Selling our future

Dr. Huidae Cho
Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis...University of North Georgia

2   Impacts of climate change

2.1   Farming

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

Equivalent to

  • 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   Insects

insects-1.png insects-2.png insects-3.png

8.1   Insect farming

Significantly less

  • Resources
  • Space
  • Wastes
  • 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

8.2   Crickets

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

testing-lab-grown-meat.png 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!

lab-grown-meat-1.png lab-grown-meat-2.png lab-grown-meat-3.png

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.