Tracking the Future
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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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The future of food

The future of food | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

When three continents witnessed food riots in 2007 and 2008, we saw the international food system is not as stable as it looks. There’s unprecedented competition for food due to population growth and changing diets. Experts predict that by 2050, if things don't change, we will see mass starvation across the world.

In this documentary, George Alagiah travelled the world to unravel the complicated web of links that binds the world's food together, bringing it from farm to table. It reveals a growing global food crisis that could affect the planet in the years ahead. What can we do to avert this?

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aanve's curator insight, February 16, 2014 9:53 PM

www.aanve.com

 

RuthHoward's curator insight, February 17, 2014 6:38 AM

BBC doco link below regarding overconsumption on the one hand and inability to maintain the enormous variety and stocks of food that the recent food markets have enjoyed into our future. I'm a meat eater BTW. I'm not advocating everyone stop eating meat, although some do. But I do think its a worthy problem to help solve.
There will be so many solutions already being developed, how to cultivate and develop a long term plan to develop diversification of crops not reliant upon heavy oil and water production and use, that sustain populations through unpredictable climate changes with responsive agility to markets? In my mind a plan that doesn't rely on super farms, but responds to the small farmer and the local market as much as to export demand is preferable and more resilient. On that note I know the robots cometh. How to factor all of those exponential technological leaps in, to include them but not at human expense.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140206-the-future-of-food

My notes here. Earth Policy Institute Lester Brown foresees food security as the number one challenge for affluent and non affluent countries. He's been an environmental and agricultural analyst for 50 years.

Todays modern farming techniques wont feed us by 2050 unless we double productivity/yield. The finite arable land wont support this.
In addition changing weather is destined to reduce all crop yields world wide which will increase food prices.

-Richard Warburton head of Bidwells Agribusiness predicts food and water wars.

-Maasai Chief Saamy Ole Terakuai states weather has changed. He cant use his cattle for sale, for food, nor for milk, nor use their hides. Based upon Kenya, Australia in particular is at risk.

-Waitrose Farmer UK recounts volatility in grain market in part due to climate changes.
-Oil is used in intensive agriculture for fuel, fertilisers, pesticides, packaging, processing. 100g of cheese requires 140ml of oil. One tomato grown in a greenhouse uses more than a third of a litre of oil. Oil prices inflate food prices let alone affect food production.
Cuba's economy collapsed due to their reliability upon oil. A fuel shock fuels a food shock.
A very important part of this discussion documents that fuel crops (biofuels) are replacing food crops! At huge cost to locals, workers and future food security. Demonstrating that competition between fuels (cars) and food (for people) needs monitoring, especially as it is further exacerbating the divisions between rich and poor, developed and undeveloped worlds.

-Water is then tackled as a diminishing resource. Obviously essential for food production.

-Overfishing is next. World stocks of seafood could collapse by 2048. 90% of bottom fish (bottom trawls) are already gone! 80% of UK fish species are under threat. Meanwhile the market demand for fish in the UK is greater than ever, sourcing from outside including poorer countries such as Senegal, who themselves have food shortages. Senegalese are forced to share their waters with modern european fleets-Trawlers. Actionaid who monitor overfishing, observe the unlimited trawling by europeans who are profiteering from and at the expense of the Senegalese. 3/4 global fish stock are overexploited.

-Milk and meat consumption are expanding unsustainably as developing world's incomes rise. The film states that there's not enough land to produce the meat that both the developed and developing world require. 2.3kg of grain to produce 1 kilo of chicken, 15kg of grain to produce 1 kilo of beef.

 

Celest Ybarra's curator insight, March 29, 2014 9:25 PM

Title: The Future of Food

Author: BBC

Main Idea: Prediction that if eating habits don't change now, there will be a mass food scarce in the future

Summary:

1) The world is constantly changing and evolving over time, and if things don't change soon then we could be in serious trouble

2) A growing global crisis means that's there's competition for food and could affect the planet years ahead

3) Since food has become a commodity in other countries it makes it hard to believe that we could possibly run out in the future

Opinion: No, its factual.

Question: Why do researchers believe this theory? How can we help change this idea?

Is this article important to science?: Yes, because it can help us figure out how to not make this come true since food is such an important factor, and key, to our survival.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140206-the-future-of-food

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Geoengineering the climate would reduce vital rains

Geoengineering the climate would reduce vital rains | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Although a significant build-up in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would alter worldwide precipitation patterns, a widely discussed technological approach to reducing future global warming would also interfere with rainfall and snowfall, new research shows.

