Biodiversity and Food Production: Feeding a hungry planet at the precipice of a mass extinction event
Prof. Shahid Naeem
Ph.D., Zoology, University of California, Berkley, 1989
Chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Director of Science, Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES), Columbia University
In conversation with:
PhD GSAS '08
Principal at Redsand Ventures, London UK
The planet is facing its sixth mass extinction, which means nearly half of all species could disappear in the next few decades. A major contributor is Industrial Agriculture responsible for widespread environmental degradation. With a projected global population of 10 billion by 2050, it is urgent for humanity to achieve a more sustainable approach to farming and food systems. Prof. Shahid Naeem, Director of science at the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) and the author of the compelling treatise Sustainable Food Production, works with others to study the environmental consequences of declining biodiversity. He believes biodiversity loss is the single most significant challenge facing contemporary ecology and the single most pervasive impediment to achieving environmental health and sustainable development.
In conversation with Dr. Colleen Becker, Naeem will provide an overview of the key issues in sustainable food production and the environmental impacts of agriculture. He examines how twentieth-century farming methods are environmentally and socially unsustainable, contributing to global change and perpetuating inequalities. He explains the ecological foundations of farming and food systems, and how knowledge from the natural and social sciences can be used to create sustainable alternatives to the industrial production methods used today.