Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Future Of Food And Farming

The above title is given to a special report produced by Government Scientists and Government Advisers, which was commissioned by Gordon Brown's Labour Administration in 2009. On 24 January, 2011 the report was presented to both the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of International Development by Sir John Beddington the Chief Government Scientist. The report and related material can be found here.
The report deserves to be taken seriously, although the Government's response failed to match up to the depths of the concerns it expressed. The most alarming findings being that by 2050, we shall need 40% more food, 30% more fresh water and 50% more energy. The report warns us to expect food riots and social unrest. It draws attention to an ever growing world (and local) population growth placing huge burdens on the earth's natural resources and concludes that developments cannot be sustained. The combination of climate change, the growth in population and market forces are creating conditions which will produce world wide chaos.Link
We should take a proactive approach in order to meet these serious threats to humanity. We can at least write, email and otherwise put pressure upon MPs, Euro MPs and officialdom generally to get them to play their part in helping to create a better and safer world.

The Labour Party has to develop a wider political landscape for itself, at present it is consumed by the cuts crisis in Local Government and reforms to the NHS. Important as these are, we cannot ignore this report. If we do so, we do this at our peril. For as the report states "we face the perfect storm".

Ken Curran, Sheffield District Labour Party and Chair of Sheffield Branch of the Co-operative Party.

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