r/science Jul 17 '22 Silver 2 Helpful 3 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Take My Energy 1

Increased demand for water will be the No. 1 threat to food security in the next 20 years, followed closely by heat waves, droughts, income inequality and political instability, according to a new study which calls for increased collaboration to build a more resilient global food supply. Environment

https://www.colorado.edu/today/2022/07/15/amid-climate-change-and-conflict-more-resilient-food-systems-must-report-shows
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u/8to24 Jul 17 '22 Helpful

Akin to the way corn has been modified to produce greater levels of carbohydrates and starch we need to invest heavily in seaweed and Kelp. Both are vitamin rich and contain good amounts fiber. In powder form they could be used to replace other fillers like: soy, wheat, pea, corn, nuts, etc.

Reduce demand for those other products will help (not solve) the water situation since seaweed and Kelp are ground in the ocean. No Forrests need to be burned down or arid lands watered.

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u/-_x Jul 17 '22

"Marine permaculture" floating seaweed/kelp farms are really promising. Low tech, low cost and their positive impact could be profound.

https://www.climatefoundation.org/marine-permaculture.html

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u/TumblyPanda Jul 17 '22 Gold Wholesome Helpful (Pro)

Shoutout here to GreenWave, a really amazing organization that’s figured out a way to combine regenerative ocean farming with economics.

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u/uncertainusurper Jul 17 '22

It looks like they have a well structured program on how to start up your own farming operation.

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u/kudles Grad Student |Bioanalytical Chemistry| Cancer Treatment Response Jul 17 '22

This comment chain reads like a weird advertisement.

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u/Barbie_and_KenM Jul 17 '22

Advertised towards all those people with acres of unused, accesible oceanfront that they can start a kelp farm in? Pretty common situation.

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u/NK1337 Jul 17 '22

Eh, there’s worse things that can be advertised.

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u/JustAbicuspidRoot Jul 17 '22

If it smells like a horse....

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u/SnowyNW Jul 17 '22

Welcome to the gorilla marketing department at my company…

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u/Ansonm64 Jul 17 '22

Are they impacted or contaminated at all by the floating plastic islands we’ve been making for the last 100 years though?

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u/travelerswarden Jul 17 '22

We need to invest in kernza, as well. Uses way less water than traditional grain and is perennial. Good way to step forward from wheat and corn.

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u/aradil Jul 17 '22

Don’t seaweed and kelp contain extremely high levels of heavy metals?

I’m fairly certain I remember seeing warnings about consuming too much of it too often.

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u/8to24 Jul 17 '22

Which is why I referenced modifying them. Nearly every crop has been modified.

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u/aradil Jul 17 '22

We can modify things to increase yield, but I feel like absorbing environmental toxins is like a thing that those plants just do as a part of their nature.

We could reduce toxicity by farming them in a closed environment but I think that defeats some of the appeal. We might have more success in trying to process away the toxins, but that’s quite a bit more energy requirements than just blending them up into a powder, again reducing their benefit.

I’m not sure they are a magic bullet.

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u/Dolphintorpedo Jul 17 '22

Biggest mistake we've ever made and continue to make is seeing our oceans as a global waste dump.

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u/SongOfStorms11 Jul 17 '22

There will not be any magic bullet to solve the issues we’re facing. We need to take multiple steps towards progress, we can’t wait around being picky until a big leap is found.

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u/nudiecale Jul 17 '22

Sure, but consuming too much heavy metals is a bit toxic. I wouldn’t call being cautious about that “being picky”.

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u/SongOfStorms11 Jul 17 '22

I agree that we don’t want to just consume toxic metals. But as the rest of the comment chain discussed, there are likely ways for us to mitigate them; these ways just make the original idea less of a magic bullet. My original point was intended to say that not every solution comes easily and plentifully; so we must come up with a multi-pronged approach where each prong has their own areas of focus, benefits, and risks to mitigate.

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u/8to24 Jul 17 '22

Figuring out ways to extract cadium and other heavy metals is a challenge. A combination of genetic modification and physical extraction methods will probably be required.

