The Year 2050 might seem far away, but the current generation of children will only be in their forties and will be raising families.
Their world will have 50% more people in it but the planet, our source of food, will be the same size. The demand for food will be huge. In addition, modern societies are now insisting on food that is healthy, green and ethically produced. We need to plan for this situation and we need to start planning now.
This series of lectures targets three of the key issues that will likely shape the nature of human food in 2050. All lectures are free and open to the public.
Wild marine fisheries comprise approximately 15% of all animal protein in the human diet. However, the world now faces a global fishing crisis. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 70% of all commercially important marine fish stocks are fully fished, overexploited, or depleted.
The harvesting of marine fish can have genetic effects that threaten the sustainability and potential recovery of this valuable resource. For example, recent genomics work with Atlantic cod has shown that the observed reduction in size and earlier age at sexual maturity is at least partially caused by a genetic response to fishing pressure.
To sustain the productivity of harvested marine fisheries populations, it is crucial to incorporate genetic considerations into management. Management plans should be developed by applying basic genetic principles combined with molecular genetic monitoring to minimize harmful genetic change.
Greater efficiency may for some people be an obvious goal for providing food security for an increasing human population but what are the implications for animal welfare? Will greater agricultural efficiency inevitably lead to lower standards of welfare?
This lecture asked whether there is really a conflict between human well-being and animal welfare and argued that good animal welfare can provide the basis of healthy safe food for humans, benefits for the environment and productive commercial farming.
Australia is currently a net food exporting country and about 70% of the food produced is exported. This lecture covered our current food production, population growth and the impact of climate change on food production and export.*Note: There is occasional distortion in the first few minutes of this lecture recording.