National Geographic : 2014 May
4 editor’s note photo: jim richardson Food for Thought Food, like water and air, is life. starting this month and continuing through the end of the year, we will focus on food and the challenge of feeding the global population of nine billion projected by 2050. We would do well to pay attention to how our food is produced and whether that is done in a sustainable, efficient, and safe manner. nearly 40 percent of the world’s ice-free land is given over to agriculture. Farming has an impact on our water supply, which can be polluted by pesticides and fertilizer runoff. it affects climate, releasing, by some measures, more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world. dams rearrange and disrupt rivers to provide water for crops. Landscapes are stripped of trees to create cultivable land. to tell the story, we’ll go to savannas in africa, meat-processing plants in Brazil, and fields in the american midwest. to show how food sustains us spiritually, we’ll sit down at dinner tables in mexico, the philippines, Belarus, and pakistan. We’ll look at the farming frontier of the ocean along with the pluses and minuses of aquaculture. as with all resources necessary for life—water, air, energy—need must be balanced with sustain- ability. in meeting our obligation to humanity, we must not neglect our responsibility to the Earth. Find more from national Geographic’s food series at natgeofood.com. tom Giessel harvests wheat on his farm near Larned, Kansas.