How To Solve World Hunger – Eat Yourself

Lab-grown meat, created from cells, is advancing at an exponential rate, so much so that Singapore has just become the first country to approve it for commercial use.

It won’t be too long before it’s no longer necessary to cultivate animals for food. Not only is that great for animal welfare, it’s also key to tackling the climate emergency.

(Although I mainly eat a plant-based diet, I say this as someone who enjoys a good steak from time to time. Hawksmoor is the best for that in the UK, in my books.)

To show the diversity offered by lab-cultured meat, a recent experiment created meat from the cells of endangered species – no animals were harmed – blue whale, tiger, gorilla.

The eventual aim is that people will be able to make meat in their own kitchen in a device the size of a microwave.

And the easiest way to get cells to grow meat is from your own body. So I could tuck into a nice juicy Chadbourn steak, or burger, or sausage. That lip-smacking flavour of surly midlander and political discontent.

It’s coming soon.

Food From Thin Air – The Game Has Changed

Eating our way out of the climate crisis? This is a fantastic discovery that could solve a whole host of problems all at once.

From an initial idea at NASA, we’re now seeing the development of nutrient-rich protein powder from carbon capture air.

One solution to tackle the climate emergency, world hunger and creating food for interplanetary travel.

The World Is About To Change Forever

We’re about to reach a turning point for the world, one of those rare moments in history when every single thing changes and all the that we relied on before is replaced by something new.

The combination of Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the pandemic will unleash disruption on a massive scale in many different areas at the same time. I’ve just worked my way through several reports which show how these crises are going to interlock and force huge changes.

  • Africa is facing an imminent famine and food disruption. Ukraine provides much of its wheat and fertiliser that the war will devastate.
  • An energy crisis looms with shortages and rising prices everywhere, again due to the war.
  • The cost of living is going to go through the roof everywhere because the pandemic, particularly in China, is going to disrupt supply chains for a long time.
  • The old world order is gone. The US, EU and UK will cleave together, but multiple poles of power will arise elsewhere- China, India and in Africa with countries choosing alliances which best suit them.

It all sounds catastrophic but crisis drives change for the better.

The West will be forced to start caring more for countries suffering in East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The global economic system will have to be rethought with new trade arrangements that provide security for all and are less damaging to the planet.

There will be overwhelming investment in renewable energy systems that will tackle the climate emergency far better than anything we planned before.

We’re a weird species. We only make changes for the better when crisis forces it upon us. But history shows us that times like this always result in something significantly better.

Bottom line: the months ahead are going to be a turbulent time that we’re all going to have to get through.

Everything is going to be smashed down (metaphorically). But in times of crisis the best of people emerges and we’re going to start building a world that’s radically different and incredibly better.

Because there’s going to be no alternative.

The World Is Better Than You Think

clinton-trump-debate-e1474919616333

Deep breath.  Look around.

Famine is being eliminated. In 2014, 850 million suffered from malnutrition, the lowest figure on record.  Meanwhile, 2.1 billion were overweight.  In 1918, Spanish Flu killed up to 100 million in a year, compared to the 40 million who died in WWI.  But in 2014, the Ebola outbreak – “the most severe public health emergency in modern times”, according to the World Health Organisation – was stopped at 11,000 deaths.  In the 20th century, human violence accounted for 5% of all deaths.  In the 21st century, it’s 1%.  In 2012 56 million people died, but war caused only 120,000 of those deaths.

All these figures are quoted from Yuval Noah Harari’s very highly-recommended book, Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow (review coming soon to this site).

Those historical harbingers of the apocalypse, war, famine and pestilence, are still far too widespread, but every indicator is improving, and here in 2016, improving rapidly.

Some people out there see an advantage in proclaiming how terrible things are, that all around we have only decline and degradation and that things were always so much better in the past.  Don’t listen to them.

We’re on the cusp of a golden age.

The innovations and advancements created by clever people – the ‘elite’, I suppose – are improving every aspect of our life.  Two days ago, a team at MiT took us a step closer to unlimited clean energy.  Breakthroughs in cancer treatment are coming so fast it’s hard to keep track of them.  Advances in food production techniques, and in health, and the consistently falling global poverty levels will push those Four Horsemen to the fringes.

But the danger now is that we sit back and wait for this new dawn to arrive.  That we foolishly think that everyone wants this better time that’s coming.  It’s going to be great, why wouldn’t they?

No.  Barriers lie everywhere.  Malign forces are working hard to ensure this golden age never comes about, people, and ideologies, who will find no place for themselves in this better world.

Putin has spoken publicly about how his plans for Russia are centred around stopping liberal western values in their tracks – he wants his growing empire to be a bastion of conservatism – and we’ve already seen how the prospect of a third world war is looming.  The global death cult ISIS may be suffering a set-back on its territory in Mosul, but it’s ideology won’t easily be destroyed and it’s committed to a medieval world-view.

And then there are the domestic forces that want to hold everything back – in the US and UK, in France, Germany and across the West, not just the people who are afraid of change, and they are many, but those whose power bases and belief systems are firmly rooted in the 20th century.

If you look at the electoral battles taking place, it’s easy to think this is politics as usual.  Same old parties, same old faces.  It’s not.  What we are now living through is an epochal battle.

This was all predicted in one of my favourite books of the last decade, The Meaning of the 21st Century by James Martin.  The former IBM staffer talked about the tech age back in 1978 in his book The Wired Society, and in this later work he looks at how the world will be changed by technology throughout this century.  But he insisted that it wouldn’t be plain sailing.  He described this process as a river, which plunges into a narrow ravine and becomes a hell of white water, before broadening out into a peaceful drift into a pleasant future.

We’re in that ravine now, and the turbulence is going to be great.  But if we want to come out the other side, we all have to work together to oppose those who’d rather see the whole raft sink.

Left and Right was a good way of defining the political struggle of the last century.  No longer.  Now, all over the West, party barriers are being transcended.

The true political battle of the 21st century is the past versus the future.  You have Left and Right on both sides, one tribe looking back to a perceived golden age, one looking forward, with vested interests everywhere tugging at sleeves.

There’s no room for sitting on the fence.  Our choice now is to stand up, argue, vote for the person or party that’s at least vaguely heading for the destination you want, even if they’re not your perfect choice.  (As an aside, there are no perfect choices in politics.)

I’m looking to the future – that’s where the world I want to live in exists.  You?