Selling our future
- 1 Food: The weak link
- 2 Impacts of climate change
- 3 The emerging politics of food scarcity
- 4 Mounting stresses, failing states
- 5 A plan to save civilization
- 6 Animal agriculture
- 7 What can we do?
- 8 Insects
- 9 Lab-grown meat
- 10 Discussion: Future foods
2 Impacts of climate change
Rising temperatures reduce crop yields.
- Over the next century, expected 6 degree warming ⇒ 60% decline in wheat, rice, corn yields
Ice melt from glaciers provides irrigation water to major rivers in India and China during dry seasons.
- Melting glaciers will affect wheat and rice production and consequently affect food prices everywhere. Wheat—China, India, US; Rice—China, India
Conversion of potential farm land to other uses—grazing, parking lots, etc.
World Fish Catch? Because of increase in demand (94 million tons), most fish purchased today ⇐ Fish farms or Aquaculture
2.2 Food security
What do you eat that is made from wheat or rice?
- Rice as a side dish
- Wheat in breads, crackers, cookies, cereal, etc. ⇒ Most processed and packaged food items!
If you removed these items from your diet, how would it impact you?
3 The emerging politics of food scarcity
Trade market: Imports and exports
Exporting countries sometimes create a ban to raise the price ⇒ Causes a panic in importing countries who require wheat, rice, corn for food supply
Long-term price deals to maintain future grain supply
US leads soybean production for the entire world and, because of debt to China, China can still buy our food supply at reduced prices over other countries
Land grabs: Purchasing land in other countries to grow food
Effect on local unemployment when workers are imported to maintain national loyalties
4 Mounting stresses, failing states
The international community is focusing on the disintegration of states rather than the concentration of too much power in one state
- Nazi Germany
- Imperial Japan
- Former Soviet Union
Failing states provide the greatest threat to global order and stability
When countries can no longer provide basic services—education, health care, food security—it can lead to a dissolution of the government, civil war, war with neighboring states, or training grounds for terrorist groups
News about the rise of terrorist groups on a global scale ⇒ Greater threat
4.1 Sustainable countries
5 A plan to save civilization
Move the world from current decline and collapse path ⇒ Domino effect
To a new path where food security can be restored and civilization can be sustained
How can we make sure that we have a global food market and we are meeting the demand of the global population in terms of food supply?
Four interconnected components
- Cutting per-net carbon dioxide emissions by 80%
- Stabilizing population at 8 billion or lower
- Eradicating poverty
- Restoring the Earth’s natural systems
6 Animal agriculture
Animal agriculture increases by 70% by 2050
Huge strain on water supply
70% of former forests in the Amazon ⇒ Grazing land ⇒ Use of too much fertilizers
Livestock use 30% of the Earth’s land
6.1 Methane-trumping cattle
A cow releases 70-120 kg of Methane per year
The negative effect on the climate of Methane = 23 * the effect of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
In effect, a cow releases about 2,300 kg of CO2 every year
- Burning 264 gallons of petrol
- Driving 7,800 miles per year in a car consuming 29 MPG (21 miles per day * 365 days)
World-wide, 1.5 billion cows and bulls emit 2 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalents per year
Converting forests to grazing land emits an extra 2.8 metric billion tons of CO2 per year
Raising livestock is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases world-wide
7 What can we do?
Eat less meat
Eat less dairy products
Eat “Future Foods” or “Alternative Foods”
- More sustainable!
- Consume less resources
8.1 Insect farming
- Emission of greenhouse gases
- Water consumption
- Cost to care and produce
- Transmission of diseases such as H1N1, mad cow disease, salmonella, etc.
Faster growth and high reproduction rates
Require 2,000 times less water than cattle to produce 100 g of meat
Use 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same protein
Produce 1815 times less greenhouse gasses than cattle
Mature within 3 weeks to a month
Lay 1,200-1,500 eggs in 3-4 weeks
First commercial cricket farm in the USA where bugs are bred for people to eat (2 mins)
8.3 Eating insects
9 Lab-grown meat
“Make” meat from animal cells, not by killing animals
First peer-reviewed journal article on lab-grown meat in the journal “Tissue Engineering” in 2005
First public trial on August 5th, 2013
Significantly lower environmental impacts than traditional farming
- Vertical farming is possible
- Convert grazing land back to forests
Generates only 4% greenhouse gas emissions
Reduces the energy needs by 45%
Requires only 2% of the land that the meat industry does
Stops animal cruelty
9.1 Hmm... Meat!
10 Discussion: Future foods
Can you find more examples of “future foods” or “alternative foods”? Please justify your findings by comparing the environmental impacts of your foods vs. traditional foods.