Anything, and wars too. But hunger will be the main consequence. Mass, terrible, hopeless. It already began.
Dystrophy alimentary (a hungry disease) – so is called violation of the common delivery of an organism owing to the long-lived malnutrition when food contains the number of calories, poor in comparison with the spent energy. After the Great Patriotic War dystrophy had one more, informal name – “the Leningrad disease”.
Those who endured it, know: it is more terrible than nothing on light is not present. There is a feeling that from bombardments it is possible to take cover, but only not for hunger. “Hunger is the improbable feeling which is not releasing not for a moment, – the author of “The blockade book” Daniil Granin told in one of the interviews. – One mother fed children with the blood, making an incision herself veins”.
Really and all of us (or, at least, a majority of inhabitants of Earth) the same fate will comprehend? Many experts are sure: it is quite possible. There is a theory which predicts to mankind mass death in 50-100 years. There is a concept of a certain hypothetical Rubicon in 9-13 billion people (the concrete figure is washed strongly away) when the overpopulation reaches critical limits and will seek to limit birth rate naturally.
Discussion of a problem began in 1972 with the well-known report to the Roman club of the group of scientists headed by professor Dennis Medouz. The report was called “Body height limits”. A number of the ideas that the beginning of the 21st century will be marked by inevitability of the world accidents, the bound to exhaustion of natural resources, environmental and a population explosion in developing countries entered it.
Most of experts, however, does not consider today an overpopulation so burning issue. And data on him are very ambiguous. The lion’s share of experts is sure that body height of number of inhabitants of Earth is slowed down though the number of people on the planet, of course, grows. To what and when it brings – to tell very difficult. But hunger is not only and not just an overpopulation corollary. It also corollary of wars, epidemics and nonrational use of resources. Shortage of water, climate change, desertification, deforestation and increase in prices is one electric power more narrow than steel a hindrance for many producers of food.
In the poor countries of a family plan express days in which they will eat nothing.
Population explosion: to be or not to be?
It is necessary to recognize: the question is not correct. The population explosion began for a long time, and its peak fell on the 1960th years. And here since the end of the 1980th decrease in absolute growth rates of world’s population is observed. Today these rates fall practically in all countries. In spite of the fact that the population of the planet already passed for 7 billion. Such quantity “us” is only consequences of that population explosion about which we spoke above. According to the UN, during the period from 1994 to 2014 the number of people are more senior than 60 years doubled, and last year their number on a global scale was larger, than the number of children under five years.
Therefore demographers claim: we, on the contrary, live during an era of gradual decrease in growth rates of the population. And though the number of people on Earth continues to increase quickly, the increase was cut almost by half in comparison with an index of 1963 when it reached peak value. According to forecasts of experts, high rates of demographic body height (about 2% a year) will remain almost until the end of the 21st century – till 2090. Then they have to decrease and after population of Homo Sapiens reaches 12-13 billion people, there will occur stabilization. However, degradation of natural systems which provide us life, and, of course, an acute food problem is in this situation quite probable.
And in the nearest future the threat of an overpopulation is especially high in the countries with uncontrollable birth rate: first of all it is about the states of Tropical Africa, such as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, etc.
The Danish economist, the ecologist and the public figure Björn Lomborg criticizes the theory of an overpopulation. In the book The Skeptical Environmentalist (“The skeptical ecologist”) he comes to a conclusion that the concept of a population explosion is doubtful, the quantity of starving falls, as well as food prices, and the level of a biodiversity, necessary for the biosphere, is too overestimated, development of technologies and social responsibility lead to decrease of environmental.
Today the largest state on population is China with which after 2025, perhaps, India will catch up. Till 1991 the USSR was the third on population, after its disintegration the USA became the third. Russia takes the ninth place in this list.
According to other expert, the candidate of sociological sciences, the director of Institute of demographic researches Igor Beloborodov, the theory of an overpopulation in many respects contradicts the partial statistics. Especially it concerns the food crisis discussed by us.
So, in 1990, according to Beloborodov, in the world about 1 billion people, and by 2013, after increase in the population starved, this indicator decreased to 842 million. In his opinion, for comfortable accommodation of all population of Earth there is enough territory of Australia, at the same time will fall on each person on hectare of the free area.
“According to all existing demographic forecasts, already in the near future rates of an increase of the world population will be constantly slowed down, and then at all will get a depopulyatsionny orientation”, – the sociologist in the article “Symptoms of Demographic Degradation” writes.
It gives “the most probable” the scenario of the demographic forecast under the name World Population Prospect where it is specified how rates of reproduction of the population from 2005 for 2050 will change in comparison with 1950-1975:
“Around the world growth rates of the population for the specified period will decrease more than by 5 times. The demographic trajectory will get the sharply negative orientation in the developed countries and the European states”, – Beloborodov specifies. As we see, the problem of an overpopulation is extremely disputable not only in itself, but also concerning its consequences. Despite everything many experts nevertheless believe that the threat of an overpopulation is not so terrible, and here mass hunger can be quite actual problem. And it can occur for various reasons.
Bread without shows!
“Using the known image, one may say, that the terrestrial civilization reminds the wizard who brought so mighty forces to life that cannot master them any more, – the Doctor of Economics, the chief researcher IMEMO RAHN, the researcher of this question Evgeny Kovalyov writes in the article “Global Food Problem”. – Mankind pressure upon the environment, in particular on resources, reached such limit beyond which the nature cannot any more (or almost cannot) restore itself in former volume. In this sense it is possible to call body height of the population of Earth a problemoobrazuyushchy factor. It, probably, really so, but only eventually. Otherwise how to explain the fact that the population quickly increases in Africa where production of food endures stagnation, and the period of a gemination of its number makes a little more than 20 years”.
Despite body height of the world population, Kovalyov specifies that production of food till some time grew quicker than the number of people. And technological shifts in the agrarian sphere allowed not only to increase production, but also to reduce its expenses, so, and the prices of agricultural production.
And everything would be fine if by the beginning of this century observers with alarm did not find two new tendencies which were outlined in the food sphere. “First, increase in production of food began to be slowed down gradually, also decrease in prime cost and consequently, and the prices of a unit of production, – the researcher writes slowed down. – Secondly, though it also did not affect immediately the immediate cost of food products, that ecological price which the mankind pays for body height of agricultural production began to increase”.
As the German immunologist and a bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich told in due time, “trying to support the growing number similar, we endanger the ability of Earth in general to support any life”.
From 50 to 100 thousand died of scale mass hunger in East Africa in 2011 human.
Evgeny Kovalyov says that today all earth, suitable for processing, is used. Plowing-up of new cropland can lead to rise in price of agricultural products and to the negative consequences for a surrounding medium as it already occurred in a zone of unstable agriculture, for example in the countries of Africa. “According to data of the report of the American Institute of world resources, degradation of soils and their security with water covers already 16% of world agricultural areas (by data for 2004 – NS). Increase in production is substantially reached due to infliction of harm or even destruction of agricultural resources. It means that the present population of Earth in ecological sense increases the consumption of food at the expense of future generations”, – Kovalyov writes.
At the end of 1992 more than 1500 famous scientists from the different countries of the world signed the appeal which was heard as the vigorous warning to mankind of the happening deterioration in a surrounding medium which is threat of existence of terrestrial civilization per se. In it it was told about ubiquitous decrease in fertility of soils as a corollary of the existing methods of agriculture and livestock production. Among other disappearance of the woods was also called. So, since 1945 11% (the territory surpassing the area of India and China combined) of a vegetable earth’s mantle underwent degradation. The intensive irrigation of agricultural soils leads to what even the large rivers begin to shallow. Huang He, for example, dries up every year for several months. The same problem with an obmelchaniye of many large lakes and even closed seas, it is similar Aral in Central Asia or to Lake Chapala in Mexico.
According to scientists, in 80 countries where 40% of all population of the planet live, there is a serious shortage of the surface water. Pollution of the rivers, lakes and ground waters which does them unsuitable for use completes a picture.
Mass disappearance of lungs of the planet – the woods, especially tropical became an important factor also. Evgeny Kovalyov: “According to data of the World Bank, annual rates of the data of the woods from 1990 to 1995 made 101,7 thousand sq.km. The fact that here and there, for example in the USA and some EU countries, these years the area of the woods increased does not give at all the grounds for optimism as it means that actual rates of deforestation in the most vulnerable zones, first of all in tropics, were higher, than show data of the WB”.
In the appeal scientists emphasized that at preservation of such rates most of the wet, rainforests will disappear until the end of the 21st century, and together with them also a huge part of plants and animals will sink Into oblivion.
WHO considers hunger by the main threat to human health: it is the reason of a third of children’s death and 10% of all diseases.
The contribution – and much bigger, than field husbandry, – brings livestock production in an aggravation of a food problem. According to data of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which are provided by Kovalyov in 2000 the common world livestock of all pets made 1331 million heads of cattle, 1060 million sheep, 905 million pigs, 235 million geese. And all these living creatures need space for a pasture and sterns. Such requirement is also the death sentence for the considerable proportion of rainforests. “In Central America, for example, since 1950 were turned into pastures of 6 million hectares of the woods up to now, and near Amazonia 50% of the pastures won from rainforests were thrown because of a starvation”, – the scientist gives statistics. Not to mention what amount of methane and ammonia is released into the atmosphere by all these animals. There are also figures: it is counted that annual emission of ammonia by pets around the world makes 23 million tons.
