Overpopulation and Food Footprints

Today's post is authored by MedEq'a Co-Treasurer, Ziyad Muflahi. 

Seven billion. The amount of humans that exist on this planet and the number continually increases. We may understand the actuality of the number, but are we able to put it into context? What does seven billion dollars look like?  What about seven billion trees?  Seven billion years, cars, acres?  It’s kind of impossible to imagine.  Let’s look at an average sheet of paper.  Its eleven inches long.  Laying seven billion sheets of paper, end to end, would stretch to an outstanding 1,215,278 miles.  That’s long enough to loop the whole Earth, from pole to pole, forty-nine times!  Crazy right?

Now imagine seven billion people.  As of February 3, 2016, the world population is about to eclipse 7.4 billion people.  With this number, a lot of questions have arose, but the one I believe to be the most important is can the Earth handle 7.4 billion people; can it handle all the food that every single person requires?  And the answer is yes; well, kind of.  Can 7.4 billion people fit and eat on this Earth?  Of course, we have plenty of land.  Yet, can all 7.4 billion people enjoy a healthy and enjoyable life?  Not at all.  Let’s look at the average American lifestyle.  According to Eric R. Pianka, the average American needs about twenty-four acres of land.  So basically, for everyone to live an American lifestyle, we would require approximately ten Earths.

So now what?  It’s cool that we all understand that the world is literally overflowed with people, but what’s the point?  What can we do about it?  It’s quite simple really.  By changing our eating habits, we lower our food footprint.  A lower food footprint means you require less land to provide yourself with enough food.  This can come in many forms from buying fresh and locally, decreasing the distance food travels to your house, and being conscious about wasting food.

Alternatively, we can also pursue different diets that allow us to meet these goals and lower our food print. The Mediterranean diet has been declared the healthiest diet in the world.  Having a heavy focus on fruits, vegetables, and nuts while replacing a lot of your red meat with seafood, Mediterranean cuisine is becoming a rave all around the world.  Mediterranean cuisine has also been linked to lower the chance of getting type two diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and so much more.  So drop that steak and go for a nice filet of salmon next time you’re out to eat and treat yourself, and the world, a lot better.

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