Some of the world’s leading scientists have concluded that the current global population may have to drastically decrease its intake of animal products in order to feed the additional 2 billion people that are expected to be alive in 2050. The International Water Management Institute has stated that there is sufficient water and agricultural land to ensure worldwide food security for at least the next forty years, but only if significant changes are made in agriculture and in the control of natural resources. Since food production is limited by water availability, water usage will have to decrease to allow for a necessary 70% increase in food production. It takes five to ten times more water to produce the food consumed in an animal-based diet than a vegetarian diet.
According to a report published by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), water usage can be decreased if the percentage of daily calories that comes from animal proteins is reduced from 20% to 5%. The research conducted by these experts shows that while the human population will not have to cut out animal products altogether, worldwide dietary habits will definitely have to change in the near future.
Vidal, John. “Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists.” Guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited, 26 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Sep. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/aug/26/food-shortages-world-vegetarianism>.
“Food Security.” IWMI.org. International Water Management Institute, n.d. Web. 17 Sep. 2012. <http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/Topics/Food_Security/index.aspx>.
Jägerskog, A., Jønch Clausen, T. “Feeding a Thirsty World – Challenges and Opportunities for a Water and Food Secure Future.” SIWI.org. Stockholm International Water Institute, 2012. Web. 17 Sep. 2012. http://www.siwi.org/documents/Resources/Water_Front_Articles/2012/WF-2-2012_WWW.pdf
Student Researcher: Sophie Frank (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)