• Categories

  • Most Popular Questions

  • Recently Viewed Questions

  • Recent Answers

    How To Make a Digita… on What does a frequency of 100 H…
    Daigrepont on Can an earthquake cause air tu…
    Benedict on How did God come into exi…
    joshua on How does the human body g…
    Ian on How did God come into exi…
  • Recent Questions

  • Blog Stats

    • 2,209,359 hits
  • Visitors since 11-3-08

    counter create hit
  • Terms and Conditions

  • Warning

    We are doing maintenance on this site, so some posts may disappear for a short time. Sorry. Normal service will soon be resumed...
  • Pages

  • March 2008
    M T W T F S S
    « Feb   Apr »
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Archives

  • Meta

What is the total population that could be sustained?

johnd_200x200.jpg 

John Denham is the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

What is the total population that could be sustained in the uk if we had to grow all our own food (assuming a diet for optimum nutrition, not gourmands)?

Advertisements

One Response

  1. Dear John, Between 50 and 500 million. However, underlying your question there are important questions about energy, trade and politics. Can we continue to use offshore UK oil and gas and imported energy to produce fertilizers and pesticides and to power agriculture and the food industry? If so, then the sky is the limit and the UK could theoretically support many times its existing population. Energy intensive indoor cultivation systems with 24hr artificial lighting are extremely productive per unit area. The limiting factors would be environmental and we would need large scale aquaculture of species like mussels to mop up the excess nutrients flowing into the sea. (You mentioned that the diet needs to be optimised so you would need a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids such as mussels anyway). Intensive agriculture of heavy croppers like maize, potatoes and soya, supported by unlimited energy supplies and combined with mussel aquaculture could see the UK feeding 500 million people, easily. But people would soon tire of mussels, chips and corn tortillas so it’s questionable if this would really be a ‘sustainable’ scenario.

    On the other hand, if you cut out the energy inputs, particularly the fossil fuels, then UK agricultural output would shrink and the existing population would need to become more vegetarian in its eating habits to survive without food imports. This would probably not be a socially sustainable scenario either. Above all, remeber that self-sufficiency can be a dangerous objective. North Korea has attempted to become self-sufficient in food but by denying itself the benefits of international trade it has only succeeded in starving its own people and hurting its neighbours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: