Thursday, 27 November 2008

future dietary habits

the worlds population is set to increase to just over 9 billion by 2050 (United Nations and Wikipedia World_population_estimates)) and the amount of arable land is declining due to global warming, soil erosion, desertification, other human uses and contamination by pollutants. we already have trouble feeding the people that exist (approx 6.7 billion) so how will we feed an extra 3 billion?

it is true that estimates and predictions are inexact and that we could do better with what we have but even blind freddy can see that ignoring the problem could lead to disaster. it might help if we wasted less and ate less but there is no indication of that happening soon. turning vegetarian would help, as the land needed to feed livestock could feed more people than the animal protein it produces. current trends however, are moving in the opposite direction - meat is forming an increasing part of the worlds diet.

so where can we find a protein source that isn't being diminished by the encroachment of an increasing human population? could it be that future generations will have to adjust their attitudes in order to include the deceased in their diet? i am not suggesting that it will be ever be palatable to carry a recently departed loved one straight into the kitchen for the evening meal but given the lax (non-existant) ethics of factory food production, our ability to turn a blind eye and the expertise of spin doctors everywhere, we may yet turn to cannibalism.

technology or biology or both could be used to process cadavers into a product that we could pretend was something else. branding and spin could accomplish the rest.

there are aspects of the future that i'd like to hang around for but this isn't one of them so i guess there will come a time for me to say adieu... and perhaps bon apetit.

if you have any comments on this idea or any other ideas about the future of the earth? share them on http://www.utterli.com/futureworld - what a bloody mess

p.s. this is not an original idea, it was explored in the film soylent green amongst other places.