Or, at least news if you, like me, didn’t know it before:
We produce enough food for 10 billion people. That’s a surplus of 25% and as we are expected to peak with a population around 9-11 billion people, it really should get the rest of the Malthusians to reconsider their position.
And fortunately, this has been done with increasing efficiency so rich nations has been able to double their yield without increasing the use of fertilizer significantly. Meat is by far the most impactful of our modern agriculture, and the area used to produce that has been falling since 2000 at about the same rate as it was increasing before that.
Rich countries are reforesting, partly because of more effective farming, making Europe greener than it was 100 years ago. In fact, the number of protected nature areas have increased so much that they now cover an area equivalent to 15% of Earth’s land coverage. That’s the size of Africa!
*) Apparently not insect biodiversity. The original research that led to the reports of an “insect apocalypse” was suspect from the start and as is always the case, it takes a very long time to actually disprove such claims. But, largely, they are.
- Overall, terrestrial insects are declining much less rapidly (3 to 6 fold less) than other recent high-profile studies had suggested, and even this likely overstates the trend. Freshwater insect populations are actually increasing.
- “Crop cover,” which means things like corn, soybeans, sorghum, cotton, spring and winter wheat, alfalfa and hay, is associated with increases in insect populations.
- There is no association between insect population trends and global warming.
- The only clear association with insect declines is with urbanization, likely caused by habitat destruction, light pollution and waste pollution.