Can Food Supply Meet Doubled Demand?
Global demand for food is expected to double by 2050, which will put more pressure on the world’s farmers to increase production. But these efforts could also increase carbon dioxide in the air and nitrogen in the soil and contribute to species extinction, warns a team of researchers in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Agricultural intensification on existing farmland through improved practices and technology transfer—rather than clearing more land—offers the most sustainable approach to increasing food supply and minimizing risks to human and environmental health, the researchers believe. They call on wealthier countries to develop these methods and then transfer the best practices to poorer nations.
“Our analyses show that we can save most of the Earth’s remaining ecosystems by helping the poorer nations of the world feed themselves,” says study leader David Tilman, resident fellow of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.
Source: “Global Food Demand and the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture” by David Tilman et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online edition, November 21, 2011), www.pnas.org.
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This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
Today, literally thousands of alternative transportation vehicles are coming out of the woodwork and they nearly all have the same problem – no place to drive them. Most are banned from biking and hiking trails, and they are neither licensed, nor licensable, for use on the streets. I’d like to discuss some new possible solutions and why Colorado is poised to take the lead in the alternative transportation marketplace.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
Occasionally during meetings one of my staff – an avid birder – will elbow me and I’ll look up and glimpse a bald eagle. Each time, I am in awe. I live in Washington State, which is home to a plethora of eagles, where pods of Orca ply the waters near the San Juan Islands, and where roads are sometimes blocked by herds of elk.
In this month's Report on Business Magazine, a supplement that comes with The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, Stanford University's Mark Jacobson provides a best case scenario
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
A team of researchers are asking the public to help them locate and count all the sources of CO2 coming from power plants on the planet.
Initial results from a selective breeding program at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany based in Cambridge in the UK, indicate the successful creation of a new super wheat.