A new book called “Feeding Everyone No Matter What”, written by Joshua Pearce, who is an associate professor at Michigan Technological University and David Denkenberger, a research associate at the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, suggests that, given a catastrophic global disaster scenario, food would be enough to sustain most people, but this remaining food might not be so appealing or even tasty. The authors believe that even some of the worst possible scenarios of the end of the world, like a nuclear winter or an asteroid strike, are set to leave behind enough resources for most people to survive on. One of these not so tasty edibles, according to them, would be bacterial slime. Pearce explains:
We are talking about humans eating mostly bacteria-digested biomass, and let’s just say that you are unlikely to see it on a menu at any restaurant, unless the sun gets blocked.Joshua Pearce
On this research, they looked at five crop-destroying catastrophes, such as major weed infestation, disruptive bacteria, sudden extreme climate change, escalation of pest populations and “super-pathogens”. Not only that, they also took into account three sunlight extinguishing events, an asteroid or comet impact, nuclear winter and an enormous volcanic eruption.
As for a not so horrible food option, they say would be edible mushrooms. They can be grown using rotting woody plant fibers that should still be available after a disaster and are one nutrient providing food that will usually grow easily, without much space or light.
Not only thinking about an end of the world scenario, the researchers also focused on the fact that the current food supply is not enough for the entire world, with horrible things such as feast or famine still very much a reality for many.
Pearce says: “Every 10 seconds, a child dies of hunger and hunger-related disease somewhere in the world. It is 2014. That is simply unacceptable. We as a society need to fix it now. We hope that some of our solutions for these severe situations can help improve food supplies now for people that need it.
This archive content was originally published November 23, 2014 (www.betawired.com)