How a worldwide food shortage could affect your family

It’s really difficult to think about the world ever running out of food from my cozy apartment in New York City. I have three grocery stores within a couple blocks of each other and, although I have to budget a lot, I know that I’ll never really go hungry. With the huge availability of food at my fingertips, I never think that there could ever be a food shortage throughout the world. But that time may come sooner than any of us realize, according to a new report from the United Nations.

What are they predicting, exactly? Well, with the world’s population set to grow to nearly nine billion people by 2040, it would mean that 3 billion people are living in poverty. The demand for resources will grow so high that, even by 2030, the world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water. We all know that the biggest places to suffer will be the third world countries, like in Latin America, that so many of us once called home.

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The UN’s high-level panel on global sustainability says that efforts toward sustainable development are neither fast enough for deep enough, adding that:

"The current global development model is un-sustainable. To achieve sustainability, a transformation of the global economy is required. Tinkering on the margins will not do the job. The cur-rent global economic crisis ... offers an opportunity for significant reforms."

Although I’m already doing as much as I can to live a more sustainable life, like buying fair-trade chocolate, I also wonder when we as a country are going to face up to the current global economy. I don’t want to see my family members in Cuba suffer and go into poverty. I don’t want to see it happen in my Hispanic-dominated community here, either. While the UN makes 56 recommendations for sustainable development, I ask: will a “new political economy” ever happen?

What do you think of this warning from the UN? Are you doing anything to live a more sustainable life?

Image via macisaguy/flickr