Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Other Inconvenient Truth

Ah man. From now on, anytime anybody asks why I am studying what I am studying, I'll just refer them to Jonathan Foley, who gave a riveting TED talk in 2010 about what he calls "The Other Inconvenient Truth".

Some of his major arguments why agriculture is one of the main challenges of the future: 
  • Already today, 40% of the Earth's surface area is devoted to agriculture. 
  • Of this amount, 16 Mio. square km are used for crops - about the size of South America. 
  • Also, 30 Mio. square km are used for livestock pasture - around the size of Africa. 
  • We are already using 50% of all fresh water reserves - and 70% of that is used for agriculture. 
  • Agriculture is also responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, the greatest overall contributor of all industries. 
  • We need to double agricultural production in the next 40 years to keep up with current consumption levels and population growth - but how are we going to do that without destroying vital ecosystems and depleting top soil, water and nutrient reserves that future generations depend on? 
Riley calls for a new form of agriculture, what he calls "Terraculture" - agriculture for the entire Earth, which combines expertise and knowledge of conventional farmers, environmentalists, organic farmers, animal welfare experts and the like to find ways for a new way forward in collaboration. For more on Riley's views on the perceived efficiency of particularly American agriculture, check out this blog post on Chewswise. 


  1. Tangent: my friend is trying to convince me to listen to TED talks in podcast form but I think it'd require too much concentration. When do you watch them?

    And I love the new layout.

  2. Usually I just watch them online - I think most of them have image/slideshows for a purpose and most of the speakers also use really great body language so I feel you would miss out if you just listened to them. That said, I do listen to podcasts a lot more regularly than I watch TED talks so maybe your friend's got a point there?

  3. So so nice TED-talk.
    And we do the most awesome education as well, i'm so looking forward working with those questions :-)

    And, i do listen to the ted-podcasts as well, i think they are a very good complement to the clips :-)