In 70,000 years, Homo sapiens has grown from thousands of hunter-gatherers teetering on the brink of extinction to a global population of 7.7 billion. We have peopled the planet through our growing capacity for harvesting energy from our environment: food from plants, labour from animals and energy from fossil fuels. Civilisation has developed by dominating Earth’s resources.
Agriculture now extracts ten times as much food energy from each parcel of land as it did a century ago. But the 10-fold increase in yield has been driven by a 90-fold boost in energetic inputs — caused by fossil-fuelled farm machinery, and electricity for irrigation and fertiliser production.
On a crowded Earth, we currently address this challenge predominately by eating up more land. A 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called Climate Change and Land, shows that we are in danger of running out of space: humans shape more than 70% of ice-free terrain, much of it for crops and livestock
How is Elemental Digest Responding to this?
Improving food chain sustainability is baked into our business models. Sustainability and impact are prerequisites because of the business and societal shift in the agri-food sector.
If you don’t have a sustainable angle to your business case, you’re already obsolete and if you don’t have positive impact built-in, you’re not going to last. That’s why we are a focussed nutrient recovery and circular business, seeking to add value at every stage of the meat production cycle.
This focus and shift in mind set is desperately needed to manage the trade-offs in making renewables and waste products more efficient. Improving economic incentives for fast adoption, minimising environmental degradation and bettering lives in a swelling population is a primary focus and where our DNA is embedded.
We face, after all, our most crucial singularity: a single planet whose resources have fuelled the spectacular growth of human civilisation, and are now running out, and we need to capture, recycle, add value and regenerate our food supply fast.