18/10/2013 06:52 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

In the Wake of World Food Day: Why It's Time to Rethink Our Food System

As the worldwide population edged past the 7 billion mark, we as a global community became consciously aware that the world's inhabitants are on the brink of outweighing its food resources. World Food Day is a pinnacle time to highlight food sustainability whilst acknowledging the imminent climate change, and global warming predictions, as well as the increase in our global population digits. We need to also recognise sustaining biodiversity and the world's ecosystems and how they are connected to human food consumption.


Biodiversity is crucial to keeping the food chain running. If food runs out so does the ecosystem. The affects of an ever increasing human food consumption will not only have consequences for humanity, but also directly affecting animal species. It has long been speculated that the main problem we have is feeding humanity and finding food resources which can sustain our consumption. However, some scientists believe the bigger problem is what happens if biodiversity in ecosystems is broken down. This is because it's noted that ecosystems allow both crops and humans to grow and flourish.

It was estimated that from 2010-2012, 870 million people in the world, equating to 1 in 8, are suffering from undernourishment. In Africa alone there are 230 million fighting off hunger to survive day to day. These statistics are truly shocking considering there is so much wealth in the western world. Westerners live a disposable lifestyle, one which isn't restricted to just dietary habits. We dispose of everything from cars to clothes, partners to money. This lifestyle is not sustainable and reflects our food consumption.

The problem has arrived and will become even more prominent if climate change takes effect and our global community keeps on increasing. Science has helped to prolong human life with medication fighting against infections, disease, viruses etc. Science has cured many life threatening diseases, even tonsillitis - treatable through antibiotics - was a virus which would have and still can now if not treated, lead to death. As a result, life expectancy in western countries has increased, with over twelve thousand centurions living in Britain alone.

Globally farmers use 50% of the world's farmable land for harvesting crops, and 70% of the world's fresh water. We have already nearly extinguished all available resources even though there has been an increase in manufactured food in the past decade. However, recently it was reported that the world's first manufactured beef burger was created from stem cells. The burger cost over £2000 to make, but could be readily available in fast food chains and supermarkets in the near future, as a bid to sustain biodiversity and secure human food consumption.

The global impact if food began to run out would have catastrophic consequences. To cure world hunger and secure the prevention of it worsening, we need to look at new forms of conserving biodiversity and ecosystems. Science is believed to be the answer; however, more research is needed in order to discover avenues which will be beneficial from science intervening.

Author Ed Hawes is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO that runs over 300 conservation, community, and adventure projects worldwide. He can be found blogging on Frontier's Gap Year Blog or posting on the Frontier Official Facebook page.

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