Just in time for Hallowe’en, we get the scary news from the UN that the population of the Earth will be reaching 7 billion today (give or take 50 million). According to today’s National Post:
Mounting concern over humanity’s environmental impact and fears that we may not be able to feed ourselves 100 years from now cast a cautionary tone over the buildup to Monday’s milestone.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon told students at a New York school last week: “Seven billion people who need enough food. Enough energy. Good opportunities in life for jobs and education. Rights and freedoms. The freedom to speak. The freedom to raise their own children in peace and security.
“Everything you want for yourself — seven billion times over.”
According to the news article, the population has doubled in only 50 years. We reached 6 billion in 1999.
At the World Food Day event on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also indicated that 1 billion people currently go hungry, and that by 2050 he expects we will be at 9 billion (the National Post article indicated the UN is predicting it will be at 10 billion by 2100). He also said:
To keep pace, food production will need to double.
The wild price swings of recent years, together with the expected impacts of climate change, will make this extremely challenging.
Farmers could well find it too risky to invest in producing more, better-quality food.
Guaranteeing sustainable food and nutrition security for all will require the full engagement of many sectors and actors.
It means pursuing comprehensive approaches, assisting the most vulnerable, listening to rural women, empowering small producers.
It means policies like those advocated by the Scale Up Nutrition movement.
It means strong political commitment, predictable finance, and a focus on results.
This is a big challenge that will need to be tackled by many great minds. No doubt the legal industry will be called upon to help find solutions for lowering risk for farmers and entrepreneurs, developing policy, and enabling innovation.