Is there enough land area on the planet for 7 – 11 billion people to live, grow enough food and still retain natural habitats and spaces ?
You might have heard the term ecological footprint – an expression of how much of the Earth’s surface it takes to provide your lifestyle in a sustainable way. The sustainable ecological capacity of the planet is estimated to be around 1.8 global hectares per person – unfortunately across the globe we now average more than 2.7 global hectares per person, with the average Britain requiring 4.89 global hectares, the average Australian 6.84 global hectares and American 8.00 global hectares. This compares with the average Chinese requiring 2.21 global hectares, the average Indian 0.91 global hectares, and the average Afghan only 0.62 global hectares ! [data].
The idea of vertical farming is one possible way to help overcome this problem – by effectively creating more productive land area for the cultivation of food, and in a sustainable way.
Several architects and designers have developed ideas, and several authors, notably Professor Dickson Despommier, have written extensively about the concept in recent years and many now believe the world’s first vertical farms will shortly be built.
Photo by Gordon Graff, via Wikicommons