What a wonderful way to start the day today – energy boost from a room full of Business Chicks! And then to hear Bob Geldorf speak over breakfast. He held us spell bound ranging from the bad boy of rock and roll, to his childhood in Ireland which sensitised him to poverty and the effect it has on ordinary people who are burdened by it, Africa and its potential and the fact that all of us need to find a new way to be in the 21st century, we need to move away from a culture of direct competition to a more collaborative world that embraces diversity of thought. He highlighted that one at least of the Millennial Development Goals set in 2000 has been achieved, lifting 50% of the world’s poorest people out of grinding poverty, largely due to China’s efforts in economic development.
But what resonated with me most was his statement that we are all sleepwalking towards disaster, yet again. Most of us are aware of the issues, but seem powerless to get our leaders to take the difficult decisions to help us avert disaster. He mentioned climate change only once, but emphasised poverty many times. The tragedy is that the impacts of climate change will be hardest on some of the poorest parts of the world; in fact this is already happening with the typhoons and droughts over the last few years.
Bob also mentioned that we expect to have 9 billion people on the planet by the end of this century, which is the UN’s median prediction! Feeding all these increasingly affluent people in a sustainable manner and leaving a few resources for the other species on this planet is going to be quite a challenge.
In fact, I was commissioned by Springer Publishing to write a book on the subject last year. I’m delighted to say that my book “Energy Use and Global Food Production” has just been published electronically and will be out in paperback next month. I endeavour to highlight the Water-Energy-Food nexus and the challenges facing food security in the context of a rising population and climate change. Several encouraging case studies are outlined that give us a really good indication of what needs to be done to traverse the new few years safely and minimise the environmental deficit we may otherwise leave our kids.
My book is available from the publisher via this link.
I would really value feedback and discussion about the issues raised in this, my first book!
Sir Bob closed his address with a quote about ‘Commitment’, once one commits to something, the universe seems to back you (or words to that effect). I have made a commitment for the rest of this year to do all I can to work with business and political leaders towards meaningful emissions reduction in the lead up to the UN climate talks in Paris in November this year. Positive Climate Action this decade gives us the best and lowest cost option to manage the situation. Please reach out to me with your thoughts about what we should and could do together to achieve this outcome.
Dr. Meera Verma, is our Guest Blogger and the Principal of Headland Vision, a strategic and project consulting firm for medium sized technology-development companies in the biotech, pharma and cleantech areas.