chapter  22
21 Pages

Technology and Mushrooms

Despite the expanding and improving role played by modern technology every day in human civilization, humans still face, and will continue to face, three basic problems: (1) food shortage, (2) environmental pollution, and (3) a reduction in the quality of human health because of the continuous increase in world population. The 20th century began with a world populated by 1.6 billion and ended with 6 billion inhabitants, with most of the growth occurring in developing countries. The population of the world is increasing with an annual growth rate of 1.7%, and by the year 2050 there will be over 9 billion persons on Earth, placing further demands on already inadequate or diminishing resources such as food and energy. We are all very much aware of the famines caused by food shortages in various parts of the world, of the crises produced by inadequate supplies of energy, of the pollution problems imposed by populations concentrated within small areas, and by the waste products of our modern industrialized society. Even so, it may come as a shock to the reader to learn that one third of the world’s population has too little protein in their diet. The problem of providing an adequate diet for the world’s population is an old one that is still with us today, and this will become even more serious in the future in that larger numbers of individuals will be affected by it. At present, approximately 800 million people in the world are living at the poverty level.