Oceana Magazine: Summer/Fall 2013

Reservations For 9 Billion Please

By Andy Sharpless and Suzannah Evans

This is an excerpt from the second chapter of The Perfect Protein: A Fish Lover’s Guide to Saving the Oceans and Feeding the World, by Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless and Suzannah Evans. Learn more about the book and get your copy at www.theperfectprotein.com.

If the dawn of modern humanity was prompted by the availability of nourishing fat, then the twenty-first century may repeat that story, only this time through a fun-house mirror. An obesity epidemic looms today just as surely as hunger crises multiply.

Homo sapiens is the dominant species onEarth. We’ve colonized nearly every corner of our planet, creating pockets of incredible wealth as well as valleys of famine and despair. A common way to look at the world today is through the lens of the haves and the have nots. But let us suggest another way: Humanity in the twenty-first century may be divided between two groups that we can call the “fats” and the “thins.”

We have the technical ability to feed the world already, and quite fully. If you added up all the world’s food and divided by the number of people on Earth, each person would have 2,700 calories a day—plenty for survival. But, of course, famine still happens. Nearly a billion people on Earth are hungry, while another billion are overweight. Still another half billion are obese.