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Longreads: Peak Planet, Weight of Nations, Sahel Drought, Organic Farming in Africa

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LongreadsFood security and sustainability were among the keywords of the G20 summit and Rio+20 this month. As droughts plagued several regions of the world, many people asked whether the land and ocean will be able to support an estimated 9 billion people in 2050. Writing in the New Scientist, Fred Pearce takes a long look at our prospects in “Peak Planet: Are We Starting to Consume Less?” A new report published by the British Medical Council would seem to belie a trend toward lower consumption. “Weight of Nations” finds that higher levels of obesity could threaten future food security (also see the Weight of Nations Interactive visualization in the Guardian). An analysis in Al Jazeera lends insight into the causes of the decades-long drought and food insecurity in Africa’s Sahel. National Geographic looks at how Uganda’s low-tech farming practices might begin to pay off.

New Scientist: Peak Planet: Are We Starting to Consume Less?
Can we live long and prosper without demanding ever more from a finite planet?

BMC Bio-Medical Central: The Weight of Nations: an Estimation of Adult Human Biomass
Increasing population obesity could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth.


Al Jazeera: Analysis: Understanding the Sahel drought
Decades-long droughts in the Sahel have occurred regularly over the past 12,000 years. 


National Geographic: Uganda’s Household Farmers Become Organic Exporters

In a modern world where the demand for organic products is growing as quickly as any crop, older agricultural practices common in Least Developed Countries have created some new opportunity.


Longreads is a new, regular feature on the Voices blog highlighting development research and in-depth reporting.


Donna Barne

Corporate Writer, World Bank

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