For the naysayers: China did actually lift itself out of poverty. Until a few years ago people there died yearly from starvation. The same goes for India. That problem has disappeared, and that isn’t just China talking, the UN and US agrees on these points, China has been hiding the problem of starvation for nearly a century now, hence why nobody knows but over the last century, there were years where millions of Chinese died and even in the 1970s 30% of their population did not have enough food.
Poverty does not mean you’re not a millionaire, it means you can feed yourself regularly and have a roof over your head. Sure it may mean you’re still living in a slum and can’t afford a car but at least you’re not worm food. Our concept of poverty in the west is so far out of whack, the concept of poverty we have is that you aren’t sufficiently rich to afford certain luxuries.
There are other statistics people spout here, but they are all from a very narrow perspective. As Israel showed in the 1940s and 1950s, it is relatively easy to convert desert to sustainable agricultural areas, it is actually one of the few uses for modern solar and wind energy would be suitable for. And we complain about California while people choose to live and grow there when it was never actually sustainable to begin with. The only reason California exists is the gold rush, but it was a desert before we even got there, the problem they have is handouts from the government, if the federal government weren’t giving handouts to them (50% of all state aid goes to California, paid for by other states), it would sort itself out very naturally.
The rainforest is a similar problem, its cutting was sustained by massive handouts from western and Brazilian governments. The current conservative government is slowly fixing that, they’ve deployed their military to stop illegal logging and they are now on track to have more than 33% of the area cut since 1970s rainforest recovered in secondary forests. The problem with activists is that they only count in one direction, so they’ll say stuff like how much rainforest is being cut last year while ignoring that recently most of the legal cutting has been done in secondary forests (which humans planted) and that through the human intervention and the halt to funding subsistence farming the total area of wood for both the Amazon rainforest and the world has increased (https://news.mongabay.com/2018/08/earth-has-more-trees-now-than-35-years-ago/)
As always, we have to be careful with the information we obtain. There is always an angle, according to Greenpeace we’ve only been cutting trees and there is a dire problem with tree coverage. But anyone that has walked into Home Depot between 1970 and now knows that most of our wood source has changed to young, cheap, human grown trees (to the begrudging of many an old contractor).
The same goes for habitable lands and farmlands. The facts are we use less farmland now than we did half a century ago and we produce double the amount of food. Sure there are byproducts, but those are all manageable. In the near future farming will go vertical, meaning even less space will be used by several factors. Visionaries are predicting a future with a handful (~5) of vertical factory farms, taking up a total area smaller than NYC, throughout the US could supply all of humanities food requirements (in the world). Meat can now be grown in vats obviating the need for cows.