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When you picture the Earth, you probably image a sphere with lots of blue water and green land. Well, according to a new study, that land you’re imagining is turning from green to brown and it spells devastation for our global food system. Yeah, it’s not good.

The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures discovered that around one-third of the planet’s arable land (i.e. land that is suited for growing crops, excluding deserts, ice, etc), has been destroyed by erosion or pollution in the past 40 years alone.


According to the to study’s authors, the loss was “catastrophic” and near irreversible without major changes to agricultural practice. Considering 33 percent of land worldwide is occupied with growing livestock feed and another 26 percent is being used to graze animals for consumption … we have to say we absolutely agree with the whole “catastrophic” thing … in fact, that might not even do it justice.

While this news is absolutely ridiculous, the reality is that we can all do something about this, starting today. By shifting our diets away from animal agriculture and towards more plant-based foods, we can redirect enough grain to feed 1.4 billion people.

By 2050, there will be 9 BILLION people on the planet and in order to produce enough food to get close to feeding everyone, we’ll need 50 percent MORE land if we continue on business as usual. Since land doesn’t grow on trees (and the trees aren’t doing so hot either), we can start by making a simple change in the way we eat.

To learn more about how you can make a difference for the planet through your food choices, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement.

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Lead image source: Moran Bren/Flickr 

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16 comments on “Earth is Running Out of Land … Seriously. And It’s Going to Spell Disaster for Our Food System”

Click to add comment
2 Years Ago

they are afraid that we will run out of land.energy and minerals

Maggie Brotherston
2 Years Ago

Birth Control.

Terri Fisk
2 Years Ago

It's also going to be devastating to the Wildlife! So much of the forests and waterways have already been destroyed! Rethink the destruction, people. DESTROY THE PLANET, AND YOU DESTROY YOURSELVES!

Julia Fridman
2 Years Ago

OR there could be a one child policy per country. That would solve things quick!

Vaishali Joglekar
2 Years Ago

NO ! WRONG TITLE ! It should be "Humans try to inhabit everything... Seriously. And it's spelling disaster for Mother Earth." Screw "our" food system. When did we decide to hijack ecology for our ravenous appetites anyway? Let's decimate our numbers - and for the love of God - give the land back to other lifeforms.

Eric Davis
2 Years Ago

I take it you've never been to Wyoming, Idaho, or pretty much anyplace where there is tons of wide open spaces

Rose Sanchez
2 Years Ago

Stop inefficient factory farming especially watering and feeding inefficient cattle, change human eating habits, stop wasting food/natural resources, human birth control, stop dumping pesticides and chemicals in water, land, and air, recycle, be energy and water efficient, cremation, get rid of golf courses/swimming pools, more efficient building/land development, stop pollution, find ways to reverse climate change, etc.

Merek Haterism
2 Years Ago

Grow veggies in space

Ariane Holzhauer
2 Years Ago

Here's a thought: our food system could also stand not to have so much WASTED in it. Let's start there.

Monty Foley
2 Years Ago



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