the table that they don’t like the food, I make them thing about the people who do not have any food.

You know Will, I grew up on the organic food, which then wasn’t even called organic food, it was what we had. And now I have to pay extra for something we age, as some called farmers food.

Anna 🙂
.-= Anna´s last blog ..Spring Transformations Experiments – A Red Bean Seed To A Green Plant =-.


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