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GoldLab Symposium 2015 - Paul Ehrlich, Ph.D.

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Published on Jun 11, 2015

Diet and Hunger: The Weakest Parts of the Global “Health Care” System

In the U.S, and the rest of the world, it would be more honest to call the “health care” system a “health repair” system. Today some two to three billion people are food-insecure. Roughly 800 million are hungry
and another perhaps two billion are micronutrient malnourished. Almost all of these people have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to disease.

Interactions between the biophysical and social dimensions of the food problem are daunting. Meeting human nutritional needs means increasing agricultural production some 70% to 100% by 2050 in
response to a growing population, rising demand in emerging economies for meat-rich diets, and increasing competition from biofuels. Such a production increase will create pressure to expand the already-dangerous fossil fuel subsidy to agriculture. The results will be more greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, and
likely higher food prices.

Perhaps the biggest uncertainty is whether key politicians will recognize the population-food-health crisis and provide the leadership necessary to avoid a calamitous loss of food security and, thus, the loss of health and well-being.

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