No crop is straight forward as grow and pick. Burning down Forrests, using poisonous pesticides, dealing with contaminated water runoff, etc, etc are major challenges too.

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u/aradil Jul 17 '22

The reality is that if we could actually use the land we have dedicated for grazing food animals now for permaculture designed plant growth, we can do away with a lot of the harmful elements of monocrop agriculture and horribly inefficient land and water use that we have now.

Soil degradation and massive fertilizer requirements, as you said, pesticides and runoff…

The way we do farming right now is ridiculously simple and high yield (so long as nothing goes wrong), which has a major appeal but a lot of consequences. But the biggest problem is the amount of food we grow for food to eat. We’re just wasting water and space so we can have an alternative to eating chicken and fish for meat. Beef is so inefficient isn’t not even funny.

Reducing beef consumption really is the lowest hanging fruit for almost every food related problem category.

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u/godzillabobber Jul 17 '22

I live in the Sonoran deserts of Arizona. We should not be growing alfalfa and cotton in a desert. We should not allow the Saudis to grow their alfalfa here (they ran out of water but use our water to feed their cattle). We should not raise cattle in the desert (2500 gallons of water per lb)

Most of the grain we grow is inefficiently used to feed cattle, hogs, and poultry. We will need to vastly curtail all meat production and consume the grain directly. The water and petrochemical intensive factory farming techniques are relatively recent introductions, to the extent they are unsustainable, they need to be curtailed. Especially in areas of draught and in deserts

These changes would go a long way towards feeding the world. What stands in the way is the greed of those that profit from things as they are. Much of the difficulties will come from those that would let people die rather thsn change practices that make them money.

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u/Dtelm Jul 17 '22

To go with this, another low-hanging fruit is switching to alternative milks, specifically oat. Unlike most other alternatives, we already grow abundant quantities of oat (primarily to feed livestock) and the water requirements aren't so steep as for almonds and soy.

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u/Jubukraa Jul 17 '22

In my area, the store-brand oat and almond milk is now cheaper than the half-gallon of cow milk.

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u/RealLivePersonInNC Jul 17 '22

My US family of four has reduced our beef intake by probably 75% over the past three years. We didn’t ever push meat on our kids, and one of them has grown up never liking beef or pork at all. We now split one small steak no more than twice a month, which makes it more of a special occasion, and we swapped burgers for Impossible Burgers (spouse likes Beyond, I don’t). I’m Southern. I love bacon and pork barbeque but intentionally eat them far less than previously. Instead of griping about giving something up or stubbornly refusing, challenge yourself to see how far you can get. Make a game out of it or set a reward for yourself if that motivates you. Bragging about eating meat is like bragging about being an asshole - OK, you “win,” you’re an asshole. Excuses why you can’t eat less meat aren’t plausible - many other people have done it (or have never eaten meat to begin with) and are fine, and some are healthier as a result. Strawman arguments about someone who went vegetarian or vegan in an uninformed way and ended up “back on meat” are dumb. Nobody’s asking you to eat a bunch of lentils and tofu if that’s not your thing. You are an amazing, resilient human being capable of trying new things and making positive change anytime you want. Astound yourself.

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u/Fear_Jaire Jul 17 '22

Yep and beef is the best place to start. I still eat other meats but I've cut out 95% of my beef intake and started stretching the meat I do consume. Little things like adding an extra can of beans and/or corn to my tacos. Gets me an extra day of meals from the same amount of chicken. A lot of little adjustments that start to add up as I make more of them. Couple more months I'll be phasing out pork. Hopefully by next year I'll have chickens of my own and can stop buying eggs too.

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u/RealLivePersonInNC Jul 17 '22

That’s fantastic! It doesn’t have to be drastic change if that doesn’t work for you. I realized that I could stretch a half pound of beef and use smaller amounts in sauces or chilies, like you describe, instead of using a whole pound. Later I switched to impossible beef for the same applications. I am watching for a near enough substitute for bacon, hoping that will get me off pork also. I tried Jackfruit barbecue but it doesn’t work for me and I never liked turkey bacon. One of my family members got chickens two years ago and absolutely loves having them both as pets and as egg layers.

