Transcript: The Future of Food on a Hotter Planet | Feb 12, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "The future of food on a hotter planet. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says AGRICULTURE THRIVES ON IDEAL CONDITIONS. DROUGHT, FIRE, FLOODING AND OTHER SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS - ALL OF WHICH ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE - ARE TERRIBLE FOR GROWING THE FOOD WE ALL RELY ON. HOW MIGHT OUR FOOD SYSTEMS AND OUR TASTES HAVE TO CHANGE IN LIGHT OF A WARMING PLANET? LET'S FIND OUT WITH: IN AUSTIN, TEXAS VIA SKYPE: TOM PHILPOTT, FOOD AND AGRICULTURE CORRESPONDENT FOR MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE AND AUTHOR OF THE FORTHCOMING BOOK, "PERILOUS BOUNTY: THE LOOMING COLLAPSE OF AMERICAN FARMING AND HOW TO PREVENT IT."

Tom is in his fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He's wearing glasses, a dark suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues IN WASHINGTON, DC: JANET RANGANATHAN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR SCIENCE AND RESEARCH AT THE WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE.

Janet is in her fifties, with chin-length straight brown hair and feathery bangs. She's wearing a gray jacket and a spotted gray scarf.

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO: PHILIP LORING, ARRELL FOOD INSTITUTE CHAIR IN FOOD, POLICY AND SOCIETY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH...

Philip is in his forties, with mid-parted wavy brown hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit and a pale blue shirt.

Steve continues AND LORI STAHLBRAND, PROFESSOR OF FOOD STUDIES AT GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE. HERE IN TORONTO AND WE WELCOME EVERYBODY, BOTH HERE IN OUR STUDIO AND IN POINTS BEYOND TO OUR DISCUSSION....

Lori is in her fifties, with blond hair in a short bob and bangs. She's wearing rounded glasses, a gray suit, blue blouse and gray metal necklace.

Steve continues ARE YOU THE SAME LORI STAHLBRAND I USED TO WORK WITH AT CBC 30 YEARS AGO?

Lori says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says OH, MY GOSH. HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE I SAW YOU?

Lori says IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME.

Steve says LET'S SET THIS UP AND, MR. DIRECTOR, IF YOU WOULD MIND BRINGING THIS GRAPHIC UP SO WE CAN SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH THOSE WATCHING AND LISTENING ON PODCAST. ACCORDING TO THE AIR REL FOOD INSTITUTE...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Climate change versus the food system."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
FARMERS WILL HAVE TO PRODUCE 50 percent MORE FOOD TO FEED A POPULATION OF MORE THAN 9 BILLION PEOPLE BY THE YEAR 2050. 50 percent MORE FOOD. HOWEVER, CLIMATE MODELS SHOW THAT GLOBAL CROP PRODUCTION WILL DECLINE EVERY DECADE FOR THE REST OF THIS CENTURY DUE TO DROUGHT, HEAT, AND FLOODING. CLIMATE CHANGE MAY REDUCE CROP YIELDS BY 2 percent PER DECADE OVER THE NEXT 100 YEARS. ANOTHER ESTIMATE BY THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES IN 2011 SAYS THAT FOR EVERY DEGREE CELSIUS THAT THE GLOBAL THERMOSTAT RISES, THERE WILL BE A 5 TO 15 PERCENT DECREASE IN OVERALL CROP PRODUCTION. CLIMATE CHANGE ALSO PUTS SOME OF OUR TASTIEST FOODS IN PERIL, INCLUDING COFFEE, WINE GRAPES, CHERRIES, CITRUS FRUITS AND CACAO. IS THAT HOW YOU SAY THAT?

Janet says COCOA.

Steve says ALL THE DELICIOUS FOODS ARE DYING. OKAY. WE'VE GOT A SERIOUS DISCONNECT HERE AND I WANT TO START WITH JANET IN WASHINGTON. CAN YOU TELL US, IN YOUR VIEW, TO WHAT EXTENT CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFFECTING OUR FOOD SYSTEM TODAY?

The caption changes to "Janet Ranganathan. World Resources Institute."

Janet says SIGNIFICANTLY. THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ARE ALREADY BEING FELT GLOBALLY. THE ORDER OF WHEAT HAS FALLEN. AS THE TEMPERATURE CHANGES AND PRESCRIPTION AND SEE LEVEL RISES, WE'RE GOING TO SEE A LOT WORSE. THIS CHALLENGE IS EXACERBATED BY THE POINT THAT YOU MADE, STEVE, WHICH IS THAT WE HAVE TO INCREASE THE FOOD PRODUCED BY OUR SYSTEM BY 56 percent, ACTUALLY 56 percent BETWEEN NOW AND 2050 WHILE CONTENDING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS AS WELL AS RESTRICTING THE EXPANSION OF AGRICULTURE INTO THE REMAINING FORESTS AND DOING THIS WITHIN A GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BUDGET. WHAT I LIKE TO CALL THE MOTHER OF ALL SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES IN HOW TO FEED THE WORLD SUSTAINABLY.

Steve says INDEED. IT SOUNDS LIKE IT. TOM, LET ME GET YOU TO FOLLOW UP, THE FOOD WRITER I QUOTED, AMANDA LITTLE, SAYS WE CAN ACTUALLY TASTE CLIMATE CHANGE IN OUR FOOD TODAY. CAN WE?

The caption changes to "Tom Philpott. Mother Jones. Author, 'Perilous bounty.'"

A map of southern U.S.A. appears briefly on screen highlighting the location of Austin, Texas.

