TED Conversations

Mark Hurych


This conversation is closed.

Imagine a scenario this century that is very bleak for agriculture. What do you think we should do to address humanity's thrivability?

Suppose two things:
Suppose that the food producing carrying capacity (the number of people that can be fed from arable land) of the Earth within this century becomes less than one billion due to climate change, what do you think we should do to address thrivability? Suppose that you had all the necessary resources to act. For full credit, apply empathy, logic, and self-integrating system properties. Yes, this might be on the final exam.

Jeremy Rifkin,

Paul Gilding,

Ray Kurzweil,

Michelle Holliday,


Closing Statement from Mark Hurych

Thanks to everyone that participated. I apologize to anyone who might have felt slighted.

The answer I got here is that people are on many different islands of being about humanity's current reality. We all have hopes and fears but our paradigms I've found are unexpectedly different. Our perspectives and priorities sometimes don't even seem to have common ground.

I very much want to find that common ground, across cultures, across the globe, across everything that separates and isolates us. One way I plan to address this yearning is by tuning my questions to be more inclusive and collective.

I feel that art does this, pulls us together and gives us common ground, even across language barriers and across time. I want to be good. This sounds so strange but I want to be a good ancestor. I don't see myself as an artist but I would very much like to do something for the greater good the way a composer or an artist might leave behind an inspiring artifact.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 27 2012: We need not do more than embrace science in our food production.

    Our food production, per capita and per acre, has been growing since the dawn of time, why? Because our knowledge has been growing since the dawn of time. Our production is foremost a function of our knowledge, and not of any physical parameters, such as soil quality or climate.
    Future food production will continue to grow, if we not let our technology angst, or sentiments, such as GM fear, or irrational reverence to organic food, hamper our capabilities.

    See also:
    • thumb
      Dec 27 2012: For the dustbowls and Monsantos of this world, using output per acre may be shortsighted. Comments on December 18 and 11, 2012, reiterate this thought.
      • thumb
        Dec 27 2012: I can't find comments from 18 and 11th of December.
        But to discard output increase to negative externalities is throwing away the baby with the bathwater.
        Increase the output, battle environmental damage (as dustbowls) and monopolies.

        Fact is, hunger is in steep decline the past decades, something impossible without an increase in yield.

        Btw, I thought you read Whole Earth Discipline; How can you not be convinced that GM holds great promise?
        • thumb
          Dec 28 2012: Promise and peril are present together. Mr. Brand does not address loss of biodiversity adequately. I like transitioning with small nuke power plants. I don't share his enthusiasm for geoengineering nor GM.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.