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Solar Engineering

Climate engineering-which could slow the pace of global warming by injecting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere-has emerged in recent years as an extremely controversial technology. A leading scientist long concerned about climate change offers a proposal for an easy fix to what is perhaps the most challenging question of our time. After decades during which very little progress has been made in reducing carbon emissions we must put this technology on the table and consider it responsibly.

David Keith is the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Rain will get more extreme thanks to global warming, says NASA study

Rain will get more extreme thanks to global warming, says NASA study | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
The forecast for the future of rainfall on Earth is in: over the next hundred years, areas that receive lots of precipitation right now are only going to get wetter, and dry areas will go for longer periods without seeing a drop, according to a new NASA-led study on global warming. "We looked at rainfall of different types," said William Lau, NASA's deputy director of atmospheric studies and the lead author of the study, in a phone interview with The Verge. "The extreme heavy rain end the prolonged drought side both increase drastically and are also connected physically."
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Jacob Rabe's curator insight, May 7, 2013 3:51 PM

This is a really scary article. It is becoming more and more apparent that the footprint humans are leaving in the earth is bigger than we thought. something must be done to slow it down.

 

dillon von berge's comment, May 13, 2013 8:26 AM
I agree with rabe in that we need to start watching how we are affecting the world we live in.
Rachel Sigrist's curator insight, February 26, 2014 11:07 AM

How and why?

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Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

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What Could Disappear

What Could Disappear | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Maps show coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded, without engineered protection, in three levels of higher seas. Percentages are the portion of dry, habitable land within the city limits of places listed that would be permanently submerged.

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Jeremy Rifkin On Entering The Third Industrial Revolution

Economist Jeremy Rifkin is the author of "The Third Industrial Revolution". According to Rifkin, industrial revolutions occur when new energy regimes emerge and new communications systems enable them to become operational. We are now entering a third industrial revolution, one which combines renewable energy and internet technology to transform the power grid.

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The World in 2050

This talk draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The World in 2050 combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data-everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections.

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The end of the Industrial Revolution

The end of the Industrial Revolution | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

What a privilege it is to be alive in these times, in such a significant period in human history. It’s not always easy to see moments of great historical importance when you’re in the middle of them. Sometimes they’re dramatic, like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the landing on the moon. But more often the really big ones appear, from within them, to be unfolding in slow motion. Their actual drama and speed then only becomes clear in hindsight.

That’s how it will be with this. But in the end we’ll look back at this moment and say, yes, that’s when it was clear, that’s when the end game began. The end game of the industrial revolution.

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World building 301: some projections

What is the world going to look like in 2032? And in 2092?

- by Charles Stross

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Hyperwarming climate could turn Earth's poles green

Hyperwarming climate could turn Earth's poles green | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

An era of ice that has gripped Earth's poles for 35 million years could come to an end as extreme global warming really begins to bite. Previously unknown sources of positive feedback - including "hyperwarming" that was last seen on Earth half a billion years ago - may push global temperatures high enough to send Earth into a hothouse state with tropical forests growing close to the poles.

Climate scientists typically limit themselves to the 21st century when predicting how human activity will affect global temperatures. The latest predictions are bolder, though: the first systematic forecasts through to 2300 are beginning to arrive.

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Jeremy Rifkin on global issues and the future of our planet

Jeremy Rifkin, the President of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the creator of the Third Industrial Revolution, is an American economist, writer, public speaker and activist who seeks to shape public policy in the United States and globally.

Jeremy Rifkin is the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change.

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Climate Change — The state of the science

Produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia and funded by the UN Foundation for the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.
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The data visualization summarises several of the most significant statements in the IPCC’s latest summary for policymakers published September 2013. This summary covers the physical science basis of climate change. In 2014, IPCC will publish summaries concerning societal impacts, mitigation and adaptation.

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Fighting the fuel giants for a fully renewable future

Fighting the fuel giants for a fully renewable future | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The viability of a fossil fuel future is rarely connected to the human rights abuses required to sustain it. How often do we think about where oil and gas is obtained? Are the Europeans or Americans any more aware? This deliberate depoliticisation of our energy present, by the vast majority of politicians, journalists and self-described public intellectuals, is leading to an environment that is both unsustainable and dangerous for the planet.