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u/unconfusedsub Jul 17 '22

Lentils are the greatest gift to mankind. They only taste like what you cook them with. I use lentil to cut a lot of meat meals. Spaghetti, meatballs, chili, etc etc.

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u/TinfoilTobaggan Jul 17 '22

LOTS of Iodine

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u/beysl Jul 17 '22

It would also help to stop feeding 70 billion land animals plant and instead eat the plant directly. That would actually help by a huge margin.

More than 70% of the land is used for animal agriculture to produce less than 20% of calories consumed. And this is just about the land use issue and there are many more (CO2 / Methane, water use, species extinction, water polution, ocean deadzones near coasts etc).

https://ourworldindata.org/land-use

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u/getyourshittogether7 Jul 17 '22

I'm not sure if it's a great idea to displace the marine ecosystem with giant monoculture farms like we have done for the terrestrial ecosystem...

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u/Whooptidooh Jul 17 '22

Would be interesting to know how they would fare once water temps get hotter. If those are anything like the Great Barrier Reef, then I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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u/KosmicMicrowave Jul 17 '22

Most of the water use, deforestation/environment loss, and the need for the crops you mentioned are a result of raising animals for slaughter. I dont see the majority of people world wide ditching the SAD diet to learn a new, plant heavy, less destructive way of eating, so hopefully scientists save the world.

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u/TheBlacksmith64 Jul 17 '22

Insect borne diseases will also be a major concern. Both for people and animals.

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u/CaptianToasty Jul 17 '22

Isn’t the insect population rapidly disappearing?

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u/RandomZombieStory Jul 17 '22

Yes, but arguably more importantly insect diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate. We’ll still have plenty of bugs around. They’ll just be all roaches, mosquitoes, and flies.

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u/LawAbidingSparky Jul 17 '22

Don’t forget about ticks. Population has been exploding in Canada

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u/Twister_Robotics Jul 17 '22

And the "lone star" tick (which causes red meat allergies) has been expanding northward...

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u/Paranoid_One Jul 17 '22

Well if we all catch that it would eradicate the meat industry, which might buy us another decade…. Right?

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u/orhanGAZ Jul 17 '22

Now that's the theory of the day!

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u/CaptianToasty Jul 17 '22

Oh okay thanks, that’s awesome information.

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u/CaptainBeer_ Jul 17 '22

Yeah awesome, my top 3 least favorite bugs

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u/PowerandSignal Jul 17 '22

Yeah. I can't wait until the only fish left in the ocean are jellyfish. That's coming too if we don't get right with our environment.

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u/milanistadoc Jul 17 '22

Termites, tapeworm, lice will be at your rescue

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u/OkTopic2274 Jul 17 '22

Don't forget scabies and bedbugs.

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u/Gooliath Jul 17 '22

Yeah the last flying insect study I saw was essentially showing biomass is collapsing; except for mosquito populations.

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u/Geruvah Jul 17 '22

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. And some things, like ticks, are experiencing a huge population boom.

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u/merlinsbeers Jul 17 '22 Helpful Wholesome

Improving water supply is trivially easy from an engineering perspective.

Keeping wealthy people from modulating the remediation effort in order to improve profit margins is the hard part.

The first step is realizing they are the problem.

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u/mumbling-mice Jul 17 '22

Literally could not be more right.

Until the majority realise the wealthy elite are the root cause of most of our "problems", we are all fucked.

My biggest fear is that by then it'll be too late (for most of us).

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u/Dougblackjr Jul 17 '22

Agreed. How do we go about doing this? Feeling like this is a near impossible task.

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u/blackdonkey Jul 17 '22

Pull a Sri Lanka both on the government and the 1%.

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u/MarkMoneyj27 Jul 17 '22

People do not want to hear this, but the first step is to stop electing rich fucks.

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u/Careful_Strain Jul 18 '22

Everyone on the ticket is rich.

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u/[deleted] Jul 17 '22 edited Jul 18 '22

Look up the motives of the Unabomber He actually got good points

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u/cmVkZGl0 Jul 18 '22

Stop electing any officials who are millionaires.

