Maynard Herron 2016-12-21 23:54:01
Stewardship: Using all the tools My recent attendance at the 2016 World Food Prize in Des Moines and our Society’s Engineering and Technology Innovations for Global Food Security conference in Cape Town reaffirmed for me the vital role our members play in stewarding the planet’s resources. This issue of Resource highlights the AE50 Awards and the innovations that our profession contributes toward a safer, healthier world. Working together, we make a difference in providing a growing population with adequate food, clean water, clean air, and sustainable energy. While our formal training is in the math and science of engineering, we must also be aware of the social and political factors and public perceptions that affect how our technologies are implemented. We must follow the ethics of our profession and use the technologies we develop to benefit humanity. We must be willing to share what we know with the public and with policy makers to ensure that science-based decisions are made. Our input in the development of long-term agricultural policies, which are still lacking in many parts of the world, will be vital to achieving global food security. The common thread of both conferences was that there is no single solution; we must use all the tools in our toolbox to feed the global population. One of those tools is genetic engineering, which relies heavily on our biological partnerships. It holds significant promise to supply adequate nutrients as well as adequate calories. Genetic engineering of staple crops can enhance water use and drought/salt tolerance to cope with climate change, improve disease and pest resistance, and improve the micronutrient content of the foods made from those crops. We cannot be against both hunger and technology if we are to achieve the goal of feeding the world. Building on the success of the 2015 Climate Change conference and the recent Global Food Security conference, ASABE has begun planning a Global Water Security conference for 2018. This conference will advance ASABE’s Global Initiative to create a sustainable world with abundant food, water, energy, and a healthy environment, building partnerships for greater impact. To sum up, I’d like to share the challenge extended by Andrew Mude, recipient of the 2016 Borlaug Field Award. In his acceptance speech, Andrew invoked a higher authority to remind us of our moral obligation: “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” Let me know your thoughts at email@example.com.
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