Tom says I THINK IT'S... I THINK IT'S TRUE. I THINK MAYBE IT'S A LITTLE BIT LESS TRUE IN THE UNITED STATES AND MAYBE IN SORT OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PART OF NORTH AMERICA BECAUSE WE ARE, YOU KNOW, SO FAR WE ARE PROSPEROUS ENOUGH TO WHERE WE HAVE A STEADY SUPPLY OF INEXPENSIVE FOOD DESPITE A BUNCH OF RECENT SHOCKS, BUT I THINK THAT WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS A FRAYING AROUND THE EDGES. YOU KNOW, WE SAW MASSIVE STORMS IN THE MIDWEST LAST YEAR. THIS IS OUR CORN BELT, THIS IS OUR BREAD BASKET. AND THE STORMS DIDN'T END UP CAUSING A LOT OF YIELD DROP. THEY CAUSED SOME YIELD DROP. THEY CAUSED SOME ACREAGES NOT TO BE PLANTED. BUT THE REAL HIDDEN IMPACT THAT I THINK WE ARE YET TO SEE IS THE WASHING AWAY OF SOIL. YOU KNOW, BASICALLY BECAUSE THE WAY THAT OUR FOOD SYSTEM WORKS IN THE CORN BELT, WHICH IS THE SORT OF UPPER MIDWEST OF THE UNITED STATES, YOU BASICALLY HAVE TWO CROPS GROWN, CORN AND SOYBEANS, AND NOTHING ON THE GROUND IN THE WINTER AND SPRING. IT'S COMPLETELY BARE GROUND. SO WHEN THESE SPRING STORMS COME RAGING IN, YOU'VE GOT SOIL VULNERABLE TO WASHING AWAY AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR. AND SO I THINK WE'RE STILL AT THE BEGINNING OF SEEING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE HERE IN THE GLOBAL NORTH. AND I THINK IT'S DIFFERENT IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH. I THINK THEY'VE FELT IT MORE. AND THEN THE FOODS THAT YOU MENTIONED, WE ARE SEEING, YOU KNOW, THOSE WILL BE GETTING MORE EXPENSIVE FOR SURE.

Steve says LORI, LET ME GET YOU INTO THIS INASMUCH AS THE POLLINATORS. WE DEPEND ON THE POLLINATORS FOR A LOT OF OUR FOOD AND WHAT IMPACT IS CLIMATE CHANGE HAVING ON OUR POLLINATORS.

The caption changes to "Lori Stahlbrand. George Brown College."

Lori says DEFINITELY CLIMATE CHANGE IS HAVING AN IMPACT ON POLLINATORS. ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF OUR FOOD IS ACTUALLY DIRECTLY RELATED TO POLLINATION AND COULD NOT BE PRODUCED WITHOUT POLLINATORS.

Steve says NAME NAMES.

The caption changes to "It's happening now."

Lori says ALL SORTS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND TREE FRUITS, THINGS LIKE ALMONDS. IT'S ACTUALLY A SITUATION NOW WHERE, IN CALIFORNIA, THEY ARE BRINGING IN BEES THAT WILL POLLINATE THE ALMOND TREES BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH POLLINATORS AROUND AND WE'RE SEEING THAT ALL OVER THE WORLD. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THIS IS A MAJOR ISSUE. BUT THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT WE CAN DO ABOUT THAT.

Steve says HOLD OFF ON THAT.

Lori says WE WILL GET INTO THAT.

Steve says WE ARE SURELY GOING TO GET INTO THAT. WE'LL IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM AND SEE IF THERE'S ANYTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. WHAT ABOUT THE FISHERIES, PHILIP?

The caption changes to "Philip Loring. Arrell Food Institute."

Philip says I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT THIS UP. FISH ARE ONE OF THE MOSTLY TRADED COMMODITIES IN THE WORLD. AS THE ATMOSPHERE WARMS, A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE THAT MUCH OF THE WARMING, MAYBE AS MUCH AS 80 percent IS GOING INTO THE OCEANS FIRST. YOU WARM UP WATER AND YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS. FISH GO INTO DIFFERENT PLACES, ECOSYSTEMS CHANGE, PREDATOR-PREY RELATIONSHIPS DECOUPLE. YOU SEE FISHING MOVE NORTH OR POLE-WARD AND GO DEEPER. THAT HAS IMPLICATIONS FOR FISHERMEN AND FISHING LIVELIHOODS, BUT WE SEE MAJOR POPULATION DISRUPTIONS, PACIFIC COASTAL SALMON, IT IMPACTS THE MARKET.

Steve says FISHERS WE CALL THEM NOW. THEY SAY THAT STUFF IN MY NET, I'VE NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. WE DON'T USUALLY SEE THAT STUFF UP HERE. BIZARRE, EH?

The caption changes to "Philip Loring. University of Guelph."

Philip says IT IS. YOU SEE SPECIES OF SALMON GOING UP INTO ARCTIC RIVERS THAT YOU HAVEN'T SEEN... WELL, THERE ARE ORAL HISTORIES ABOUT THEM BEING THERE BUT NOT IN A LONG TIME. AND IN THE TROPICS, THERE IS WHERE PEOPLE RELY ON AS MUCH AS 80 percent OF THEIR PROTEIN FROM THE SEA, THOSE FISH CAN'T TOLERATE MUCH WARMER WATERS. SO ENTIRE LIVELIHOODS AROUND FISHERIES WILL BE IMPACTED.

Steve says JANET, ONE CO2 IS A GREENHOUSE GAS BUT IT'S ALSO PLANT FOOD. AND I WONDER WHAT EFFECT HAS MORE CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE HAD ON THE PLANTS THAT WE EAT?

The caption changes to "Janet Ranganathan. World Resources Institute."

Janet says IT'S KIND OF INTERESTING BECAUSE SOME OF THE EARLIER INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE STUDIES SAW THAT INCREASING CO2 CONCENTRATE IN THE ATMOSPHERE WOULD INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTIVITY, AND TO SOME DEGREE IT DOES. BUT SOME OF THE ADVERSE IMPACTS AROUND WEATHER CHANGES KIND OF COUNTER THAT. JUST TO GO BACK TO YOUR QUICK QUESTION ABOUT CAN YOU ACTUALLY TASTE CLIMATE CHANGE? BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN SOME RESEARCH THAT SHOWS THAT ACTUALLY THE NUTRIENT QUALITY OF FOOD ACTUALLY DECLINES UNDER AN INCREASING CO2 CONCENTRATION IN THE ATMOSPHERE. SO MAYBE YOU CAN'T QUITE TASTE THAT, BUT CERTAINLY IT HAS AN EFFECT ON THE NUTRITIONAL QUALITY OF FOOD.

Steve says GOTCHA. I'M GOING TO READ AN EXCERPT FROM A BOOK COMING OUT IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS CALLED "UNCERTAIN HARVEST" AND THIS WILL SET THE TABLE FOR OUR DISCUSSION TO COME. MR. DIRECTOR, IF YOU WOULD?

A quote appears on screen, under the title "A lot like the global banking system." The quote reads "The complex web of imports and exports that makes up our current global food system itself looks a lot like the global banking system just before the 2008 crash. It's a system in which a few nations supply a disproportionate quantity of food to the rest of the world; in which a few major global transportation nodes facilitate much of the world's trade; in which eight crops provide three-quarters of the world's calories; and in which a handful of multinational corporations control up to 90 percent of the world's grain trade.
It doesn't take much to imagine a scenario in which something might happen."
Quoted from I. Mosby, S. Rotz and Evan D.G. Fraser, "Uncertain Harvest. 2020."

