Start canning: world to run out of food around 2050

Start canning: world to run out of food around 2050

Preserves for preservation (Image:

Here we were thinking that the coming century would herald nothing but flying cars, weird haircuts and sweet video games, but the reality sounds much more dismal. New environmental studies have predicted future food catastrophe. At the forefront is Julian Cribb, a distinguished science writer, who foresees Earth beginning to run out of food by 2050.

In his new book, The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It, Cribb observes, “The world has ignored the ominous constellation of factors that now make feeding humanity sustainably our most pressing task—even in times of economic and climatic crisis.” The impending food shortage is occurring faster than climate change, he continues, as the population is set to hit 9.2 billion by 2050, and demand for food will likely outstrip production.

We’re having a hard time deciding whether to throw this into the “alarmist” pile or not, though. The Economist, for example, in its The World in 2011 issue, takes a less apocalyptic view of the world’s future population growth. While we certainly hope the Economist is right, it probably couldn’t hurt for world leaders to follow Cribb’s advice to guarantee a future global food supply. Though we wonder if he’s taken into account the effect of having replicants (which will, no doubt, exist by 2050) do our farming for us.

Earth’s gravest challenge: Not enough food to go round [New Zealand Herald]
The seventh billion [Economist]