Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Technology

The role of technology in food production and preparation dates back to the neolithic discovery of controlled fire. These days new technologies in, for example, agricultural production, processing and food preservation are key to achieving a sufficient supply of food for a growing population. Controversies and disagreements exist around many technologies and their enabling infrastructure, most notably genetic modification, confined animal feeding operations and chemical crop protection.

18 February 2015

Two reports this week by the US National Research Council look at whether humans could artificially steer Earth's climate by reflecting sunlight back into space, or by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The twin reports– Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool the Earth argue that carbon dioxide removal might have a place in a broader response plan, but sunlight-reflecting technologies are too risky.

23 October 2014

This report, Closing the door on HFCs, documents the continued shift away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the supermarket refrigeration sector. Now in its sixth year, EIA’s Chilling Facts reports have become an important resource used to disseminate information about progress in the shift away from HFC-based technology.

15 October 2014

In this Carbon Brief blog Dr. Rob Bellamy presents an analysis of geoengineering, discussing available alternative options, different perspectives and the complexity of applying such solutions to the real world. In presenting the results of past studies he concludes that despite the addition of more options and perspectives, there is a remarkable consistency of arguments in geoengineering proposals and alternatives. 

Read the full article here.

Read more about geoengineering on our website.

5 September 2014

The FoodSwitch app, developed by the George Institute for Global Health to help you make healthier food choices is one of three winners of the Public Health England Award. The app was designed to help the consumer make better food choices and works by displaying nutritional information and offering the user healthier alternatives to the items in their shopping basket.

27 March 2014

We include this initiative because it addresses the challenges of of ‘closing the food loop’. This innovative solar-thermal toilet was developed by a team led by CU-Boulder Professor Karl Linden to improve sanitation and hygiene in developing countries.

18 February 2014

The Danish Council of Ethics has launched an English version of its report on the ethical challenges associated with bioenergy production. The “Report on bioenergy, food production, and ethics in a globalised world” considers the production of bioenergy in a situation characterized by several major global crises - energy, food, climate and natural resources. Some forms of bioenergy may be a tool in battling the energy crisis and the climate crisis. However, growing energy crops may compete with food production and nature for scarce resources and thereby counter solutions to the equally acute crises concerning food and natural resources. The main focus of the report is thus on the ways bioenergy competes with food production and nature for scarce resources. The Council focuses also on the values that determine the choice of strategy in regard to countering these four challenges and points out that ethical deliberations should be more made more explicit in political decision-making related to major global crises.

28 January 2014

The European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table has launched a new protocol to help consumers make informed choices about their food and drink. It also aims to provide operators along the food chain with scientifically reliable and consistent environmental product information. The ENVIFOOD Protocol provides guidance for assessing the environmental impact of food, feed and drink products throughout their full lifecycles. The European Food SCP Round Table, aside from producing the ENVIFOOD Protocol, has also identified tools for communicating environmental performance, and mapped environmental challenges and good practices along the food chain.

21 October 2013

Lanched on the 16 October 2013, the final report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations Now for the Long Term, is now available online.  

This report calls for a radical shake-up in politics and business to deliver progress on climate change, to reduce economic inequality, improve corporate practices and address the chronic burden of disease.

26 September 2013

With an anticipated expansion in demand for food in urban areas due to the world’s growing urban population, urban agricultural innovations are portrayed in this article as possible solutions. Aeroponic farming systems are one example: these systems allow for clean, efficient, and rapid food production. The crops, which protected from seasonal changes in weather, can be planted and harvested year round without interruption and without contamination from soil, pesticides, and residues. Because aeroponic growing environments are clean and sterile, the chances of spreading plant disease and infection are less common than in soil-based systems.

26 September 2013

This annual report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) focuses on the use of refrigerants with high global warming potential such as HFCs, in major supermarket chains in the UK and Europe. It investigates the progress made  in shifting towards more climate-friendly alternatives. 

Photo: Neil Palmer CIAT, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0
5 September 2013

Achieving food system sustainability is a global priority but there are different views on how it might be achieved. Broadly three perspectives are emerging, defined here as: efficiency oriented, demand restraint and food system transformation. These reflect different conceptualisations on what is practically achievable, and what is desirable, underpinned by different values and ideologies about the role of technology, our relationship with nature and fundamentally what is meant by a ‘good life.’ 

2 July 2013

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD PRESS RELEASE
A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists in an article in the journal Science.

10 June 2013

Presentations from the UK’s Agricultural Technology Strategy event on 21st May are now available on ESKTN _connect sustainable intensification in agriculture website. They can be downloaded from the document library here. Look for the folder entitled: UK Agricultural Technology Strategy event 21st May 2013.

11 March 2013

Science Daily summarises the findings of a paper which reports on recent successful attempts to transgenically breed a pig that utilises  phosphorous more efficiently.  The pigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs, thereby reducing phosphorus pollution in the environment.

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