Steve says TOM, PICK UP THE STORY, IF YOU WOULD? HOW VULNERABLE IS THE FOOD SYSTEM TODAY TO THE PRESSURES BEING PUT ON IT BY CLIMATE CHANGE?

The caption changes to "Tom Philpott, @tomphilpott."
Then, it changes again to "A vulnerable system."

Tom says I MEAN, I THINK IT'S EXTREMELY VULNERABLE. I MEAN, JUST TO TAKE THE NORTH AMERICAN CASE AS AN EXAMPLE. WE GROW, YOU KNOW, MOST OF THE VEGETABLES THAT WE CONSUME, AT LEAST HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, AND I THINK IT'S ALSO SOMEWHAT TRUE FURTHER UP IN CANADA, COME FROM CALIFORNIA. WE HAVE THIS AMAZING PRODUCTIVITY OF CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE. AND THEN THE CORN AND THE SOYBEANS, YOU KNOW, THAT FEED THE ANIMAL PRODUCTION SYSTEM COME FROM THE GREAT PRAIRIE OF THIS CONTIGUOUS OF CANADA IN THE MIDWEST. SO THESE TWO REGIONS, THE WEST COAST AND THE MIDWEST, PRODUCE AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF THE FOOD THAT WE EAT AND BOTH OF THEM ARE UNDER SERIOUS PRESSURE FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, IN CALIFORNIA, OBVIOUSLY AGRICULTURE THERE HAS OUTSTRIPPED WATER RESOURCES. THEY HAVE AMAZING WATER RESOURCES THERE, BUT THE FOOD PRODUCTION MACHINE OF THAT PLACE HAS OUTGROWN IT. THE 20TH CENTURY WAS AN ANONYMOUSLY WET CENTURY, AND WE'RE HAVING TO ADJUST TO MUCH DRIER CONDITIONS AND DRIER STILL WITH CLIMATE CHANGE. THESE STORMS IN THE MIDWEST ARE PUTTING INCREASING PRESSURE ON SOIL. SOIL IS WASHING AWAY AT SOMETHING LIKE 15 TIMES THE RATE OF REPRODUCTION, IF YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS THERE. AND SO CONCENTRATING INTO THESE TWO PLACES THAT ARE RIGHT NOW UNIQUELY VULNERABLE TO CLIMATE CHANGE I THINK ENDS UP MAKING US VERY, VERY VULNERABLE, AND WE NEED TO RE-THINK THAT SYSTEM.

Steve says WELL, I WANT TO PUT THE NUMBERS THAT WE USED OFF THE TOP TO LORI AND GET YOUR TAKE ON THIS. BECAUSE WE DID SAY THAT IN 30 YEARS' TIME, THERE WILL BE 9 BILLION PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET. GIVEN THE CURRENT STATE OF THE FOOD SYSTEM AND THE TRAJECTORY WE SEEM TO BE ON, WILL IT BE POSSIBLE TO FEED THAT MANY PEOPLE GIVEN ALL OF WHAT WE'VE DISCUSSED?

The caption changes to "Feeding more than 9 billion by 2050."

Lori says WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF DISPUTE ABOUT EXACTLY HOW MUCH MORE FOOD WE'RE GOING TO NEED TO FEED PEOPLE. THERE'S ALSO A LOT OF DISPUTE ABOUT WHETHER ADDING MORE FOOD PRODUCTION IS ACTUALLY WHAT WE HAVE TO DO. IN FACT, A BIG PART OF WHAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT IS THE CURRENT FOOD SYSTEM AND WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH THAT. SO WE WASTE ONE-THIRD OF THE FOOD THAT WE PRODUCE. LOSS AND WASTE. SO LOSS IS ACTUALLY BEFORE IT EVEN GETS TO MANUFACTURING OR RETAILER OR THE CONSUMER AND WASTE IS AT THAT POINT MANUFACTURING, PROCESSING, RETAIL, AND IN OUR HOME.

Steve says FULLY ONE-THIRD.

Lori says ONE-THIRD.

Steve says THIS IS NORTH AMERICA?

Lori says THIS IS ACROSS THE GLOBE. IN NORTH AMERICA WE EVEN VERGE ON GETTING UP TO 50 percent. THERE WAS AN EXCELLENT STUDY THAT CAME OUT LAST YEAR THAT SHOWED IN CANADA WE'RE AROUND 50 percent. SO IF WE STOPPED WASTING ALL THAT FOOD, THAT'S ONE BIG THING. THE SECOND THING IS, WE'RE SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH TIME GROWING CORN AND SOY. CORN AND SOY MONOCULTURES, LIKE THE PICTURES WE HAVE BEHIND US ON THE SCREEN, WHICH DON'T HAVE ANY RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE. THEY DON'T GIVE US ANY BIODIVERSITY. AND THEY'RE USED TO FEED ANIMALS WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE TOO MUCH IN THE WAY OF INTENSIVE LIVESTOCK OPERATION. SO IF WE START TO MOVE AWAY FROM THAT, THE OTHER BIG THING OF COURSE THEY'RE USED FOR, ESPECIALLY THE CORN, IS FOR ULTRA PROCESSED CONCERNS, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. THEY'RE ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS. THEY'RE ALSO CAUSING CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS. SO IF WE START THINKING ABOUT THE FOOD SYSTEM DIFFERENTLY, INSTEAD OF JUST THINKING ABOUT REDUCING GAS GAS EMISSIONS, SOMETIMES THAT'S CALLED CARBONISM. JUST FOCUSING ON HOW DO WE REDUCE THE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. BUT IF WE THINK ABOUT THE WHOLE FOOD SYSTEM, THE FOOD SYSTEM CAN ACTUALLY BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS, NOT JUST THE PROBLEM.

Steve says PHILIP, HOW MUCH OF THAT DO YOU WANT TO SIGN ONTO?

The caption changes to "Philip Loring, @ConserveChange."