Evgeny Kovalyov refers to conclusions of the World Bank which claims that the population of the planet is not stabilized at the level of lower than 12,4 billion people, and, by calculations of the UN will reach, perhaps, a mark of 14 billion. “But already now one person from five lives in absolute poverty, without receiving sufficient nutrition, and one of ten suffers from chronic hunger. There are no more than several decades till that time when the chance to prevent the growing threats is finally lost”, – the author does the unfavourable forecast.
And though he speaks about decrease in body height of population too (especially in the developed states, in Europe and the USA, and also in Russia), addressing figures, the scientist notes that in some states this body height, on the contrary, speeds up. Among them – the country of Africa about which we also spoke. Here also India and Pakistan are added.
“The aggravation of a problem of water conceals in itself and political threat as can lead to an aggravation of the conflicts in the countries and between the states”, – the economist concludes.
The expert in statistics of the Netherlands Center of mathematics and informatics Peter Gruenwald counted that for all history of mankind (if to consider that it began 162 thousand years ago) on Earth more than 107 billion people were given birth.
Rescue of drowning
According to the same World Bank for 2012, body height of the world food prices in the CIS countries already turned 44 million people into poor people.
“The Russian newspaper” of March 16, 2012 in the material “Let’s Feed All!” wrote: “Starve or 925 million people undereat today, by estimates of scientists. 1 billion more suffers from the so-called hidden hunger, without having in the delivery enough vitamins and minerals. But 1 billion the most successful earthlings considerably “perepotreblyat”, extending new type of epidemic – the overeating which is coming to an end with Diabetum of the second type and cardiovascular diseases”.
And how many products, once suitable for the use, fly every day to a garbage can? There is no such statistics anywhere.
The same edition in the same material writes: “The chief government scientist of the United Kingdom the sir John Beddington considers that the modified products will become a key factor of survival for the population of an exemplar of 2050 genetically. And people have to accept them and reconcile to them. Counterarguments of the moral and ethical plan to GM-crops are not acceptable any more. And really how differently to support the population of Earth increasing today monthly on 6 million, besides what to the 2030th more than 60 percent of people of Earth will live in the cities, having ceased to go in for cattle breeding and agriculture?”
According to the estimates of the British experts, by 2050 the population of the globe which reached a point in more than 9 billion people will need 40% more food, waters are 30% more and energies, than are 50% more today. Therefore professor Beddington predicts: without the modern biotechnologies, including genetic modification and nanotechnologies, there is a lot from now on us not to see food. Only gene-modified cultures are capable to resist to wreckers and insects who devour up to 30% of crops today, and only GM-plants will be durable at shortage and salinization of water.
Also the philosophy of food has to change. It means that food has to become valuable already today. “Today the irresponsible average British consumer annually throws out in a garbage can of products for the sum from 500 to 700 pounds sterling (800-1120 dollars) that he makes about a quarter of all food bought by a family”, – writes the edition.
One more hope for rescue from the hunger threatening to the planet and simulated meat is perfecting of management of global grocery system. For this purpose it is necessary to reduce subsidies and grants, and also to eliminate trade barriers which handicap the poorest countries. “RG”: “When grain because of a drought burns down in one separately to the taken country – price of bread flies up worldwide up that proves need of flexible grocery cooperation on a global scale”.
As we already spoke, most of demographers agrees that body height of the population of Earth naturally will stop in the second half of the 21st century when the number of inhabitants of the planet reaches a point approximately of 9-13 billion people. But how to support also these 9 billion? “It is very much the complex challenge, – the newspaper quotes the British professor Charles Godfrey. – If all these 9,5 billion have the same appetites and the same menu which we have in Europe today – not to mention the United States! – that it will be still that problem. If we are able to change somehow demand, then, I believe, the task to support the population will be accessible”.
Revolted with the fact that the mankind recklessly uses resources and throws out about a third of food products, the German students glanced in trash cans. On a photo: one of students shows the “wastage” found in a trash can of the Berlin supermarket
It is a little optimism and… bugs
It is necessary to tell that the world organizations work on a problem with might and main. Also look for exits. Though some. So, in May, 2013 the UN suggested inhabitants of the planet to pass gradually in the diet on… insects. “Insects – one of the most available types of proteinaceous food. They make 50% of the known kinds of fauna, – it is noted in the report of scientists. – About two thousand various insects are included into a traditional diet of 2 billion people”.
