The Global Challenge of Sustainability

Duration: 1:03 | 20 September 2017
Sir John Beddington

Food, water, and energy security are some of the major challenges of the 21st century, after the huge period of growth in the second half of the 20th century. Every year, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted globally while 870 million people go hungry. 550 billion m3 of water and 1.4 billion hectares of land are used to produce that waste, while 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted at a cost of US$750 billion.

Andrew Medal awardee, Sir John Beddington reflected on the legacies of the 20th century and the challenges of the 21st, in his lecture on Wednesday 20 September, and addressed these sustainability challenges and the role of scientists and engineers in approaching them.

He also considered how climate change, regulation, and the public perception of science and engineering complicate these issues and the enormous effort now required from politicians, engineers, and scientists.

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