Philip says 100 PERCENT, REALLY. THE CHALLENGE ON FOCUSING ON JUST ONE OUTCOME... I MEAN, CLIMATE CHANGE IS IMPORTANT, PROBABLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH IN OUR LIVES. BUT OUR FOOD SYSTEMS ARE ABOUT A LOT MORE THAN JUST PRODUCING FOOD. THEY'RE ABOUT EDUCATION, ABOUT CONNECTING WITH THE LAND, ABOUT STEWARDSHIP AND BIODIVERSITY AND NUTRITION AND FAMILY AND SO FORTH. THERE'S LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES OUT THERE TO FIND SOLUTIONS THAT DIVERSIFY, THAT HELPING FARMING FAMILIES. I WOULD POINT OUT IN ADDITION TO OUR FOOD BEING VULNERABLE, OUR FARMING FAMILIES, WHO ALREADY OPERATE ON A MARGIN PARTIALLY BECAUSE THEY'RE LOCKED IN TO SUCH A SIMPLE, COMPLICATED BUT VULNERABLE SYSTEM, ARE ALSO REALLY VULNERABLE. PRAIRIE FARMERS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN THEY HAD THAT REALLY WET YEAR, REALLY WET SPRING IN 2019. THAT WAS HARD. I WORK WITH A LOT OF FARMERS IN SASKATCHEWAN AND THAT WAS A ROUGH YEAR, DEALING WITH ALL THAT WATER. AND SO IF WE FIND A WAY, AS WE TALKED ABOUT HERE, TO FIND SOLUTIONS THAT DON'T JUST FOCUS ON ONE PART OF THE PROBLEM BUT ARE MORE SYSTEMIC AND LOOK AT THE SORT OF CORE DRIVERS INSTEAD OF THE SYSTEMS. CLIMATE CHANGE IS A BIT OF A SYMPTOM OF BIGGER CULTURAL PROBLEMS WE NEED TO ADDRESS.

Steve says JANET, CAN I GET YOU TO WEIGH IN ON THAT?

The caption changes to "How to adapt."

Janet says YES. ACTUALLY, THIS IS A... HOW DO WE SUSTAINABLY FEED THE PLANET IN 2050? THIS IS WHAT WE LOOKED AT WITH OUR PARTNERS. WE PUBLISHED SOMETHING CALLED CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FOOD FUTURE. AND BASICALLY WHAT THAT SAID IS, YES, WE COULD DO THIS, BUT THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET, AND WE ACTUALLY IDENTIFIED WHAT WE CALL A FIVE-COURSE MENU OF SOLUTIONS. THE FIRST COURSE WAS ABOUT REDUCING DEMAND FOR FOOD, SO LORI MENTIONED FOOD WASTE. THAT'S ONE OF THOSE. WE ALSO NEED TO SHIFT DIETS TOWARDS, YOU KNOW, FOODS THAT ARE LESS LAND INTENSIVE, SO BEEF, FOR EXAMPLE, USES 20 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF LAND, PRODUCES 20 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AS YOUR AVERAGE PLANT-BASED PROTEIN. WE HAVE THE ISSUE OF COMPETITION OF LAND. THAT WAS A FIRST COURSE. SECOND COURSE, AND I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THIS, WE'RE SURPRISED AT HOW SIGNIFICANT THIS WAS AS A PART OF THE SOLUTION. WE ACTUALLY NEED TO INCREASE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF CROPS AND LIVESTOCK ON EXISTING LAND. AND THE REASON WE NEED TO DO THAT IS BECAUSE IF WE DON'T, THE AGRICULTURAL LAND FOOTPRINT WILL CONTINUE TO EXPAND INTO WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF THE REMAINING FOREST. SO THAT'S THE SECOND ONE. THE THIRD ONE, MY COLLEAGUES WILL LIKE HERE, IT'S ABOUT USING FISHERY SUSTAINABLY AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, TAKING MORE FROM AQUA CULTURE, DONE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY, TO TAKE PRESSURES OFF WILD FISH TO ALLOW THEM TO RECOVER. THE FOURTH ITEM WAS ABOUT PROTECTING, LINKING PRODUCTIVITY GAINS, LAND-SPARING STRATEGIES TO THE PROTECTION OF THE REMAINING NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS. AND THEN FINALLY A WHOLE SLEW OF SOLUTIONS THAT ARE REALLY INNOVATIVE AROUND REDUCING THE PRODUCTION-RELATED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS OF AGRICULTURE, WHICH ARE ABOUT 12 percent OF TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says TOM PHILPOTT, HOW MUCH OF THAT LIST WOULD YOU LIKE TO SIGN ONTO?

Tom says I LIKE A WHOLE LOT OF IT. ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO ADD TO IT IS IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM, IN THE CURRENT SORT OF WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM WHERE WE ALREADY HAVE AT THIS POINT, WHEN WE'RE SORT OF JUST MOVING INTO AN ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE, WE ALREADY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE A BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET WHO AREN'T GETTING ENOUGH TO EAT, AND I THINK FIGURING OUT SOLUTIONS TO THAT PROBLEM ARE GOING TO BE ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL GOING FORWARD, OR WE'RE GOING TO SEE, YOU KNOW, THIS WHOLE OTHER SITUATION THAT WE'RE ALREADY SEEING NOW OF CLIMATE REFUGEES, OF PEOPLE FLEEING AREAS WHERE THERE'S FOOD SCARCITY, AND I THINK THAT WE... YOU KNOW, IT'S ESSENTIAL TO PRODUCE MORE AND THE CROPS BE MORE PRODUCTIVE AND MORE RESILIENT, BUT NONE OF THAT IS GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF WE DON'T FIGURE OUT A WAY TO END SYSTEMIC POVERTY THAT IS ALREADY HAUNTING US AND THAT WILL ONLY... IT'S LIKE A TIME BOMB THAT'S GOING TO GO OFF IF WE DON'T FIGURE OUT SOMETHING ABOUT IT. IMPROVING SOCIAL SAFETY NETS WORLD WIDE, IMPROVING ACCESS TO FOOD. I MEAN, WE'RE ALREADY WAY OVERPRODUCING FOOD WITH THIS MASSIVE HUNGER PROBLEM, AND I THINK THAT IS GOING TO BE A KEY CHALLENGE.

Steve says ALL RIGHT. LORI, LET ME GET YOU TO PICK UP, THOUGH, ON THE FIRST COUPLE OF ITEMS THAT WERE ON JANET'S LIST THERE, REDUCING DEMAND AND SHIFTING DIETS. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU. I DON'T SEE ANY... FORGIVE THE PUN... I DON'T SEE ANY APPETITE AMONG THE PUBLIC TO DO EITHER OF THOSE TWO THINGS AT THE MOMENT. WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE?

