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Nutrition is a vital part of living. And when it comes to eating, we usually think of just going to the supermarket or going to KFC and the food is just there, ready for us to eat. But it would be hard for us to realise that the state of food security is endangered and soon we would not have enough food to feed approximately 8 billion people, and soon we would have to find alternative solutions to what we are eating today.
The biggest problem concerning food security is climate change. Changes in weather patterns to become more erratic and more intense, the average temperatures going up or down, sea level rise, and huge drastic changes in landscapes and biomes show a clear indication that the balance of nature is messed up. This is a huge issue because plants and trees cannot adapt to new changes to the environment quickly. This heavily affects agriculture because, obviously, agriculture it is dependent on nature. And because plants don’t adapt to changes quickly, they will die, leading to a very huge food crisis.
Another huge concern for food security is the increasing soil erosion. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (or WWF), we have lost nearly have of the earth’s topsoil in the past 150 years. Topsoil is where plants get their nutrients. This is caused by deforestation, overgrazing and continuous use of pesticides. The soil gets washed up into rivers and oceans which then pollute the aquatic life or end up clogging our water pipes and contributes to flooding. Because we will end up with barren land, we will depend on using chemical solutions to enrich the land with the nutrients needed. “Because we’re left with barren earth, we depend on chemical fertilizers to enrich the land. Often though these fertilizers destroy nature’s balance—polluting the soil, killing the soil’s biodiversity, and eventually contaminating our food.”
Another problem concerning food security is the changing of diets and income. The amount of people working in agriculture is decreasing because not many people want to become farmers and would rather work in urban areas such as office jobs. Jobs in urban areas are more rewarding and have a better income than working in agriculture and people would then want to switch to a ‘westernised’ diet, meaning they want to eat more meat. The rising demand for meat means that people will need more grazing land and in order to do that they will have to cut down forests and the process will continue, leading to more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. And it has been known that methane produced from cows is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 Emissions from just factories and vehicles altogether.
With these problems and more concerning our food security, we will soon have to find alternative solutions to cope with the new circumstances and loss of food security. The first alternative food source should be to use fossil fuels as a way to grow many things, one big example is mushrooms. Mushrooms can grow on many substances, but we can use things such as coal to grow mushrooms and we can eat them. Not only are mushrooms healthy and are packed with many nutrients, but they have also been proven to have low environmental impact, only 1.8 gallons of water are needed to grow a pound of mushrooms, and we can produce about one million pounds of mushrooms in just one acre of land. Although we can eat the mushrooms, we can also use them as feed for other organisms such as: All species of rodents, deer, pigs, wild boars, chickens, rabbits, and some species of insects.
Another fossil fuel food is bacteria. There are some types of bacteria which are edible, and to grow these bacterias, we can use natural gas to feed them. A company called Calysta, based in California, has announced to build the first ever large-scale factory that uses microbes to convert natural gas or methane, into high protein foods that animals can eat, and this food could potentially be available to humans. This methane made food has already been proved in the European Union for feeding fish in farms and other livestock such as pigs. This type of food production is very sustainable and can help solve the problem of the highly increasing methane production of cows by basically recycling the waste into food.
In our present time, we might not realise the loss of food security approaching as we speak. And if we do not find solution or alternatives, we would simply perish. So we still need to work upon the alternatives and get used to them, and to also help the planet and try to find ways to stop or at least decrease this state of food insecurity, because if we do, our future generations will thank us and continue to live.
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