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The Battle to Feed All of Humanity Is Over. Humanity Has Won

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the-battle-to-feed-all-of-humanity-is-over-humanity-has-won

 Marian L. Tupy

Feb. 11 2020

As the editor of a website documenting human progress, I am sometimes asked to name the one statistic that best exemplifies the improving state of the world. The rising life expectancy immediately comes to mind, for to a dead person, all the other indicators of human well-being are irrelevant. Luckily, almost everyone knows that people today live much longer than our ancestors did. As such, I often end up talking about food consumption. For millennia, people lived on the edge of starvation. Today, starvation has disappeared outside of war-zones. Let’s look at some data.

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, Stanford University biologist and “overpopulation” alarmist Paul Ehrlich famously predicted that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over … hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Between 1968 and 2017, the world’s population increased by 113 percent from 3.55 billion to 7.55 billion. Over the same time period, the average global food supply per person per day rose from 2,334 calories to 2,962 – a 27 percent increase.

(Snip)

Even in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, food supply per person per day rose from 1,852 in 1961 to 2,449 in 2017 – a 32 percent increase. According to one report, “There is a silent epidemic sweeping through Africa and it’s worse than HIV. Out of the 20 fastest rising countries with obesity, nearly half of them are in Africa. The health burden on the continent is rising.”

I suspect that with increased wealth and access to information, Africans, like most people, will eventually find a happy medium between food consumption and healthy living. In the meantime, we cannot but conclude that the battle to feed all of humanity is indeed over and humanity has won.

 

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