Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich paint a bleak picture of what the future will most likely bring:
Our guess is that the most serious threat to global sustainability in the next few decades will be one on which there is widespread agreement: the growing difficulty of avoiding large-scale famines. As the 2013 World Economic Forum Report put it: “Global food and nutrition security is a major global concern as the world prepares to feed a growing population on a dwindling resource base, in an era of increased volatility and uncertainty.” Indeed, the report notes that more than “870 million people are now hungry, and more are at risk from climate events and price spikes.” Thus, measures to “improve food security have never been more urgently needed.”
They acknowledge various essential steps to solving the problem, including a large decline in meat consumption. But they see the key lying in reining in population rises. Empowering all women in the world with effective birth control rights is deemed crucial to this process.
This fits a comment Broome makes in his book about how China, believe it or not, is doing more than many nations to curb climate change and thereby prevent future suffering, just by sticking to its one-child policy.
And let’s just emphasise the fact that 870 million people in our world will go hungry today. We saw yesterday how 40 million tonnes of grain a year would be sufficient to make food poverty history. We currently produce 760 million tones – almost twenty times the amount necessary. The problem, of course, is that 97% of it goes straight into the mouths of animals in order to inefficiently make meat. Yes, I’m going to have no trouble staying far away from this morally bankrupt practice.