Lori says I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE ONLY THING IT'S GOING TO TAKE. SO WE SHOULDN'T BE PUTTING ALL OUR EMPHASIS ON SHIFTING DIETS. WE NEED TO LOOK AT INTENSIVE LIVESTOCK OPERATIONS AND WHY WE'RE GROWING SO MUCH ANIMAL FEED WHEN ANIMALS CAN BE ON PASTURE. I THINK WE DO NEED TO BE LOOKING AT REDUCING HOW MUCH MEAT WE'RE EATING. BUT ANIMALS ARE PART OF A HEALTHY FARMING SYSTEM. IF YOU DON'T SEPARATE THEM OUT FROM THE FARMING SYSTEM, YOU DON'T HAVE ALL THAT POOP TO DEAL WITH THAT ENDS UP CAUSING E. COLI IN ROMAINE LETTUCE OUTBREAKS, IT'S A NUTRIENT THAT CAN HELP US TO GROW MORE FOOD. SO IF WE START GETTING AWAY FROM HIGH-INPUT AGRICULTURE, THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE NEED TO BE DOING, AND THAT MEANS GETTING AWAY FROM AGRICULTURE THAT'S SUPER-EMPHASIZING FOSSIL FUEL INPUTS. SO NITROGEN-BASED FERTILIZERS AND NITROGEN BASED AND OTHER KINDS OF FOSSIL FUEL-BASED PESTICIDES ARE REALLY AT THE CORE OF IT. AND THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY WE START TO GROW AND CHANGE THE FACT THAT WE'RE THEN GOING TO NEED MORE DIVERSITY IN WHAT WE'RE GROWING. SO IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT REDUCING MEAT, REDUCING PROTEIN.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says NO, I GET THAT. IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THAT. BUT, PHILIP, WHERE'S THE EVIDENCE THAT THE PUBLIC IS PREPARED TO DRAMATICALLY REDUCE ITS MEAT INTAKE IN ORDER TO, YOU KNOW, FOLLOW SOME OF THE ITEMS ON THIS LIST HERE?

Philip says YOU KNOW, THE WAY WE EAT TODAY IS RELATIVELY NEW. THE AMOUNT OF MEAT-BASED, ANIMAL-BASED PROTEIN IN OUR DIETS IN NORTH AMERICA IS... IT'S A RELATIVELY RECENT DEVELOPMENT IN HOW WE EAT. AND IT'S BEEN A CHANGE OVER TIME THAT FEW PEOPLE REALLY HAVEN'T PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO UNTIL NOW THE COLLECTIVE CHALLENGE OF THAT AND HOW WE PRODUCE IT. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOUR ALL THE TIME IN RESPONSE TO A VARIETY OF THINGS, TRENDS, WHAT WE CONSIDER AS BEING THE AFFLUENT MEAL, A SIGN OF SUCCESS, AND I DO THINK THERE'S INTEREST. YOU KNOW, I TEACH UNDERGRADUATE COURSES ON SUSTAINABILITY, AND WHENEVER I LET THEM SELF-SELECT WHAT IT IS THEY SEE IN THEIR OWN BEHAVIOUR AS WANTING TO CHANGE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, THEY ARE ALL ON BOARD WITH A PLANT-RICH DIET. THEY'RE NOT SAYING LET'S DITCH FISH, LET'S DITCH MEAT, BUT THEY'RE ON BOARD WITH THIS IDEA IN EATING IN A MORE RESPONSIBLE WAY.

Steve says JANET, IN WHICH CASE, LET'S MAKE A LITTLE LIST HERE. EAT ORGANIC. GO LOCAL. DON'T EAT FARMED FISH. IF WE DO ALL THOSE THINGS, HOW CLOSE DOES THAT GET US TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE?

Janet says I'D LIKE TO ANSWER THAT. FIRST I WANT TO EMPHASIZE, I'M NOT ARGUING THAT SHIFTING DIET IS THE ONLY SOLUTION. I JUST LAID OUT A VERY COMPREHENSIVE FIVE-COURSE MENU.

Steve says INDEED. THAT WAS JUST A COUPLE OF THEM.

Janet says ON THE ISSUE OF ORGANIC FOOD, THE CHALLENGE OF ORGANIC FOOD RIGHT NOW IS THERE'S A SORT OF YIELD PENALTY OF AROUND 20 percent. SO WHAT THAT MEANS IS NOW WE NEED MORE LAND TO PRODUCE FOOD. YOU KNOW, IF WE WANT TO FEED THE WORLD IN 2050 ON AN ORGANIC DIET, WE HAVE TO SEE SIGNIFICANT AND SUSTAINABLE INCREASES IN THE YIELDS OF THE ORGANIC FOOD SYSTEM. I WANT TO PUT THAT THERE. I ALSO WANT TO GIVE A QUICK CALLOUT TO THE CITY OF TORONTO BECAUSE THEY MADE A PLEDGE TO JOIN THE CORE FOOD PITCH INITIATIVE WHERE THEY'VE ACTUALLY COMMITTED TO REDUCE THEIR GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY 25 percent BY SERVING UP MORE AND DELICIOUS AND TASTY FOOD, AND TO JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION ABOUT, WE CAN'T GET PEOPLE TO SHIFT DIETS. LET ME JUST GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES. YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE LANGUAGE OF MENUS. YOU CAN USE SORT OF BEHAVIOURAL... NOT JUST TO GET PEOPLE TO INCREASE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THEY CHANGE THEIR DIET. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. HERE IS GARLIC-TWISTED... SORRY, TWISTED GARLIC AND GINGER SLOW-ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH. IF YOU NAME IT THAT VERSUS BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH NO ADDED SUGAR. JUST HOW YOU FRAME...
[LAUGHTER]
HOW YOU FRAME THE DISH. WHENEVER YOU PUT THE VEGETARIAN DISHES IN THE VEGETARIAN BOX. WE FOUND IF YOU DO THAT, THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ORDER THEM ARE OBVIOUSLY VEGETARIAN. THERE ARE A LOT OF THESE STRATEGIES YOU CAN DO TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO VOLUNTARILY MAKE BETTER CHOICES FOR THEIR HEALTH AND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

Steve says THIS NEXT QUESTION HAS TO GO TO THE MAN FROM MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE BECAUSE LARGE MULTINATIONAL FOOD CONGLOMERATES, I WONDER HOW MUCH OF AN OBSTACLE TO THE AGENDA THAT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN DESCRIBING HERE, HOW MUCH OF AN OBSTACLE DO YOU THINK THEY WILL BE?

