Another Inconvenient Truth: The World’s Growing Population Poses a Malthusian Dilemma.
Solving climate change, the Sixth Great Extinction and population growth… at the same time.
By 2050, the world will host nine billion people—and that’s if population growth slows in much of the developing world. Today, at least one billion people are chronically malnourished or starving. Simply to maintain that sad state of affairs would require the clearing (read: deforestation) of 900 million additional hectares of land, according to Pedro Sanchez, director of the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program at The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The bad news beyond the impacts on people, plants and animals of that kind of deforestation: There isn’t that much land available. At most, we might be able to add 100 million hectares to the 4.3 billion already under cultivation worldwide.
“Agriculture is the main driver of most ecological problems on the planet,” said economist Jeffrey Sachs, Scientific American columnist and Earth Institute director. “We are literally eating away the other species on the planet.”