Governments & Policy Makers

Sir John Beddington, former UK government scientific chief adviser,

We’ve got to actually face up to the fact that this [food security] is a complicated problem which involves vastly different levels of society and we need to be persuading policy makers not to think about food in isolation, not to think about climate change in isolation, not to think about water in isolation, not to think about energy in isolation. All of them are intimately related.

More facts and problems then, and something else for us to face up to. What’s the score here? It would be unrealistic to think that governments and policy makers can be persuaded. They won’t. The ‘complicated problem’ is inherently a multiple problem. You cannot unpick one without unpicking the other. To say that such problem actually exists would put our governments on the spot (they have created it, haven’t they?) for they would equally have to solve it. Don’t bank on it though. The only option available to us is to say what we can do about ‘food security’. Notice how everything is ‘intimately related’. Not only food but all that makes life possible. It is, literally, a case of make or break.

Food, energy and water activities are one and the same. They are land activities. The contention throughout is that every country (‘the’ country), region and locality needs farming (food etc), construction, engineering and manufacturing. In that order. Wrapping it all up is an attendant education. We need to review our modes of production anyway, and perhaps this will also enable us to get to the bottom of many other challenges. Isolation and divisions are deep-seated. For this too we need to devise a new formula, and the words of Marshall McLuhan also come to mind, ‘Any subject taken in depth at once relates to other subjects’.