The caption changes to "The role of big food."

Tom says I THINK THAT ON NET THEY'RE A PRETTY MASSIVE OBSTACLE. I THINK THAT IN THINGS LIKE... I MEAN, YOU'VE GOT A HANDFUL OF COMPANIES THAT DOMINATE, LET'S SAY, INPUT MARKETS FOR THINGS LIKE SEEDS AND PESTICIDES. THESE ARE THE COMPANIES THAT FARMERS ARE BUYING FROM. SO YOU HAVE A MASSIVE CONCENTRATION IN THESE MARKETS, AND THESE COMPANIES... JUST AS AN EXAMPLE... ARE VERY PROFITABLE UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM. I MEAN, THEY RIDE UP AND DOWN COMMODITY WAVES, BUT EVEN IN THEIR BAD YEARS, THEY'RE FAIRLY PROFITABLE BECAUSE IF EVERYONE IS GROWING CORN AND SOYBEANS, THEN EVERYONE HAS GOT TO BUY THEIR SEEDS AND THEY DOMINATE THOSE MARKETS. AND IF THEY'RE GROWING MONOCULTURES, THEY HAVE TO BUY THE PESTICIDES... BASICALLY THEY'RE CREATING A GREAT HABITAT FOR PESTICIDES THAT HAVE TO BE KILLED WITH THE PESTICIDES THAT THESE COMPANIES GROW, AND SO... OR MARKET, AND SO THEY HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN CONTINUING THIS SITUATION, AND WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS WHERE YOU CAN MAINTAIN PRODUCTIVITY, MAINTAIN YIELDS OR EVEN INCREASE YIELDS BY ADDING BIODIVERSITY TO SYSTEMS. SO ADDING A ROTATION OF OATS OR A ROTATION OF HAY INTO A CORN AND SOYBEAN ROTATION, MAINTAIN THE OVERALL FOOD PRODUCTION, BUT GREATLY DECREASE THE USE OF CHEMICALS, AND THAT KIND OF SYSTEM IS NOT IN THOSE COMPANIES' INTERESTS. AND SO THEY WILL BE I THINK AN OBSTACLE AND THEY HAVE BEEN AN OBSTACLE TO POLICY CHANGE TO GET US AWAY FROM THE CORN AND SOYBEAN MONO CROP. I THINK THAT'S ONE EXAMPLE OF COMPANIES THAT ARE BENEFITING FROM THE STATUS QUO, ARE GOING TO BE DRAGGED AWAY FROM IT KICKING AND SCREAMING, I THINK.

Steve says WE HAVE SOME FEEDBACK IN THE STUDIO TO THOSE COMMENTS. PHILIP AND THEN LORI.

Philip says A POINT ON THE BROADER QUESTION YOU'RE ASKING AND THE COMMENT ABOUT THE PRODUCTIVITY LOSS WITH ORGANIC. YOU KNOW, PART OF WHAT TOM JUST SAID SORT OF GETS AT WHY WE SEE THAT. FIRST OF ALL, YOU KNOW, GROWING ORGANIC, SO TO SPEAK, IT'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT... DESCRIBES A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS. AND THERE'S GOOD RESEARCH THAT SUGGESTS IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE CASE THAT YOU TAKE THE HIT, RIGHT? AND PARTLY IT'S BECAUSE, ARE WE RECKONING FOOD SYSTEMS FOR JUST HOW MUCH FOOD THEY PRODUCE OR FOR A PORTFOLIO OF BENEFITS AND MAYBE IN SOME CASES THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF A REDUCTION IN TERMS OF THE PRODUCTION OF FOOD BUT YOU SEE BENEFITS IN TERMS OF WATER, BIODIVERSITY, LIVELIHOODS, GENDER EQUITY, ALL THESE OTHER THINGS. AND SO I PREFER TO TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGE WITH ORGANIC BEING MORE OF A REGIME CHANGE ONE, WHERE THE CHALLENGE, IF THERE IS IN FACT A PRODUCTION ISSUE, IT'S THAT IT'S STILL NOT THE MAINSTREAM. IT'S STILL OPERATING AS THE ALTERNATIVE TO THE MAINSTREAM. WHETHER THAT MEANS PEOPLE ARE FARMING IN THIS WAY ON LESS DESIRABLE LAND OR THEY DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE BEST MARKETS, THERE'S A BIT OF A HANDICAP THERE SO IT'S NOT ALWAYS A FAIR COMPARISON.

Lori says JANET MENTIONED HOW THE CITY OF TORONTO HAS SIGNED THE COOL FOOD PLEDGE. AND I WOULD SAY ONE OF THE BIGGEST TOOLS THAT WE HAVE IS THE PROCUREMENT THAT WE DO, THAT INSTITUTIONS DO, PUBLIC SECTOR INSTITUTIONS IN PARTICULAR, IN TERMS OF THE CITY OF TORONTO RUNS LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES AND CHILD CARE CENTRES, THERE ARE HOSPITALS, THERE ARE SCHOOLS. IF WE PUSH BACK THROUGH THE FOOD SYSTEM BY SAYING, WE WANT LOCAL, WE WANT SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED FOOD, THAT'S WHAT WE WANT TO BE PURCHASING AND WE'RE USING OUR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO DO THAT, I THINK THAT'S GOING TO START TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THOSE BIG CORPORATIONS AND PUSH BACK THROUGH THE SYSTEM TO START TO CHANGE THE FOOD SYSTEM. IT'S VERY HARD TO PUT IT ON THE INDIVIDUAL, YOU KNOW? WE HAVE TO CHANGE WHAT WE EAT. YES, WE DO. BUT WE'VE GOT THIS INCREDIBLY POWER TOOL OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND WE NEED TO MAKE USE OF THAT.

Steve says JANET, I WONDER WHETHER YOU SEE... I MEAN, PRESUMABLY CORPORATIONS CAN SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL. THEY'RE NOT TOO FAR AWAY FROM A DIFFERENT PARTY IN POWER, FOR EXAMPLE, IN WASHINGTON, D.C. FROM POTENTIALLY SEEING MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT REGULATION IN THIS AREA, AND ARE THEY LIKELY TO LEAD THE R and D REQUIRED TO MAKE THIS TRANSFORMATION THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT?

