Warnings about our uncertain food future may call to mind the false predictions of Thomas Malthus and Paul R. Erlich, who warned, centuries apart, about food crises that never came to fruition. But the reality is that we now face three major threats to the world food supply. Climate change will require a restructuring of our agricultural systems. A population boom—United Nations projects that the Earth will host 9 billion souls by 2050—means more mouths to feed than ever before. And thanks to new wealth in countries like China and India, an increasing number of people will demand a new diet heavy on meat and other foods that require plentiful resources.
On April 12 in Washington, D.C., Future Tense will host “Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks,” a live event on the future of food. Will we be eating (and enjoying) lab-grown meat in 50 years? How can farmers respond to the threats of climate change? Will genetically engineered seeds allow us to feed people without major changes to modern agriculture, or will they only cause more problems? Scientists, farmers, and journalists will gather at the New America Foundation beginning at 9 a.m. to discuss these issues and more. Participants include Mark Hertsgaard, author of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; University of Missouri professor Gabor Forgacs, who is researching lab-grown meat; and Nina Federoff, a professor at Penn State and the former science and technology adviser to Condoleezza Rice. Visit “Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks” to RSVP and to view the full agenda.
Can’t make it to Washington? The event will stream live on New America’s website. You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #foodfuture.
This event is part of Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University that explores emerging technologies and their implications for policy and society. Learn more about Future Tense.