Cafe Scientifique - Sustainability of agriculture, environment and population

The world is changing fast and people are eating more food and demanding more 'expensive to produce' food globally. To what extent can the planet support the growth in demand for food or does something have to give?

Can sustainable agriculture produce sufficient food without significant impacts on natural processes?  In this talk, Prof Tim Benton of Leeds University addresses a range of issues around food production, consumption, climate change and sustainability.

More about Tim at http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/profile.php?tag=Benton_T

Tickets: Hat donations

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  • Rob W

    There was one thing that I felt uncomfortable with - New Zealand lamb a more 'efficient' product. But later on I wondered whether some of these sort of assessments can be too simplistic. What about the UK sheep farmer's children and the schools they need and the taxes the farmers pay, and the services they need - such things all providing jobs for people. I thought it a bit like what's happened to our manufacturing industry - stuff made cheaper elsewhere - but what's left for us to do? Just a thought and all stimulating and great nattering afterwards. Look forward to more.

    July 10, 2013

    • Alf S.

      If Northern Europe is to become the "breadbasket" of the rest of the world, does this not increase the risk of future conflict and attempts by the rest of the world to grab Northern European land?

      July 11, 2013

    • Tom B.

      Yes, I think that is exactly the issue - land grabs and/or climate migration. Even invasion could be a possibility if it gets bad enough, as many think it will.

      July 11, 2013

  • Andy T.

    Great presentation by Tim Benton. It raised a great many questions and serious concerns. The likelihood of crop failure on a large scale increases, but I still don't know how ready the world is for this. Perhaps it has to happen a few times before behaviour changes and risks are mitigated.

    July 10, 2013

    • Dan

      We had last year's failures leading to a 3% drop in production and some severe regional impacts, on top of grain moving toward being car-food as well as people-food (many of the world's cars can pay more, via their owners, than many of the world's people, that's economics for you!) Maybe last year DID shake things up a bit. There's definitely more acknowledgement of the problems of biofuel use and the effects of climate weirding on food production. But are the connections between high prices and unrest really feeding through into a sense of future implications? Maybe - US and China now co-operating on climate change policy. (Though obviously for those who believe carbon isn't the problem, like the Chris Booker reader at the event, that's going in the wrong direction...!)

      July 11, 2013

    • Dan

      Oops, forgot the link I meant to post. http://www.earth-poli...­

      July 11, 2013

  • Margo H.

    Great to see you all!

    Following on from Tim's talk, the following articles in today's Guardian are highly relevant:

    Droughts could hit food production in England in 2020s, report warns - Without action, farmers will face shortfalls of 50% of the water they currently use to grow crops, threatening most fertile areas
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/10/droughts-hot-dry-summers-england

    James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming - Without full decarbonisation by 2030, our global emissions pathway guarantees new era of catastrophic climate change http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/10/james-hansen-fossil-fuels-runaway-global-warming

    Margo

    July 10, 2013

  • Blanca L.

    Excellent presentation and great discussions Thanks for organizing this.

    July 10, 2013

  • Rob W

    if we don't melt before!

    July 9, 2013

  • vickythomson

    So sorry I can't make this now, argh. Have a great night x

    July 9, 2013

  • Margo H.

    P.S. Re tonight, I've been told doors open at about ten to eight so I'm aiming to get there for 7.30 at the latest and head from the bar to the performance space (or whatever it's called) at ten to.

    July 9, 2013

  • Margo H.

    Dear all, If anyone wants to jump in my free taxi, I'm happy to collect as follows: Horsforth (Hawksworth Road) 7.00, West Park (West Park Roundabout (7.10), junction Otley Road / Shaw Lane (7.15) and then onto Chapel A. Happy to drop along a similar route on the way back.
    Margo

    July 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    With the blessing of xenu I'll be there!

    July 8, 2013

  • Lilliane

    So sorry, this now clashes with the scientology talk

    July 7, 2013

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