The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.
The most recent UN projections indicate the human population will expand from roughly 7.2 billion today to 10.9 billion by 2100. Current yield growth trends are insufficient to meet growing demand. The expansion of agriculture over the past century has had a devastating impact on biodiversity. There is an acute need to intensify agricultural productivity, while decreasing the deleterious impact of agriculture on the environment.
To live sustainably, we must grow more on the same amount of land using less water, energy, and chemicals. GM methods are the most critical technology for meeting these challenges. Paradoxically, although the use of GM technology is accepted in medicine, it has evoked societal controversy in the realm of food production, resulting in the proliferation of regulatory and legal constraints that threaten to cripple their use in achieving sustainable agriculture.
Agriculture is now threatened in a sense by its very success.The demographic shift of population from rural to urban areas has been particularly dramatic in the developed world. But the very fact that we are largely urban dwellers and have access to food through a global food system blinds us to the basics of agriculture and makes us vulnerable to the increasingly strident opponents of modern agriculture who use fear to promote their economic interests.
Will we overcome our fear of new technologies and reinvest in agricultural research that can increase agricultural productivity while decreasing its environmental impact, so that we might preserve what remains of our biological heritage? Can we keep food prices down through agricultural innovation based on modern genetic methods and better farm management? Or will poverty-based social instability continue to spread and consume governments? The answers to these questions will, for better or worse, shape our future civilizations.
Read full, original post: Food in a future of 10 billion