TED Conversations

Mark Hurych


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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.


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    Jan 1 2013: Best wishes to you and your loved ones for 2013 Mark and everyone else on TED. Had a similar conversation with a friend about this. We were debating the impact of logistics on food distribution. In the U.K, over the last three years we have had increased rainfall due to (non-tech term) 'buckled jet stream'. All the root crops have rotted in the ground and plants like tomatoes have suffered from the excessive attentions of fungus and insects. However every cloud has a silver lining and some birds managed to get two lots of chicks produced so it mopped up some of excess insects. My friend pointed out that at some point, somewhere there is sufficient crops to feed the local population plus sell the extra. It is all in the movement of the food and at the moment petrol is very expensive. BTW I realise living in UK we are incredibly lucky. So once again a complex situation in 3000 characters. Do worry about 'dark' stores and the implications of centralised purchasing when majority of population so time-poor they only shop on-line. Very worried UK govt talking about introducing food tokens to stop people on benefits buying cigarettes and booze. Logistics - big fan of 'just in time' management but food takes at least three months to grow and in the case of meat at least a year at this latitude. Old skills like bottling and preserving not taught here for at least three generations, city kids don't even know what an animal looks like as the meat is presented on a polystyrene tray and actually buying any meat other than sausages getting really expensive. Try to grow my own at local allotments but essentially a population that is time poor does not have enough time to service their food supply. Fascinating debate thank you so much.
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      Jan 2 2013: CO2 blankets Earth and keeps too much heat in. This change in average temperature may cause some very bad things globally in this century (perhaps a lowered carrying capacity due to loss of arable land). It's hard to tell what will hurt us worst or first, but it will probably hurt us badly. We are the ones pumping CO2 into the air in the first place. We have to figure out effective ways of doing things differently so we can have a safer future for the planet. We are not that good at helping each other really. We are not comfortable with change in general. If this were easy, it wouldn't be worth asking.

      Happy New Year to you, Elizabeth Muncey. Best wishes to you and yours.

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