Make it Fit, evaluating strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of meeting human needs in 2050

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Joseph Reid, Stephen Polasky and Peter Hawthorne, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, United States
Sustainable development requires providing for human well-being by meeting basic demands for food, energy and consumer goods and services, all while maintaining an environment capable of sustaining the provisioning of those demands for future generations. Failure to meet the basic needs of human well-being is not an ethically viable option and strategies for doubling agricultural production and providing energy and goods for a growing population exist. However, the question is, at what cost to environmental quality? We developed an integrated modeling approach to test strategies for meeting multiple objectives within the limits of the earth system. We use scenarios to explore a range of assumptions on socio-economic factors like population growth, per capita income and technological change; food systems factors like food waste, production intensification and expansion, and meat demand; and technological developments in energy efficiency and wastewater treatment. We use these scenario to test the conditions in which we can fit the simultaneous goals of sustainable development.