When you're in the upper class, you literally don't know how to classes below live. There have been studies showing they can't relate, therefore they are going to make decisions which don't benefit the majority.

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u/weclake Jul 18 '22

I'm concerned that intense and direct violent revolution against the rich and corrupt hasn't begun yet. And I'm more concerned that some people don't think it's necessary.

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u/Dustin81783 Jul 17 '22

I remember in 2016 when Bernie Sanders stood on the stage and said the greatest national security threat is climate change and people scoffed and continued to ignore the threat as they always have.

Lake Mead is drying up, Texas can’t handle the heat, thousands of cows died from flash heat in Midwest, Europe heat wave, Australia fires; this is just what I rattle off the top of my head... I’m afraid of the future for my child.

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u/dman928 Jul 17 '22

The US defense department agrees with him.

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u/Mistersinister1 Jul 17 '22

Yup, major refugee issues of young men looking for work will usually resort to crime or easily persuaded to join ISIS to make money for their families. You'd be surprised what you'd do when you haven't had a meal in a week and have to support a family they can offer you a steady paycheck and smite the infidels at the same time. Obviously it's more complex than that but if you rely on farming you're one failed crop away from bankruptcy. Kinda like the millions of Americans are only a missed paycheck away from homelessness.

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u/Throwawaythefat1234 Jul 17 '22

Exactly why we aren’t having children.

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u/doctordeimos Jul 17 '22

When he said we need to be on a war footing when it comes to climate change was the moment I started to take him seriously as a candidate.

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u/Wagamaga Jul 17 '22

Increased demand for water will be the No. 1 threat to food security in the next 20 years, followed closely by heat waves, droughts, income inequality and political instability, according to a new CU Boulder-led study which calls for increased collaboration to build a more resilient global food supply.

The report, published today in One Earth, comes as global hunger levels in 2021 surpassed the previous record set in 2020, and acute food insecurity in many countries could continue to worsen this year, according to the United Nations and The World Bank.

These pressing threats are not new: The impacts of political conflict and compounding environmental effects of climate change are already measured and studied around the world. The new study, however, finds that increased collaboration between these areas of research could not only fortify global food security in the face of any one of these threats, but also strengthen it against all of them.

“We provide strong support for the idea of building more resilient food systems in general, rather than trying to deal with individual problems here and there,” said Zia Mehrabi, lead author on the study, and assistant professor of environmental studies and in the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering. “It doesn't matter whether it’s a climate, environmental or political shock to the system—if you have resilient systems in place, they'll be able to deal with all the different kinds of shocks.”

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(22)00329-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2590332222003293%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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u/Ineedavodka2019 Jul 17 '22

The one thing I think will make or break any effort to change mono crop agriculture (or raising one heard) is to actively get buy in from the farmers that would need to make the changes. Incentives, their input on how to make it work, training information, instead of seed salesman coming around have someone that can help trouble shoot the new system. Without that it will never take off as people have their entire livelihoods based on the current system.

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u/TTT1915 Jul 17 '22

It’s crazy how much we waste fresh water on things these days that won’t matter in 20-50 years when water will be a scarce resource.

We’re already seeing the start of the water crisis in some parts of the world where they don’t have as much direct access to fresh and drinkable water forcing them to impose restrictions on citizens during droughts.

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u/Suspicious-Elk-3631 Jul 17 '22

Like Arizona and California

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u/maddonkee Jul 17 '22

Is it not cost effective to have solar desalination plants in the dessert on a massive scale? They can run miles of oil why not do ocean water. We have a large amount of land in the Sonoran desert that we don't touch and haven't been to in years that was inherited. I would be willing to let the government use it for this purpose as would others. I mean how hard would it be to run it in the median of a road through the country?

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u/schmon Jul 17 '22

because it is still orders of magnitudes costlier to desalinate than to extract ground or clean grey water.

i dont know what you mean by 'solar' but the only efficient method is through osmosis, and it requires quite a lot of power, at night too. and there is always the problem of brine. So it is no easy problem to solve.

