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🍏 "Today's Food Crisis is a Postcard from our Warming Future"


Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Tamar Haspel & Mike Grunwald
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Food Crisis

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:56] MG: "We're already seeing terrible food shortages and food inflation. And [...] it's gonna get a lot worse. Ukraine is Europe's breadbasket. It's a huge exporter of wheat and vegetable oil. So the war is really discombobulating food markets around the world. And meanwhile, there's this terrible drought. It's especially horrific in the Horn of Africa. But it's bad in a lot of the world. So that's shrinking the food supply too. The World Food Program is warning of a hunger hurricane. We're talking about a record 345 million people facing an acute risk of starvation."

[5:21] TH: "We have a couple of surveys about how Americans are changing in response to higher food prices. [...] 8 out of 10 people are saying that they're not doing probably the single most important thing that reduces how much you spend on food and that is not going out. [...] But more than half of people say that they're making changes to their actual diet. And of those 72% of those people say that they're eating less meat. About half of people are switching to packaged or frozen foods. And more than half have said that they stopped buying organic produce. [...] The chicken industry is actually predicting increased demand, so it does look like there's a shift away from beef."

[10:09] MG: "We don't just have this acute short term food shortage. This is really foreshadowing our chronic long term food shortage. And climate change is going to make shortages worse. And [...] those shortages can make climate change worse. [...] We're going to have 10 billion people by 2050 and they're going to need a lot more food, probably 50% more calories than we're producing today. But we can't keep clearing forests to grow it. Right now we're on track to deforest another 14 California's worth of land. [...] We're going to need to create more food with less land."

[12:29] MG: "Scientists are saying that if climate change plays out the way it's currently playing out, you can see wheat yields around the world declined by a third. And that just means we're not going to have enough food. It means we're going to have to chop down the Amazon to grow it."

[14:51] TH: "The World Resources Institute [...] indicated that if the developing world cuts beef consumption by half, that almost makes the problem of producing enough food go away. [...] Number two, we have to tackle food waste. Something like a third of all of the food that gets grown globally gets wasted. [...] Strategy three [is] we have to do something about biofuels. Just here in the United States, about a third [...6 of our corn acreage goes right into cars. And if we were to take that acreage and eat that corn, [...] that's enough calories for the entire population of the United States for the entire year."

[20:12] TH: "The fourth one [is] we have to preserve yields. We can't start growing less food on the same land. But at the same time, we also have to try and make sure that we minimize the environmental impact of growing all of that food. [...] What regenerative agriculture has to do is maintain or increase yields, while decreasing environmental impact."

[41:40] MG: "The real takeaway here is that food shortages are a climate issue. They're intertwined. And climate change is going to make it harder to make more food. And this lack of food is going to make it a lot harder to fix climate change, because we're going to be very tempted to tear down our Amazon to create more food."

Rating: 🍏🍏🍏

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🕰️ 45 min | 🗓️ 08/02/2022
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