Janet says SO... YES. I ACTUALLY THINK SOME OF THE BIGGEST INNOVATIONS WE'RE GOING TO SEE, PARTICULARLY AROUND DEALING WITH THE PRODUCTION-RELATED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, ARE GOING TO COME FROM LARGE CORPORATIONS. HOPEFULLY WITH R and D SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT. AND I ALSO WANT TO KIND OF SAY THAT IT'S EASY TO PAINT THE BUSINESSES THE BAD GUYS, AND IN SOME CASES THEY CERTAINLY ARE, BUT THEY'RE ALSO THE PROVIDER OF SOLUTIONS. LET'S GIVE YOU THREE EXAMPLES. YOU KNOW, THE COMMITMENTS BY LARGE FOOD COMPANIES NOW TO AVOIDING DEFORESTATION IN THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN. SO AGRICULTURE EXPANSION IS 80 percent OF TROPICAL FOREST DEFORESTATION. SO THOSE COMMITMENTS, THAT'S GOOD. I EVEN TALKED TO ONE COMPANY RECENTLY, MARS, THE FOOD COMPANY. THEY NOT ONLY MADE A DEFORESTATION COMMITMENT IN THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN... IT'S LIKE THE PROCUREMENT THING THAT LORI MENTIONED BUT THEY COMMITTED TO FREEZING THEIR AGRICULTURE LAND FOOTPRINT, AND THAT FOR A GROWING COMPANY LIKE MARS IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT ENDEAVOUR. THAT MEANS THEY HAVE TO INCREASE THE PRODUCTIVITY ON THAT LAND TO BE ABLE TO MEET THEIR MARKET GROWTH, WHICH CAN BE GOOD FOR ALL THOSE POOR FARMERS, FOR EXAMPLE, IN WEST AFRICA THAT ARE GROWING CACAO, THAT HELPS THEM RISE OUT OF POVERTY. SECOND EXAMPLE, LAST WEEK I WAS UP AT THE GLOBAL FERTILIZERS ASSOCIATION MEETING. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW BUT ONLY 47 percent OF FERTILIZERS THAT ARE ADDED TO THE LAND ACTUALLY ARE TAKEN UP BY PLANTS. THE REST RUNS INTO THE WATERWAY SYSTEM, IT CREATES DEAD ZONES IN LAKES AND COASTAL AREAS. YOU KNOW, THEY'VE BEEN DOING INNOVATIONS THERE AROUND COATINGS TO SEED, SO SLOW-RELEASED FERTILIZER, SO THERE'S MORE TAKEN UP BY PLANTS. THE SECOND THING IS NITROGEN INHIBITORS THAT YOU CAN ADD WITH THE FERTILIZER AND IT SLOWS THE RELEASE OF NITROUS OXIDE, A GREENHOUSE GAS, FROM THE APPLICATION OF FERTILIZERS. THE THIRD ONE WAS ACTUALLY AROUND THE FOOD WASTE ISSUE. SO A COMPANY IN CALIFORNIA HAVE ACTUALLY DEVELOPED A THIN LAYER, BIODEGRADABLE LAYER THAT YOU SPRAY ONTO FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND IT HELPS THEM PRESERVE LONGER AND IT'S A WAR AGAINST BACTERIA. SO, YOU KNOW, TO TRY TO TAKE A BITE OUT OF THAT ONE-THIRD OR ONE-QUARTER, IF YOU LOOK AT IT BY CALORIES, OF FOOD LOST BETWEEN THE FIELD AND FORK.

A picture shows packets of a product called "Beyond burger" on display in a store.

Steve says IN OUR REMAINING MOMENTS HERE TONIGHT, I WANT TO PUT SOME FAKE MEAT ON THE TABLE HERE, FIGURATIVELY OF COURSE, NOT LITERALLY. HERE WE GO. WORLDWIDE IT'S ESTIMATED THAT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION ACCOUNTS FOR 15 percent OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, AND SO WE ARE INTO A WORLD NOW OF BEYOND MEAT. IT'S STUFF THAT TASTES LIKE MEAT BUT IT'S NOT REALLY MEAT. STRAGGLING BEHIND IT IS THE PROMISE OF LAB-GROWN MEAT. IT'S MEAT THAT'S GROWN IN A LAB, IT'S USING THE CELLS OF A COW OR A DUCK OR A CHICKEN. IN 2013, A COMPANY PRODUCED THE FIRST LAB GROWN BEEF BURGER AT A COST OF 425,000 CANADIAN DOLLARS. THAT MAY BE A BIT BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO PAY. THE COST IS ESTIMATED BY NEXT YEAR TO BE DOWN CLOSER TO 10 AMERICAN dollars. THAT'S A LITTLE MORE IN THE BALLPARK. LET'S GET INTO SOME DISCUSSION OF THIS. TOM, YOU FIRST. HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN TERMS OF BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE FOOD OF THE FUTURE?

Another picture shows a man holding a petri dish containing what looks like meat.

The caption changes to "The promise of fake meat."

Tom says WELL, FIRST I WANT TO SAY, I'M SKEPTICAL OF THE LAB-BASED MEAT CONCEPT BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN HEARING FOR NEARLY A DECADE ABOUT, WE'VE GOT THESE REALLY EXPENSIVE LAB-BASED MEATS THAT ARE ALREADY HERE, AND NEXT YEAR THEY'RE GOING TO GET REALLY CHEAP. WELL, WE'VE BEEN HEARING THAT FOR A WHILE. I THINK THERE ARE SOME TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES THAT ARE GOING TO BE REALLY HARD TO OVERCOME. ON THE SORT OF CONVENTIONAL FAKE MEATS THAT ARE MADE OUT OF SOYBEANS OR PEA PROTEIN, I THINK THOSE CAN BE POSITIVE, BUT I THINK WE GET BACK TO A SITUATION WHERE... WE GET BACK TO THE CONCEPT THAT THE PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE ARE SO URGENT THAT I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO NEED THINGS LIKE CROP DIVERSIFICATION TO TAKE PLACE... SOMETHING LIKE THAT IS GOING TO HAVE MUCH MORE OF AN IMPACT THAN PEOPLE GRADUALLY CHOOSING TO EAT A BEYOND BURGER VERSUS A REGULAR HAMBURGER. AND SO I THINK THEY ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE REGULATORY THINGS THAT WE NEED TO HAPPEN, LIKE, YOU KNOW, BASICALLY MANDATING CROP DIVERSIFICATION IN THE MIDWEST, WILL GO A LOT LONGER OF A WAY TO SOLVING THE PROBLEM THAN THE AVAILABILITY OF A CONVINCING FAKE MEAT BURGER.