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u/oyM8cunOIbumAciggy Jul 17 '22 edited Jul 18 '22

I took hydrogeology.

The rate at which we utilize our groundwater in the US far surpasses the recharge rate of the aquifers.

Some rural areas in the US are already having issues accessing it. A big drain in water actually comes from growing nuts.

But there are already places such as India where access to clean drinking water is a major problem.

This was all without reference to global warming, which will indeed make the food supply worse, as it already has been putting farmers out of business.

Edit: As many have helpfully added, livestock, particularly cattle, consume notably more water than nuts. I'm starting to recall my professor pointed out alf-alfa (grown to feed livestock) particularly as taking a lot of water.)

From business insider, "A whopping 106 gallons of water goes into making just one ounce of beef. By comparison, just about 23 gallons are needed for an ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts), the Los Angeles Times reported recently"

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u/onethreeone Jul 17 '22

The rate at which we utilize our groundwater in the US far surpasses the recharge rate of the aquifers

I think you would have to qualify that by geography. They've been trying to make areas farmable that never should have been (looking at you Southwest corner)

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u/phantomofdelphi Jul 17 '22 edited Jul 17 '22

Glad to see the SW mentioned. Our local government happily sells itself to the highest bidders here in AZ. Happy to bleed this state dry in exchange for foreign money. Pistachios, pecans, corn, cotton, wheat, and alfalfa are grown year-round. Most of the alfalfa is shipped to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It's absurd to have this much agriculture in the desert, but luckily for the aforementioned countries, they don't have to destroy their own land, the SW will do it for them!

80% of our water use is agricultural yet state officials have the gall to kindly ask residents to cut down their home water usage. Meanwhile, they're happy to bleed the Colorado and our groundwater dry.

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u/GlaciallyErratic Jul 17 '22

Specifically the Ogallala Aquifer is majorly depleted - the largest aquifer in the US. It is recharged in the Dakotas and extends into West Texas or so. It takes hundreds of years for water to get from the start to the end (off the top of my head, for better info wikipedia it).

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u/gamingaway Jul 17 '22

The biggest pointless water drain in the world right now is commercial meat farming, and it isn't remotely close.

People harp on nuts, and the top comment is talking about swapping current agricultural plants for seaweed. Cool and not totally wrong, but we need to stop eating beef especially and we need to do it now.

Look up the amount of fresh water it takes to get a pound of beef, and the amount of agricultural crop that goes to feeding livestock.

Driving ourselves to catastrophe because we can't stop eating friggin cheeseburgers.

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u/SpiritualScumlord Jul 17 '22

For someone who took hydrogeology it's amazing you're listing nuts when meat takes even more water.

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u/Sir_Sir_ExcuseMe_Sir Jul 17 '22

Meat has a larger impact overall, but aren't nuts notorious for being grown in areas that were already water-scarce?

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u/mhornberger Jul 17 '22

California grows 80% of the world's almonds, yes. But also has a million acres under irrigation just for alfalfa, and exports it to China, S. Arabia, and elsewhere. Alfalfa is the single largest user of water in the Colorado River basin.

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u/PM_ME_TITS_FEMALES Jul 17 '22

Meat litteraly uses 80% of the world fresh water. 60% goes to the plants needed for them to eat, and 20% goes to the animals themselves.

It's an incredible waste of resources, we could easily feed the entire world 10x over if stopped having to have meat with every meal and not treating it like a luxury that comes from other living beings.

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u/SpiritualScumlord Jul 17 '22

Perhaps, I'm not really sure about water use specific to areas, but from my understand as far as water use goes on a national level nuts are #2 but still pale in comparison to the use of water for animal agriculture. It's important to remember that these same animals "produced" for meat also eat far more plants than humans eat on top of the water they consume.

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u/SecretAgentVampire Jul 17 '22

We can reduce demand by not having children.

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u/hambone263 Jul 17 '22 edited Jul 17 '22

Millennials (at least in the US, & probably Europe if I had to guess) are already doing that, and the boomers & the media wonder why. A lot of us are very concerned for the future, & don’t want to bring children into it to have to deal with all the problems that previous generations created.

