WHAT WILL WE EAT IN 2050
How might climate change alter the global food system by the year 2050? Will diets change to reflect a revamped agriculture designed to adapt to a warming world?
MIT Joint Program Principal Research Scientist Erwan Monier and New York University artist Allie Wist grappled with these questions as they developed a dinner menu for the MIT Climate Changed Symposium, writes Mark Dwortzan, Communications Officer, MIT Center for Global Change Science, a two-day gathering of experts in the sciences, humanities and design focused on the role and impact of models in a changed climate.
Co-sponsored by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative and the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, the symposium — along with an ideas competition and multimedia exhibition — examined how past, present, and future climate-related models can enable us to understand and design the built environment as significant changes unfold in the Earth system through and beyond mid-century.
The dinner consisted of four courses, each representing a different landscape: the appetiser represented the forest - a trio of dried, preserved, and foraged mushrooms, fungi known to help the soil store carbon dioxide and thus slow the pace of climate change.
The next course included two options, continues Dwortzan — the first symbolising more comfortable conditions that climate models project will prevail, on average, by the year 2050 under an ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy; the second suggesting more hardscrabble environments that the models indicate will likely result in the absence of climate action. For the first course, representing the desert, the choice was between a squash tart with sorghum honey or cactus fruit gel with dehydrated fruits. For the second, representing the ocean, all diners got to eat wild striped bass, with one half receiving their fish filleted and the other half having to contend with bones.
But it brightened up for dessert. Read more about the meal and the digested conclusions at www.weforum.org (in collaboration with MIT).