Steve says OKAY. LET'S GET SOME VIEWS HERE IN THE STUDIO. LORI?

Lori says WELL, IT'S THE INDUSTRIAL FOOD SYSTEM THAT HAS GOT US INTO THIS PICKLE. I'M VERY SKEPTICAL, WITH TOM, THAT THE INDUSTRIAL FOOD SYSTEM IS GOING TO PROVIDE THE TECHNOLOGICAL FIX TO GET US OUT OF THIS PICKLE. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW THE FOOD SYSTEM IN TOTAL STARTS TO HELP US TO ADAPT AND CHANGE THE WAY WE DO THINGS TO ADJUST TO THIS CRISIS THAT WE'RE FACING. SO I THINK... THE OTHER PROBLEM, OF COURSE, IS THAT THESE FAKE MEATS, THEIR NUTRITIONAL VALUE IS VERY UNKNOWN. MANY OF THEM ARE HIGH FAT. THEY'RE ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS, THEY USE A LOT OF ENERGY TO PRODUCE, AND THEY'RE LEADING TO AN EPIDEMIC OF OBESITY AND OVERWEIGHT. 75 percent OF PEOPLE IN NORTH AMERICA ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE. THAT IS HUGE CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEMS JUST WAITING TO HAPPEN. SO WE'VE GOT TO ADDRESS IT IN A MUCH MORE HOLISTIC WAY THAN A TECHNOLOGICAL FIX.

Steve says PHILIP?

Philip says WE HAVE HEARD A LOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS IN THIS SITUATION AND I THINK TO A CERTAIN EXTENT THOSE ARE KICKED DOWN THE ROAD A LITTLE BIT. WE STARTED THE CONVERSATION TALKING ABOUT POPULATION GROWTH AND THE NEED TO FEED PEOPLE IN A GROWING POPULATION, BUT WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT POPULATION GROWTH IS THAT IT HAPPENS IN PLACES THAT ARE STRUGGLING WITH POVERTY, THAT ARE STRUGGLING WITH FOOD SECURITY AND HUNGER, WHERE WOMEN LACK RIGHTS, WHERE WOMEN LACK EDUCATION. BUT THESE ARE THE ROOT CAUSES THAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT EARLIER. AND WHEN YOU CAN ADDRESS THOSE AND AT THE SAME TIME ADDRESS ISSUES LIKE THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AGRICULTURE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, IF YOU DON'T ADDRESS THOSE, MAYBE WE COME UP WITH TREMENDOUS CROP TECHNOLOGIES, GREAT TECHNOLOGIES FOR GETTING THE NITROGEN OUT OF OUR WATER, GREAT TECHNOLOGIES FOR REDUCING METHANE FROM INDUSTRIAL-FED COWS, BUT WE STILL HAVE THE POPULATION GROWTH PROBLEM, WE HAVE THE UNDERLYING SOCIAL PROBLEMS THAT CAUSED THE CHALLENGE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND IT WILL CONTINUE, AND THEN WE'RE JUST GOING TO BE DEALING WITH WHATEVER'S NEXT.

Steve says JANET... I HEAR YOU, PHILIP. THE AVERAGE PERSON WATCHING THIS, JANET, MIGHT THINK TO THEMSELVES, THERE'S NOT A LOT I CAN DO ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN BUT I CAN EAT LESS RED MEAT AND STOP EATING THE BAD STUFF AND START EATING THE GOOD STUFF. DO WE HAVE TO ENCOURAGE THAT?

Janet says LET. LET'S NOT FORGET WHAT JANET MENTIONED. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN WASTES 40 percent OF THEIR FOOD. I THINK THAT'S RIGHT. I ALSO WANT TO POINT OUT... YOU KNOW, I MENTIONED EARLIER THAT BEEF IN PARTICULAR IS VERY LAND, GREENHOUSE GAS AND WATER INTENSIVE, 20 TIMES MORE THAN YOUR AVERAGE PLANT-BASED PROTEIN. AND COUNTRIES LIKE CANADA, THE U.S., EUROPE, THEY CONSUME A VERY LARGE AMOUNT OF BEEF PER CAPITA. THE CHALLENGE IS THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD, AS IT SORT OF BECOMES URBANIZED, PEOPLE ARE MOVING FROM RURAL AREAS TO URBAN AREAS, THEIR INCOME RISES. AND ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THEY DO WITH THAT HIGHER INCOME IS TO EAT MORE, YOU KNOW, MEAT INTENSIVE FOOD. SO THAT'S A BIG CHALLENGE FOR US. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO SORT OF REDUCE THE PER CAPITA MEAT CONSUMPTIONS IN COUNTRIES, CREATE SPACE FOR PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES TO EAT MORE. I WOULDN'T TAKE LAB MEAT OR FAKE MEAT OFF, BUT I'D GO FOR MY TWISTED GARLIC BUTTERNUT SQUASH BEFORE THOSE THINGS.
[LAUGHTER]
I REMEMBER THERE'S A SAYING ACTUALLY BY WINSTON CHURCHILL. HE TALKED ABOUT THE ABSURDITY OF GROWING A CHICKEN JUST TO EAT ITS BREAST AND WINGS. HE SAID NOT LONG IN THE FUTURE WE'LL BE ABLE TO JUST GROW THE BREAST AND WINGS, AND THAT WAS ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. SO YOU NEVER KNOW.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says WHEN IN DOUBT, IT'S NEVER A BAD THING TO QUOTE WINSTON CHURCHILL, I AGREE.

Janet says EXACTLY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino."

Steve says CAN I THANK ALL FOUR OF YOU. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DISAGREE NEXT TIME WE COME BACK, TOM. BECAUSE WE'RE PLUM OUT OF TIME. BOY, A LOT OF FOOD PUNS ON THE PROGRAM TONIGHT. APOLOGIES FOR THAT. CAN I THANK JANET RANGANATHAN, FROM THE WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE IN WASHINGTON. TOM PHILPOTT, LOOK FOR HIS BOOK, "PERILOUS BOUNTY" YOU CAN READ HIM IN MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE AS WELL. PHILIP LORING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. LORI STAHLBRAND FROM GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE. GREAT HAVING ALL OF YOU ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: The Future of Food on a Hotter Planet