Imagine if crop yields across the United States dropped more than 50 percent in a single year. It’s difficult to fathom just how catastrophic this would be—but that’s exactly what’s happening in Ethiopia right now, thanks to a deadly, El Niño-fueled drought.
An analysis of 583 cultures shows that challenging environmental conditions, such as floods and famines, lead cultures to adopt beliefs in moralizing, high gods. The research may help explain how and why certain religions emerged, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
When we talk about a future of drought and water shortages, we're not just talking about the amount of water. We're also talking about how it's distributed — a feature that this world map of the per capita renewable water resources in each country illustrates nicely.
Over the past half-century, a few staple foods like rice and soybeans have come to dominate people's diets all over the world. And this could spell disaster.
New sensor technologies and computer algorithms that allow us to predict earthquakes, floods and famines before they happen. So now we're safe, right? Wrong. The big question is how we'll use this information, and whether we can warn people in time.
The summer of 1816 brought unseasonably cold temperatures to the Northeastern United States, Canada, and Europe. Damaged crops and impeded trade caused widespread famine, leading to skyrocketing food prices, and the deaths of thousands.
We live with the constant threat of famine. Many parts of the world, like Ethiopia, have seen their populations starve repeatedly over the past decades. What's the best way to deal with it? Now, you can decide.
The 1972 book Futures Conditional contains essays and lists from many different futurists of the era. This list of headlines of the near future, by Billy Rojas, presents readers with events that will "probably happen - in some cases undoubtedly happen - although not necessarily in the order presented."
Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, author of the 1968 book The Population Bomb, had some crazy ideas about the future. Ehrlich, so concerned about what he saw as a population explosion, wanted forced birth control, child lotteries and the "spiking of foreign food aid with antifertility drugs."