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Not enough food – too many mouths

14 Apr 2008 / in general stuff, going off on one

Have you noticed a number of stories recently about rising food prices? The cost of wheat, rice and corn – the world’s staples – has risen massively. People in Haiti, Egypt and elsewhere, this week have taken to the streets in protest at the spiralling cost of basics. Of course, it’s poor people who suffer most.


Forests are chopped down to create land to farm expensive-to-produce meat and cash crops for export like coffee, tea, rubber and soya for bio-fuel. Fish stocks are at an all-time low. Species of ‘commonplace’ fish like tuna and the humble and beautiful cod are now endangered. I could cite many other examples, but it’s too depressing.

We need more food and we need more fuel. We are asked to recycle, re-use and tread lightly on the planet. All of which I try to do. But the simple truth is that no matter what we do, no matter how many carrier bags we don’t use, no matter how much less water we put in our kettles or flush away, we’re pissing the wind.

The real issue at the heart of it all is there are simply too many people in the world using up increasingly scarce resources. But few people mention this. Politicians don’t. It might be a vote loser. Religious leaders don’t. It means fewer souls to save. Surprisingly few bloggers do. But isn’t it obvious that global over-population is the epicentre of our problems?

I’m not suggesting a nazi-style cull. And I’m not suggesting that the answer is simple or quick. But without dealing with the real issue of too many people, people will start dying:  from starvation, disease and war. We need to face it.

Surely we all have a responsibility to make sure that the children we bring into the world have a planet of glorious, diverse riches worth inhabiting? Jesus won’t save us. Education and condoms will.

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