In the years leading up to 2050, the world’s population is expected to rise to nine billion. However, Europe’s population as a whole is expected to drop from 740 million, as of 2012, to 628 million in 2050. Despite this drop, European leaders and experts expect that they will be plagued with food shortages due to demands in other markets. “Historically, Europe has largely responded to rising domestic food demand by increasing agricultural intensification, with large, heavily-mechanized farms, and pushes to gain more yield from crops and livestock through a mixture of pesticides and herbicides”. However, is this something that can truly continue to work? The European Union appears to believe so, as they’d rather use more ‘green’ approaches to secure their food supply rather than embrace new technology to increase food output, such as genetically modified crops. This is mostly due to public opinion, as a survey in 2005 showed that a majority of Europeans think that genetically modified crops are a risk and morally unacceptable. While there is some truth to these claims, like how genetically modified crops can create super-bugs in the right conditions, it’s not exactly a common occurrence, and when you’re talking about the food security of an entire continent it would be wise to clear up any misconceptions so that you can move forward and be sure that you can provide enough food in the future.
There are also groups out there that are attempting to change the way people eat: The Livewell campaign, a partnership between the Commission, the WWF conservation group and Friends of Europe, a think tank, aims to get consumers to switch to a diet that takes better account of its impacts on the environment, society and the economy. Close to 28% of the greenhouse gas emissions comes from the agricultural sector, if you include processing and transportation, so basically these people are trying to help the environment, and ensure that there’s enough food in the future, by changing what people eat. This, in my opinion, is a ridiculous. While I can understand not wanting to embrace GMO’s just yet, I can’t understand trying to change the diets of people, even if it does have a positive environmental impact. There are other ways of doing this without trying to control how people live.