In the report it is emphasized: concentration of proteins, the useful fats, calcium, iron and Zincum in insects sometimes even above, than in beef. At the same time for cultivation of 1 kg of insects 2 kg of food, and for cattle – 8 kg there are enough. However, one of authors of the publication Eva Mueller explains: “We do not urge all to eat bugs. We try to tell that insects – only one of the numerous resources provided by the woods though them practically do not consider as a potential source of food and especially forages for animals”.
Above-mentioned the researcher of a food problem Evgeny Kovalyov also considers by us that “development of a marikultura – cultivation on man-made sea plantations of oysters, mussels, a laminaria became the encouraging tendency of the last decades. Probably, the marikultura possesses the future”, – he says.
But large investments which will pay off only over time are necessary for scale development of a marikultura. So far it is necessary to count on aged kind fish. And this with the fact that scientists of the world sound the alarm concerning body height of the destructive impact on the World Ocean, especially long ago in its coastal areas where the ground mass of fish is got. “The world sea catch is at limit. Some zones of fishery already show symptoms of a collapse. The rivers take out to the seas not only heavy mass of the washed-away soil, but also the industrial, agricultural and livestock wastes which part has toxicity”, – Kovalyov writes.
Let’s assume the poor and, we will be will gorge on, the most improbable scenario: extinction of mankind. What will occur in this case? Really at our short-sighted, but nevertheless places of quite nice sort there are no chances of rescue? Fortunately, is.
Let’s say in the world there will be only hundred people. Whether it will be enough for survival of population? “Hundred – easily will be enough if it are no same-gender people, – the famous anthropologist Stanislav Drobyshevsky on the Антропогенез.ру portal answers this question. – For successful survival of population on the island Pitkern one man and several women was enough. Experience of preservation of Red Book animals shows that sometimes there are enough also couple of individuals. Of course, evil recessives can impair a little raspberry, but for capital decay and recessives have to be very much angry, and selection very severe. And in more or less adequate conditions (we will tell, after nuclear war) there will be enough ten Bushmen (who were left in the basket of big-time politics and far from the sphere of interests of superstates) for eyes for Homo-rekonkista”.
– I am a supporter of the demographic concept of Sergey Petrovich Kapitsa therefore I think that the overpopulation does not threaten the planet, – famous professor-geopolitician, the creator of the network project “Institute of Geopolitics”, the editor and the author of the Life Landscapes magazine Vladimir Dergachev says. – It is bound also to geopolitical transformation of the world because the center of economic and technological development is displaced to Asia. And two largest economies of Asia, largest on demographic power of the country are China and India. According to forecasts, in the future these two countries will also remain the largest on population. But the standard of living grows in them therefore the overpopulation problem will probably not be particularly acute too. The government of China understands that it will not be able to reach the standard of living of the western person at such population therefore in China it is headed for creation of society of middle-income.
Of course, when you go by plane over the Great Chinese plain, an overpopulation is well visible. Because of the boiler rooms working everywhere above the plain literally there is a smog. But, as I not once was in China, I can tell that the authorities of Celestial Empire well understand all sharpness of this environmental problem and will probably find its solution.
In the demilitarized zone, in the territory of Svalbard archipelago where there is no military facility, in permafrost the storage for seeds to which those who will be able to survive in case of a global disaster will come is constructed. Today there are about half a million exemplars of different types of seeds of food crops from around the world
There are theories that wars allow to stabilize body height of the population. But it, of course, not so. Now the population of the planet exceeds 7 billion people. And what is necessary war that the increase in population stopped? According to my forecasts, world (nuclear) war in the near future will not be, but the regional conflicts in the next decades will remain – in connection with global geopolitical transformation about which I spoke.
Not only that the West, or “gold one billion”, is actually consumer society. At the same time problems of providing the population with food and sweet water in many developing countries become aggravated. For example, the reasons of many conflicts in the Middle East for the last hundred years are bound to problems of control of sources of sweet water. Yes, it is possible to give an example of the United Arab Emirates which turned Arabian Desert into the blossoming garden at the expense of a desalting ocean water, but in other regions deficiency of sweet water remains extremely sharp. For example, in a zone of the African Sahel, between the Sahara and the Central Africa, there is a total desertification. All these problems conduct not to the fact that the population will increase, and to the fact that mass death of people from a lack of water, food and lack of normal medicine will continue.
According to World Health Organization, daily in the world of 24 thousand people die of hunger or diseases, the directly bound to hunger. While you read this article, in the world about 400-500 people died. It is slightly less than a half of them – children.