[Paleopsych] BBC: Hungry world 'must eat less meat'

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Sat Aug 21 20:27:21 UTC 2004

Hungry world 'must eat less meat'
    By Alex Kirby
    BBC News Online environment correspondent

    Highland cattle BBC
    Livestock needs a lot of water

    World water supplies will not be enough for our descendants to enjoy
    the sort of diet the West eats now, experts say.

    The World Water Week in Stockholm will be told the growth in demand
    for meat and dairy products is unsustainable.

    Animals need much more water than grain to produce the same amount of
    food, and ending malnutrition and feeding even more mouths will take
    still more water.

    Scientists say the world will have to change its consumption patterns
    to have any realistic hope of feeding itself.

    Losing the race

    The World Water Week conference is held annually in the Swedish
    capital, and is organised by the Stockholm International Water
    Institute, Siwi. This year's runs from 15 to 21 August.

    It's going to be almost impossible to feed future generations the kind
    of diet we have now in western Europe and North America

    Anders Berntell, Stockholm International Water Institute

    Siwi says: "With about 840 million people undernourished or lacking a
    secure food supply today, and another two billion or more people... by
    2025, feeding the world's growing population - and finding the water
    to grow the food - continues to be a basic and sizeable challenge."

    A paper to be delivered during the conference, entitled Water: More
    Nutrition Per Drop, says: "For several decades, the increase in food
    production has outpaced population growth. Now much of the world is
    simply running out of water for more production... "

    The World Health Organisation calls malnutrition "the silent
    emergency", and says it is a factor in at least half the 10.4 million
    child deaths which occur every year.

    Grain in Ethiopian market A Kirby
    Grain goes far to feed the world

    Anders Berntell, Siwi's executive director, told BBC News Online: "The
    basic problem is that food is the main global consumer of water, with
    irrigation taking 70% or more of all the water we use, apart from huge
    volumes of rainwater.

    "The bottom line is that we've got to do something to reduce the
    amount of water we devote to growing food today.

    Upturn in demand

    "Animals fed on grain, and also those which rely on grazing, need far
    more water than grain crops.


    A kilogram of grain-fed beef needs at least 15 cubic metres of water
    A kilo of lamb from a sheep fed on grass needs 10 cubic metres
    A kilo of cereals needs from 0.4 to 3 cubic metres

    "But in the developed world, and in parts of some developing
    countries, consumers are demanding more meat.

    "Of course people should have healthier diets and a higher intake of
    nutrients: we don't want to stop that.

    Slow to dawn

    "But it's going to be almost impossible to feed future generations the
    kind of diet we have now in western Europe and North America.

    Hamburger in bun BBC
    Meat is a treat for the rich

    "Most of us don't appreciate, either politically or personally, the
    challenge of finding enough water to grow enough food, though in some
    countries it's a problem of everyday living.

    "I think the world's future water supply is a problem that's an entire
    order of magnitude greater than we've begun to realise."

    Mr Berntell said the rich would be able to buy their way out of
    trouble by importing "virtual water" - the water needed to grow the
    food they bought from abroad.

    He said: "The transport of virtual water is huge. Australians were
    astonished to find that although their country is short of water,
    they're net exporters of water in the form of meat."

    [43]Better diet 'would save millions'
    17 Jun 04  |  Health
    [44]World population growth 'falling'
    23 Mar 04  |  Americas
    [45]Thirsty Africa faces food crisis
    02 Nov 03  |  Science/Nature
    [46]UN warns of future water crisis
    05 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
    [47]The Water Debate
    [48]World Water Crisis
    [49]Stockholm International Water Institute
    [50]United Nations Population Fund
    [51]Particle collider edges forward
    [52]Virtual veins give nurses a hand
    [53]Avian flu 'discovered in pigs'
    [54]Corncrake enjoys resurgence


   43. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3814925.stm
   44. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3560433.stm
   45. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3226995.stm
   46. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2820831.stm
   47. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2003/world_forum/water/default.stm
   48. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2000/world_water_crisis/default.stm
   49. http://www.siwi.org/
   50. http://www.unfpa.org/
   51. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3583658.stm
   52. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3576664.stm
   53. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3583856.stm
   54. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3581002.stm

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