2005 • Feed the people, feed the world
November 19, 2005
"Feed people, feed the world" The theme of the inaugural session brought together 8,000 people at UNESCO (Paris). Food is central to man's relations with nature. The need for food governs the way we transform the natural environment, and, in addition, what we eat has a direct impact on our health, our morphology and our mental state.
With 6.3 billion inhabitants on the planet (8 billion in 2020), food is a major ecological challenge, both in terms of providing enough food for all the world's inhabitants while preserving nature, and also providing quality nourishment that does not harm man's health and his integrity.This issue so crucial to world society is therefore the central theme of the inaugural session of the Earth university held at UNESCO, an ideal venue for this new form of topical debate designed to reconcile environmental theory and economic practice. The 2005 cycle includes six discussion-debates revolving around two major queries: an increase in agricultural production and food crops is essential if we are to feed 6.3 billion individuals who do not yet all enjoy food security. But this must be done in such a way that bringing new land into cultivation does not destroy the forests (as in Amazonia and Indonesia!) with the corresponding impact on the climate, nor compromise the quality of soils, water resources and biodiversity (3). Will we be able to feed mankind while preserving the integrity of nature? Or are we moving, inevitably, towards an industrial agriculture that prospers at the expense of nature, which it replaces and turns into a desert? We are what we eat! Both our health and our personal equilibrium depend on the quality of our food. In the Western world, unhealthy eating habits and their most common ill effects – obesity, new diseases (4) – have become a dominant preoccupation. At the same time, the quantity and diversity of products have led to a decrease in deficiency diseases. How can we establish this equilibrium between quality and quantity and make it possible for man to live well both in his body and in his mind?
Writer, president of PlaNet Finance
Oncologist, president of ARTAC
Responsible for external relations , Max Havelaar France
Doctor in sciences of the environment, expert with the European Commission
Professor at CNAM
Deputy executive director of the World Food Program
President of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Mankind
Director of the quality department of Carrefour
President of Slow Food France
Managing director of "Action against hunger"
President of the European Institute of Ecology
Paleoanthropologist at the Collège de France
Farmer, writer, philosopher, founder of Terre et humanisme
Joël de ROSNAY
Chairman of Biotics International