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Five ways to feed billions without trashing the planet

October 14, 2011
"For the first time, we have shown that it is possible to both feed a hungry world and protect a threatened planet. It will take serious work. But we can do it."
- Jonathan Foley, head of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment

How do we feed the human population—which continues to rise and is expected to hit nine billion by 2050—while persevering the multitude of ecosystem services that supporting global food production? A new study in Nature proposes a five-point plan to this dilemma.

"Lots of other scholars and thinkers have proposed solutions to global food and environmental problems. But they were often fragmented, only looking at one aspect of the problem at one time. And they often lacked the specifics and numbers to back them up," says Navin Ramankutt, a co-author of the study from McGill University. "This is the first time that such a wide range of data has been brought together under one common framework, and it has allowed us to see some clear patterns. This makes it easier to develop some concrete solutions for the problems facing us."

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