Food Shortages & Water Scarcity Could Force People Into Becoming Vegetarians

EADS, CO - AUGUST 22: Rancher Gary Wollert drives cattle back onto dry ranchlands on August 22, 2012 near Eads, on the plains of eastern Colorado. Credit: Getty Images

The droughts of 2012 and a heavy fear of “overpopulation” have caused a few scientists to sound the alarm on the possibility of a global food crisis.

“Water scientists” warn that because of a scarcity of water and a depletion in global food supplies, we “may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages,” the Guardian reports.

About 20 percent of our diet comes from animal-based products, according to the report, and “water scientists” argue that that number needs to drop to five percent if we plan on feeding the 2 billion people expected in 2050.

“There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,” a report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

“There will be just enough water if the proportion of animal-based foods is limited to 5% of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a … reliable system of food trade,” the report adds.

While these scientists issue their water warnings, the U.N. is preparing for a possible global food crisis, the second in five years. As mentioned earlier on TheBlaze, the U.S. droughts (as well as droughts in Russia) have caused the price of raw commodities to rise. And while this hasn’t necessarily affected the average American citizen, it has been unpleasant for the foreign countries that depend on U.S. output.

“Oxfam [a human rights group] has forecast that the price spike will have a devastating impact in developing countries that rely heavily on food imports, including parts of Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. Food shortages in 2008 led to civil unrest in 28 countries,” the Guardian reports.

Scientists argue that that the West should adopt a vegetarian diet because it will spare the water necessary to grow more crops.

“Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals. Other options to feed people include eliminating waste and increasing trade between countries in food surplus and those in deficit,” the report explains.

But — but — vegetarian?

“Nine hundred million people already go hungry and 2 billion people are malnourished in spite of the fact that per capita food production continues to increase,” the scientists say. “With 70% of all available water being in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land.”

The report will be brought before a body of world leaders, including 2,500 politicians, U.N. bodies, non-governmental groups, and researchers from 120 countries, who will then try to decide what’s best for everyone.

“We will need a new recipe to feed the world in the future,” said the report’s editor, Anders Jägerskog.

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Front page photo courtesy the AP.