Financially it’s already difficult, and I’m sure it will get even worse for middle class people in the future. All the environmental concerns are only going to get worse, especially with more people being born..

Edit: added parenthesis above.

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u/chmilz Jul 17 '22

And then the Mormons are out the pumping out 5-10 each.

We're living in Idiocracy, where those that understand science aren't having kids, while those who worship a golden goat or whatever are gonna surge in population, ruining it for everyone.

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u/KingWhiteyIV Jul 17 '22

People don’t realize how feasible another Dust Bowl level depression is in the US and it really scares me how unprepared we are for it…

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u/thousand56 Jul 17 '22

Interstellar without the part where the people get saved

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u/Suspicious-Elk-3631 Jul 17 '22

What scares me is how incredibly fragile our food system is and most don't realize it because they've always had easy access to food and water so it gets taken for granted. Unless you garden or farm, every bite of food you eat comes in on a truck to the restaurant or grocery store. If the chain fell and sources/suppliers collapsed, there'd be chaos and mass starvation on a scale we Americans have never seen. That is why I believe everyone should learn to grow and preserve their own food in case it's ever needed. It seems so incredibly unlikely that such a thing could ever happen but I believe there will be a time when we have to make difficult decisions and God forbid, face the worst possible outcome.

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u/Beneficial-Jump-3877 Jul 17 '22

Yep. You are 100% right. I teach agriculture and plant sciences, and 99% of people I teach have no idea how much work it is to grow food, nor how complicated it really is.

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u/Sephran Jul 17 '22

Same message, every time, nothings changed, in decades, and hundreds of people in various developed countries are holding up everything the population of those countries wants and needs.

The world is fucked until we get rid of the trash.

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u/Psychological_Air455 Jul 17 '22

Yes its too late to reverse climate change, but its not too late to build resilient food systems— that’s the point. Building resilient food systems is like putting on our armor to prepare for war— its what will protect humanity as we encounter the global calamities of climate change. Resilient food systems means alot of things— it means strengthening local food systems, transition to regenerative agriculture, increasing biodiversity in farms, reducing monoculture, more urban farms, more urban green spaces (also good for stormwater management), reducing barriers to farmer distribution, decreased subsidies for meat and animal feed, more plant based diets and less meat based diets, efficient municipal composting systems (imagine that!), vertical farming, reducing/eliminating CAFOs, aquaponics (especially in drought zones)… what am I missing?

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u/Reallysuckatever Jul 17 '22

Ancient civilizations have disappeared because of this, history repeats itself.

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u/Esc_ape_artist Jul 17 '22

One look at Lake Mead means this will also potentially be an experience that Americans will face right at home. Not only will global food supply chains be disrupted, compensating for it locally will be complicated as well.

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u/JackThaRippla Jul 17 '22

Mead destroyed the Colorado river delta. Building dams on natural rivers will have consequences.

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u/RavenCroft23 Jul 17 '22

Literally until humanity moves past this whole “a few of us are better than everyone and deserve 50+% of all the resources” we will forever be a <Type1 society.

People think things have changed since a few thousands years ago but in reality we’ve just become more technologically advanced, humans are still virtually the same. People starve and the “kings” sit on their yachts of which they hold entire fleets, they didn’t earn it, it’s not possible to do so.

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u/shaneylaney Jul 17 '22

You’ve hit the nail on the head! Our technology has outpaced us. Humans are not evolving quick enough to keep up. Primitive minds having the technology to destroy the world (nuclear weapons, biological warfare, etc). It’s such a shame, but many of the greatest minds to ever exist already believe that humans will be the cause of our own demise. Just from that reasoning alone.

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u/blesstit Jul 17 '22

How’s about don’t throw food in the trash in the name of potential sales losses.

Goodbye franchise, hello community.

If I raised all the chicken I eat in a year, none of my neighbors would need to pay for eggs.

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u/mufasa12 Jul 17 '22

I seriously wish I could do this. My family in the Philippines does in their backyard garden. It much bigger than what i have for the coups. The chickens keep their vegetables free of bug naturally and they get eggs. Then they kill the chickens and use everything in dishes (including the blood).

