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When I was in grade school, a popular civics class topic was how to continue to sustain the Earth’s population when it reached 6 billion. In spite of efforts to limit population by some major countries, the Earth’s population is projected to bypass 9 billion by the year 2050. Given that less than 3 percent of the Earth’s water is usable fresh water and far less than that is even accessible, scarcity of fresh water will become an increasingly dire situation. In fact, if current water use trends continue, scientists predict by 2025 1.8 billion people will be living with absolute water scarcity and two-thirds of the global population may be living under water stress conditions.

FutureFood 2050 is a multi-year program highlighting efforts leading to a healthier, safer and better nourished planet capable of feeding those 9 billion-plus people by 2050. Sustainable water is one of the leading topics of this publishing initiative from the Institute of Food Technologists (ITF). The latest FutureFood 2050 interview series focuses on new strategies for smart water management that will help increase the world’s food supply. Since 70 percent of all water use comes from agriculture, scientists and policy makers are seeking ways to reduce the “water footprint,” a measurement of fresh water consumption. They state, “Making efficient use of the global water supply will be essential to feeding the world’s growing population in the years ahead. Climate change is already a factor in more unpredictable water supplies for agriculture and in the increasing acidity of the oceans, potentially affecting harvests of seafood and fish.“

Here is a short infographic video on the salient facts concerning the future of water and food production. Early next year, FutureFood 2050 will debut a documentary film exploring how the science of food will contribute solutions to feeding the world.


A new report released by The Organic Center, “The Role of Organic in Supporting Pollinator Health,” outlines pollinator-friendly techniques used by organic farmers that can also be incorporated into conventional farming. This is timely information given that one of our most important pollinators, bees, have been declining at an alarming rate over the past decade, which represents a threat to global food security. Organic farming, because of the practices it follows, has been demonstrated by a number of studies to support more pollinators than conventional farming.

Benefits of organic farming for pollinators include diversity of habitat in which on average organic farms have more diverse landscapes than conventional farms, providing favorable habitat for pollinators. Pollinators have less exposure to toxic chemicals on organic farms. Organic farming standards largely prohibit organic farmers from using synthetic pesticides and require them to use integrated pest management (IPM) techniques instead of relying solely on pesticides. Organic farms have more food for pollinators because they tend to use techniques such as crop rotations and cover crops, which provide a wide array of nutritious plants from which to collect pollen and nectar. The combination of increased pollinator habitat and food sources with reduced pesticide exposure creates a synergistic effect, resulting in farms that have a large-scale beneficial impact on pollinator health.


What will happen to the world’s economy when the “carbon bubble” bursts? The term refers to the 20 percent of the Earth’s known fossil-fuel reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas that may be exploited in order to meet the targets reaffirmed at the G7 Summit. The remaining 80 percent of fossil fuels cannot be used and are therefore worthless in speculative balance sheets. This question was attempted to be answered recently by 150 delegates to the first ever Berlin Investment Forum in Germany. All shared the common concern that when the carbon bubble bursts, it will negatively impact the global financial system and the world economy.

The financial experts focused on the need for an energy transition, claiming, “Renewable energies are increasingly competitive even without subsidies. They also drastically reduce demand for fossil fuels. It is therefore truly essential that investors make these risks transparent, adjust their balance sheets, and divest themselves of fossil fuels if at all possible.”

Renewable energies already satisfy 75 percent of Germany’s demand in the summer. It is hoped that by 2020, Germany could rely exclusively on electricity generated via renewable sources of energy: Using batteries in electric cars to store energy, increasing the share of solar power from 5 percent to 25 percent, establishing a capacity market for gas-fired power plants, relying on block-type thermal power stations, and retrofitting existing wind turbines with larger rotors for higher base loads. The proponents of this plan say, “Once Germany transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energies, it will be home to the world’s most competitive economy. We can then export our know-how worldwide.”


Other articles of interest in this Summer 2015 TMIS eNewsletter:

* Free service for physicians helps them provide end-of-life care that patients want.

* A recent survey from Reader’s Digest and the Alzheimer’s Association shines new light on the way people think about their brain health and lifestyle choices.

* Data from a survey that reveals the public’s misconceptions regarding heart failure will be used to inform ongoing efforts and outreach to understand and manage this life-threatening condition and major public health issue.

* Latest genetic studies show promise for clinical ways to curb chronic pain without narcotic side effects.

* New survey demonstrates need to clarify conflicting and confusing information about nutrition.

* Two studies presented at the International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis highlight the positive effects of prunes.

* Echinacea preparation is shown to be as effective as Tamiflu in early flu cases in large clinical trial.


I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin

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