Challenges of our Time: How to feed a growing population

20 Sep ‘17


1.30PM - 3.30PM
Speaker: Professor Tim Benton, Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives at the University of Leeds

Venue: Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, Pathfoot building, University of Stirling

The University of Stirling and Faculty of Natural Sciences, invites you to this panel discussion, the third event in the "Challenges of our Time" lecture series, part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.

The event is free of charge, but we ask that you register in advance here.

Lecture abstract

One of the greatest challenges of our time is how to ensure everyone has access to safe and nutritious food in the light of a growing population, climate change and competing demands for resources such as water. Since the Second World War, we have increasingly become globalised.  This creates worldwide markets for those countries which are “best” at producing food.  This has led to a global concentration of “big ag” in a few breadbasket regions that produce a large amount of the world’s calories cheaply.  Across the world, we are increasingly living on diets dependent on the same food crops – and the easy flow of cheap calories is leading to a global epidemic of overweight, obesity and ill-health.  Almost without exception, every country’s food system depends to a greater or less extent on the networks of global trade.  At the same time, our food systems are both a significant cause of global warming, and also significantly impacted by it; so in future, climatic and other environmental risks (e.g. soil degradation) are likely to increase, particularly through a growing impact of extreme weather causing disruptions to global food trade. Given our food system is unsustainable, how will the future play out?  Will we be able to provide healthy diets in a sustainable way for a growing global population?  If so, what might we eat?

This session is aimed at anyone with an interest in food and food production. It will be of particular relevance to people studying Higher Biology and we would encourage schools to attend with their pupils. This will also be of relevance to many undergraduate, masters and PhD students studying in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, as well as the general public.

In this session a welcome and introduction will be given by Professor Maggie Cusack, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Professor Tim Benton will give the keynote address. Professor Benton is Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives at the University of Leeds and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, UK.  From 2011-2016 he was the “Champion” of the UK’s Global Food Security programme. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Professor Rachel Norman, Chair of Food Security and Sustainability at the University of Stirling. We hope that this will be an open discussion and would encourage the audience to participate freely.

Speaker

Professor Tim Benton is Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives at the University of Leeds and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, UK.  From 2011-2016 he was the “Champion” of the UK’s Global Food Security programme which was a multi-agency partnership of the UK’s public bodies (government departments, devolved governments and research councils) with an interest in the challenges around food.  The key role of GFS was to undertake systemic analysis and horizon scanning, in order to identify research priorities to mitigate the challenges of providing sufficient, sustainable and nutritious diets for all.  He has published over 150 academic papers, many on the topics of agriculture and its sustainability.  His particular interest is currently on food system resilience in the face of climate change.

Other panellists include:
Dr Edward Pope, Senior Applied Climate Scientist, Met Office,
Professor Nils Bunnfeld, Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling
Dr Mags Crumlish, Food Security & Sustainability, University of Stirling

Registration

This lecture is free to attend and but we ask that you please register online in advance here.

Getting Here

Please see our Getting Here webpages for information on how to get to the campus.

Further information

If you require any further information please contact the University's Events Team at events@stir.ac.uk


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