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The Ambient Carbon-Capture Imperative

The Ambient Carbon-Capture Imperative | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Last month, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in roughly three million years. If the current trend, which fits the worst-case scenario laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), persists, CO2 concentrations will rise above 800 ppm toward the end of this century – with devastating consequences.
Indeed, the predicted global average temperature increase of 2.4-6.4°C caused by such high ambient CO2 concentrations is expected to trigger the worst outcomes foreseen in the IPCC scenarios, including the loss of an estimated 40% of species, more frequent extreme weather events, and widespread water scarcity. In order to avoid imposing such risk and uncertainty on future generations, global carbon emissions, which stand at 8.5 gigatons annually, must be halved by 2050.

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Discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere

Discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Excess carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere created by the widespread burning of fossil fuels is the major driving force of global climate change, and researchers the world over are looking for new ways to generate power that leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to transform the carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere into useful industrial products. Their discovery may soon lead to the creation of biofuels made directly from the carbon dioxide in the air that is responsible for trapping the sun’s rays and raising global temperatures.

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vidistar's curator insight, March 26, 2013 7:21 PM

El exceso de dióxido de carbono en la atmósfera de la Tierra, creado por la quema generalizada de combustibles fósiles es la principal fuerza impulsora del cambio climático global, y los investigadores de todo el mundo están buscando nuevas formas de generar energía que deja una huella de carbono más pequeña.
Ahora, investigadores de la Universidad de Georgia han encontrado una forma para transformar el dióxido de carbono atrapado en la atmósfera en útiles productos industriales. Su descubrimiento pronto puede conducir a la creación de biocombustibles hechas directamente del dióxido de carbono en el aire que es responsable para la captura de los rayos del sol y el aumento de las temperaturas globales.

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5 Charts About Climate Change That Should Have You Very, Very Worried

5 Charts About Climate Change That Should Have You Very, Very Worried | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
Two major organizations released climate change reports this month warning of doom and gloom if we stick to our current course and fail to take more aggressive measures. A World Bank report imagines a world 4 degrees warmer, the temperature predicted by century's end barring changes, and says it aims to shock people into action by sharing devastating scenarios of flood, famine, drought and cyclones. Meanwhile, a report from the US National Research Council, commissioned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies, says the consequences of climate change--rising sea levels, severe flooding, droughts, fires, and insect infestations--pose threats greater than those from terrorism ranging from massive food shortages to a rise in armed conflicts.
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Open Seas - The Arctic is the Mediterranean of the 21st century.

Open Seas - The Arctic is the Mediterranean of the 21st century. | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

If climate scientists' prophesies of an ice-free Arctic Ocean pan out, the world will witness the most sweeping transformation of geopolitics since the Panama Canal opened. Seafaring nations and industries will react assertively -- as they did when merchantmen and ships of war sailing from Atlantic seaports no longer had to circumnavigate South America to reach the Pacific Ocean.

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Richard Heinberg Auckland Sept 30

Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. He is the author of ten books including End of Growth.
Richard brought his challenging and compelling messages on resilience, sustainability and a healthy future to Auckland on September 30, 2012. He asked and answered some of the most challenging questions we face today.

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Jeremy Rifkin: The Third Industrial Revolution

Every industrial revolution is spurred by a shift in both energy and communication technology. Author and economist Jeremy Rifkin says we are on the precipice of a Third Industrial Revolution combining renewable energy and the internet. He joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss the possibility of hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes and sharing it with each other in an "energy internet."

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The Next 50 Years: Will Tech Solve Humanity’s Problems?

Experts from Intel Corporation discuss major problems facing humanity, including global warming, an aging world population and the relentless pace of technology. Will better technology solve these problems or are humans hitting a fundamental physical barrier to progress?

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The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible

The Next 50 Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With everything rolling towards the abyss, our only hope for a bright future seems to be the Singularity, a technological transformation of what it means to be human.

But in a talk for TEDx Brussels, science fiction and horror writer John Shirley argues that there are really two Singularities — and yes, everything will be terrible in the short term. So why is he optimistic about the future of the human race? Read on.

You can watch the presentation on Youtube: http://youtu.be/dtpX_9E__hU

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We're in trouble: time to limit future warming to just 2°C has nearly run out

We're in trouble: time to limit future warming to just 2°C has nearly run out | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Two reports suggest that the goals for limiting climate change are rapidly slipping out of reach, even though the world's energy economy is in the midst of enormous change.

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olsen jay nelson's comment, November 26, 2011 5:42 AM
Thanks for your great content!