Meating a wicked problem

Posted on 24 February 2013 by Tess Williams

Meat is an integral part of human diet in most countries, but the vast majority of people who eat meat in Westernised cultures avoid direct participation in the processes of killing and preparing dead animals. This has led to extensive ethical discussion in academic journals and ongoing scrutiny of the subject in the media. Debate tends to polarize into blame and defensiveness as vegans/vegetarians face of against meat eaters in bitter arguments, and criticism of slaughter practices in the Australian press is often deflected onto other cultures and places.

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Methane and livestock: factoids help farmers least of all

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Corey Watts

By any traditional measure, Australia’s graziers and pastoralists have made remarkable achievements in a highly variable climate and a difficult global marketplace. Australian demand for meat and milk remains high and steady, and our exports are strong and growing. Animal agriculture isn’t going away anytime soon. At the same time, livestock production is an important contributor to the global warming, albeit one of many.

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Cattle and methane: More complicated than first meets the (rib) eye

Posted on 17 August 2012 by Asa Wahlquist

A lot of people, amongst them Britain's Lord Stern and Sir Paul McCartney, argue that eating less meat could help save the planet. But there is a growing body of evidence that it is not simply a case of less meat means less heat.

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Food Policy Lessons for 2012 and Beyond

Posted on 21 June 2012 by Shenggen Fan

Despite ongoing challenges to global food security -- from food price volatility and extreme weather shocks, to famine, unrest and conflicts, the year 2011 featured major policy developments that offer encouragement and point to areas where further action is needed in 2012 and beyond.

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Have we entered the era of 'de-growth'?

Posted on 1 November 2011 by Steven Smith

The financial woes of 2008-9 are expected to be minor compared to 2012 and beyond. My understanding of the state of global finances, based on discussion with people who understand the economy, combined with my knowledge of resources, food production,  technology and climate change, leads me to conclude that we are on the cusp of ‘peak growth’.

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Future Production of Food Crops

Posted on 3 June 2011 by Steven Smith

 The ‘green revolution’ and industrialisation of agriculture led to huge increases in crop production around the world. Now the pressure is on to feed 3 billion extra mouths in the next 40 years while the climate changes and the costs of energy and resources escalate. As a plant geneticist and physiologist, I see the future contribution to be made by plant breeders as valuable, but quantitatively small. Instead, changes in the expectations and actions of people will play the major role in steering us through some challenging decades ahead. Here I summarise some of the issues that will challenge food production and suggest that our greatest need is to recognise that ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

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