And as a result, we're losing valuable topsoil 16 times faster than nature can replace it.
We could avoid the worst case scenario if we made a lot of big changes to our food and farm systems. So far, we're not.
Jeremy Grantham, a well-known presence in the financial world, recently published a World View column in the journal Nature in which he concludes that, "simply, we are running out'' of almost all commodities whose consumption sustains modern civilization. There is nothing new about such claims, and since the emergence of a vocal global peak oil movement during the late 1990s, many other minerals have been added to the endangered list. Indeed, there is now a book called Peak Everything. What makes Grantham's column - published under the alarmist headline "Be Persuasive. Be Brave. Be Arrested (If Necessary)" - worth noticing, and deconstructing, is that he puts his claims in terms more suitable for tabloids than for one of the world's oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly magazines.