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2050年養活100億人口的五種方法

更新時間:2019/9/11 21:30:37 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

Five ways we can feed the world in 2050
2050年養活100億人口的五種方法

As our global population continues to rise, some estimates suggest it could reach a whopping 10 billion people by 2050. To feed that many people, we will need to produce record quantities of food.

隨著全球人口數量持續增加,有人預計2050年全球總人口可達100億。要讓這么多人都吃飽飯,我們的食物產出量就要達到歷史新高。

The scale of the challenge is epic. With only 30 seasons of planting and harvest left before the population could hit that 10 billion figure, it’s clear that agriculture as we know it has to change, if we are to have any hope of feeding the planet.

挑戰之大是前所未有的。我們只剩下30季的播種收割,就要迎來100億人口的大關。顯而易見,如果我們想要養活這個星球的人類,我們所熟悉的農業也要發生改變。

Over the past six months I’ve travelled all over Europe speaking to pioneering scientists and engineers, global thought leaders, savvy retailers and of course, knowledgeable, resilient farmers, for the BBC World News and BBC Future series, Follow the Food. The aim is to examine a truck-load of issues around food supply and find some potential solutions for our future.

在過去的六個月里,我走遍了整個歐洲,與前沿科學家和工程師、全球意見領袖、精明的零售商、當然還有學識淵博且堅韌的農民聊天,為英國廣播公司(BBC)國際新聞(World News)以及未來(Future)專欄的節目——《跟隨食物的腳步》(Follow the Food)做準備。這么做是為了檢視許多與食品供應相關的問題,并為我們的未來尋找一些可能的解決方案。

This much-needed transformation – of not just agriculture but our whole food supply chain – is already under way. Here are five solutions that could help us get ready to feed the 10 billion.

這種人們迫切需要的轉變,即農業乃至整個食品供應鏈的轉變,已經在進行中了。以下五種方法或許可以幫助我們做好養活100億人的準備。

Creating robot farmers

開發務農機器人

Before you scream at your screen about robots taking our jobs, hear me out. Many farmers say that time in the field, sat in a tractor for hours, is not just repetitive and boring, but robs them of time they could be spending on other key jobs they need to do to manage their business.

在你對著屏幕大吼機器人搶走人類飯碗之前,請先聽我講完。許多農民表示,坐在拖拉機上在農田里耗上好幾個小時的時間,不僅重復及無聊,還剝奪了他們原本可以用來處理更重要的工作以打理生意的時間。

The Small Robot Company has created three, um, small robots: Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom takes geotagged images of plants in the fiel, which are sent back for analysis. That leads to Dick venturing out to spray – with precision – individual crops, eliminating the need for blanket spraying fields, and avoiding unnecessary polluting run-off and saving resources. Harry is the planting robot, complete with a robotic drill. Together, they carry out the monotonous tasks conventionally done by a human – with greater accuracy and less waste.

小型機器人公司(Small Robot Company)已經開發了三款小型機器人:湯姆(Tom)、迪克(Dick)和哈利(Harry)。湯姆拍攝帶有地理標記的田間植物圖像,然后發回分析。隨后迪克出動,負責對特定作物進行農藥精準噴灑,進而免去地毯式噴灑的需要,避免不必要的徑流污染,并能節約資源。哈利則是播種機器人,配合機械鉆完成工作。這三個機器人可以一起完成原本由人類負責的單調工作,而且準確率更高,還減少了浪費。

Preserving precious dirt

保護珍貴的土壤

One reason small, mobile robots could be good news for farming is that they can replace a lot of the work done by large conventional tractors. Ordinary tractors are heavy. When they roll across the field they compact the soil. That crushes the gaps inside, reducing the size of the pores that hold air and water. This compaction significantly affects the soil’s ability to hold onto water and so a crop’s ability to take that up, along with the nutrients.

農用小型移動式機器人的潛在優勢之一在于他們可以取代許多由傳統大型拖拉機完成的工作。普通的拖拉機非常沉重,在滾過田地的時候會壓實土壤。這會破壞土壤中的空隙,減少儲存空氣和水分的孔隙大小。土壤被壓實很大程度上影響了土壤儲存水分的能力,進而影響作物對水分和營養的吸收。

Using smaller, lighter robots to do the jobs currently performed by tractors could hugely help reduce these issues. Now, a small robot can’t pull large, heavy machinery like a tiller or cultivator. But they’re not looking to simply repeat traditional farming methods.

使用更小、更輕的機器人完成原本由拖拉機完成的工作有助于減少此類問題的發生。小型機器人雖然不能拖動翻土機、犁田機等大型重機械,但發明輕型農耕機器人的目的本就不是為了簡單地重復傳統的務農方法。

Giving waste a second chance

減少食物廢棄量

One of the most shocking facts I learned is the sheer amount of good, edible food that gets wasted. According to the United Nations, “An estimated third of all food produced ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.”

我了解到最令人震驚的事實就是有大量好的、可食用的食物被浪費。據聯合國透露:“據估計,生產的食物中,有三分之一最終都在消費者和零售商的垃圾桶里腐爛掉,或由于運輸和收割不當發生損壞而拋棄。”

One country with a big waste problem is the Netherlands – the second biggest exporter of agricultural products (by value) after the US. The sheer scale of the flow of food through the Netherlands means waste is a big issue. The Dutch government has pledged to become the first European country to halve the amount of discarded food by 2030.

