Thursday, August 7, 2008
Alan Ray : If you remember the 1950s and '60s, you may remember a trip to the supermarket as a very different experience from the one you have today. Fish was largely canned, or sold in the form of frozen fish sticks. Fresh produce sections were usually much smaller. And seldom would you see a leek or a cremini mushroom. Virtually all lettuce was iceberg. "Organic" was a word never heard.
We have a much greater range of food choices now, but in some cases, that increased range of choices comes at a steep environment price. The salmon are disappearing. The Atlantic cod fisheries that helped fuel much of the growth of western civilization have collapsed. Agricultural fertilizer runoff has created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life may never fully recover.
There are seven billion people on the planet now, and maybe 10 billion in 20 years. How do we feed them all? With such arithmetic, the concept of "sustainable" food sources gets much more important. Can we eat well and save the planet?