31 August 2011 –  From ABC online: People have two sets of needs – sociability and sustenance, says Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City and lecturer at Cambridge University.

“They are in conflict, because the more we cluster together in villages, towns and eventually cities, the further we get from our sources of sustenance,” she says.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, more than 50 per cent of humanity now live in cities and that figure is rising.

But while cities are good at generating jobs and providing us with social stimulation, they’re less effective at providing food or recycling their energy, water and nutrients.

“The people who plan cities are ignorant when it comes to what human beings need for survival.  Cities are quite good at providing water; they are hopeless at providing food,” says author of The Coming Famine, Julian Cribb.

Rapid urbanisation means the situation needs to change, and fast.

“By 2030 there’ll be many cities with 30 million people. If those cities produce none of their own food, they’re totally dependent on a river of trucks.

“If that river fails {due to an oil crisis, a local war, or a disaster like the Queensland floods}  those cities would be starving within three days,” Cribb says.

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