Friday, 19 June 2015

Sustainability: Managing Food and Water Resources

Third part of the series on sustainability.  Essentials for life are food, water, air and energy.  The talk deals with managing food and water resources - as for other essentials food and water are under severe stress because of the rising population and over-consumption.  The land area that food can be grown is limited as is the amount of fresh water available on our planet.  Add to this the wasteful ways that we have developed and it is easy to understand that an efficient management of these resources is vital for a meaningful existence of the human species.
In fact, the world food production is sufficient to feed the 7+ billion population that we have currently.  The reason one hears about food shortages is mainly because of the inefficient distribution and poor storage of food.  In the developed countries, food waste is also a major consideration.  A bit more co-operation among nations and some good planning can solve the global food crisis just now.  This statement, however, does not diminish the urgency of planning for a sustainable food supply for the future - and controlling population growth is the most important step one can take.
Water shortage is more difficult to manage as it is not possible to transport water from areas of plenty to water-stressed regions.  Climate change with rising global temperatures will make some areas almost impossible to manage.  When the glaciers melt and are gone on top of mountains, rivers feeding the plains will run dry.  With ground water already dangerously depleted in most area of the world, it is difficult to see how the ever-increasing demands will be met.
New technologies can help but whether they will be there in time to avoid serious catastrophes - we do not know.  I shall discuss these in future publications.
In the following I publish the slides of my 2012 talk in Glasgow.

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