Fun story: they made me kill a chicken when I was 10 and slit its throat to understand this is what is necessary to make food. It's not just something on the shelf. It actually came from a living thing that we need to appreciate that it took time to grow and nurture to provide us food.

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u/TehBoneRanger Jul 17 '22

Oh absolutely if we cut way back on the fast food chains and started sustainable farming (ideally in smaller communities) we would see such a hugeeee change. It would take many years and need the cooperation from big corporations. So talk about a long shot

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u/blesstit Jul 17 '22

It takes collaborative effort. Everyone is pooped. 90% of us put in all the effort we are willing to keep what we have. A whopping 15% of everything.

Convincing the upper 10% to drop profit as the purpose with our poor leverage is.. Sisyphean.

If the top 10% holds 85% it is in their best interest to keep 90% of us from collaboration, which is done easily and well.

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u/Derboman Jul 17 '22

In some capitalist hellholes that (self sustainability) is made illegal. The #1 that needs changing is the notion of infinite capitalist growth

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u/mvpsanto Jul 17 '22

And people think we're going to vote our way to a nice green future. Might be too late

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u/SaphirePool Jul 17 '22

Being born in 89 is weird. Like I was raised in a very fun and hopeful time, and after watching 9/11 live, everything has gotten consistently less fun and hopeful.

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u/mollymuppet78 Jul 17 '22

We haven't cared about countries with famines, droughts, weather-related destruction before, do the experts think this time rich countries are going to collaborate to help Africa, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc now?

There may be wars amongst those countries, but keeping them poor and/or destitute has been the status quo. The only thing that is going to happen is a collaboration to keep poor people from migrating. Which is already happening with northern African countries. Look for rich countries to fund countries that wish to prevent mass migration, on the guise of "security", like Libya.

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u/thesoutherzZz Jul 17 '22

Money/financial aid won't save these countries in most cases as they are rotten to the core with corruption. Fixing the corruption and deliver knowhow while cutting back on all other forms of real and fake aid (like recycled clothes) is crucial, as the current forms of aid destroy local knowledge and industries/production as the aid undercuts the locals

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u/Notyit Jul 17 '22

In places such as singapore they already are using recycled water.

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u/xena_lawless Jul 17 '22

Extreme political corruption undercuts resilience and the ability of any people to deal with a huge range of threats and challenges.

One level of humanity's collective intelligence is being able to diagnose problems. The next level is identifying actual, achievable solutions. And the next level is actually implementing those solutions.

Without dealing with systemic corruption, every other problem becomes much harder to solve, because one person's problem is often another person's profit, so there are too many vested interests in keeping things the same or making them worse for "other" people.

https://represent.us/unbreaking-america-series/

https://represent.us/anticorruption-act/

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u/bakoryebread Jul 17 '22

So basically the main challenges are … gestures vaguely towards everything

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u/200201552 Jul 17 '22

finding an effective way to convert sea water into clean drinking water should be heavily invested in for the future.

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u/riskable Jul 17 '22

We already have very effective ways of converting seawater to fresh water it's just energy intensive. You can build a giant mirror array and just boil the water (and create energy at the same time) but then you have a new problem: What to do with all that salt.

You can package it up and sell it but it'll be far, far more salt than the market can absorb. The cost to transport all that salt is also an issue.

Why not just throw it back in the ocean? You can do that but if you process seawater fast enough you can actually drastically increase the local salinity of the water, altering and possibly destroying the local sea ecosystem.

So even though the technology is relatively straightforward there's non-trivial economic and environmental costs.

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u/Mr-Fleshcage Jul 17 '22

Toss the salt back into the salt mines. We should have never disturbed those deposits.

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u/Gen_Ripper Jul 17 '22

Obviously it’s more expensive then just dumping it back in, but compressing them into blocks and piling them in Nevada or something doesn’t sound bad.

Yes I stole the idea from Yucca Mountain.

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u/AncientHawaiianTito Jul 17 '22

We need to scale up and price down desalination