存在嚴重浪費的國家包括荷蘭。按商品價值計算,荷蘭是僅次于美國的第二大農產品出口國。荷蘭食物貨流量之巨大意味著浪費問題也相當嚴重。荷蘭政府已經下定決心,要在2030年成為歐洲第一個將食品廢棄量減半的國家。

There are countless brilliant ideas and initiatives hoping to help, but one approach that I thought was brilliant was using apps like “Too Good To Go”. This app enables retailers to shift food destined for the bin – but that’s still perfectly edible – to customers at a reduced cost.

人們想了無數精彩的點子和具體措施希望有助于改善這一現象,但我認為一個機智的方法就是使用“Too Good To Go”(意為:質量太好不值得丟棄)應用程序。這款應用程序可以讓零售商家將原本計劃丟棄,但仍然完全可以正常食用的食物,以折扣價賣給消費者。

Slowing the ageing process

減緩食物成熟過程

We can’t yet turn back the clock but, at least in fruit, we can slow the dial.

我們暫時還不能讓時間倒流,但至少我們可以減緩水果的成熟速度。

The bananas I eat at home in the UK could have travelled from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica or a field even further afield. To get to me they will have been picked green, perhaps spent 40 days on a boat, and then eventually ended up in the supermarket where, in order to be picked from the shelf, they have to be a perfect yellow, with no black spots or brown patches. That takes incredible, careful management to achieve.

我在英國家中吃的香蕉可能從厄瓜多爾、多米尼加、哥斯達黎加、甚至更遠的地方漂洋過海而來。這些香蕉為了到達這里,在尚未成熟、還是綠色的時候就被摘下,在船上待上40天左右的時間,最終出現在某家超市里。為了能被消費者從貨架上選走,這些香蕉都應該呈現出完美的黃色,不能有任何黑點或者棕色的斑塊。這一切都要靠無法想象的、小心謹慎的管理才能做到。

If a banana ripens too early in the process, it releases ethylene gas, which triggers ripening in other bananas. It only takes one rogue ripe banana to take down 15% of a shipment. That’s a huge pile of wasted bananas.

如果香蕉在運輸過程中過早成熟,就會釋放乙烯,進而導致其他香蕉開始成熟。只需要一根壞的香蕉就可以造成15%的貨運損耗。這就浪費了一大堆香蕉。

What some scientists in Norwich, UK, are doing is editing the genome of the bananas – modifying specific letters in their DNA – so that they produce far less ethylene. This could lead to less wastage en route and extend the banana’s shelf life in the supermarket. In some parts of the world, this could translate into real supply chains. But in other places, such as the EU, gene-edited crops are very tightly regulated with a lengthy approval process.

英國諾里奇(Norwich)的一些科學家們正在編輯香蕉的基因,即改變基因的特定堿基,進而讓香蕉的乙烯排放量大大降低。這樣就能減少運輸過程中的損耗,延長香蕉在超市貨架售賣的時間。在世界部分地區,這可以真正運用到供應鏈里。然而在歐盟等其他地區,經過基因編輯的作物受到嚴格監管,審批程序很冗長。

Making smarter choices

做更明智的決定

Spending time with farmers, producers, retailers and consumers, I quickly saw how our current ways of growing, processing and selling food just aren’t scalable or sustainable.

我花時間和農民、制造商、零售商以及消費者在一起,很快就發現我們目前食物的培育、處理和出售方法是無法規模化且不可持續的。

The only way we can feed 10 billion people by 2050 is if the farming and food industries become much more sustainable. And that requires changes to the whole model of growing, processing, transporting, storing and selling. It means a lot of businesses and governments need to take action. But so too do we all.

能讓我們在2050年養活100億人的方法只有將農業和食品工業變得更加可持續。這就需要我們改變整個培育、處理、運輸、儲存和銷售模式。這意味著許多行業和政府都必須行動起來。我們每一個人也應該如此。

Whether that’s going to the market and choosing the most “ugly” veg for dinner, encouraging supermarkets to change their labelling to show us the carbon or water footprint of our food (so you can choose an avocado that’s used less of our rapidly depleting fresh water supply to grow), or using new tech to avoid waste, there’s so much we can be doing to value our food and value its producers.

無論是去菜市場選購最“丑”的蔬菜做晚餐,還是鼓勵超市改變標簽方法、向顧客展示食品的碳足跡和水足跡(這樣顧客就可以挑選一個使用較少稀缺淡水資源種植的牛油果),還是用新科技避免浪費,我們可以通過很多行動表達對食物、對生產者的重視和珍惜。

Building a world fed by sustainable agriculture is a daunting task. But farmers, scientists, engineers, retailers, business leaders and governments are all coming together to ensure we have enough food in the future. And I will certainly be thinking about what changes I can make on an individual level to join the effort.

建造一個用可持續農業養活的世界是一項艱巨的任務。但農民、科學家、工程師、零售商、商界領袖以及政府都在齊心協力,確保我們未來有足夠的食物。而我肯定也會思考,要加入他們的隊伍,自己在個人層面可以作出哪些改變。

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