Invited Seminar at CES on 6 February 2019 at 2:15 pm titled "Is there scope for an ecologically sustainable agriculture? A call for action to scientists to get involved in the challenge. " by Dr. Ram Fishman from Tel Aviv University, Israel
Agriculture is critical to feeding a growing global population and to supporting the majority of the global extreme poor. At the same time, it is highly vulnerable to increasing environmental stress, be it in the form of increasing temperatures or water scarcity, and a major source of pollution, ecological degradation, habitat loss and GHG emissions.
Around the world, a variety of approaches are being promoted to achieve a more ecologically sustainable agriculture, some of which emphasise modern technologies while others call for a return to more traditional forms of cultivation. Unfortunately, the debate between these different approaches often remains more ideological than evidence-based, and policy often remains disturbingly un-informed.
I will attempt to cover some of the big questions on the issue, and appeal for faculty and students to play a more active role in addressing the challenge through a rigorous multidisciplinary approach that combines the life sciences, the physical sciences and the social sciences, and is intensively field based. I will focus on the potential and specific practical opportunities for collaborations between Israeli and Indian academia, two countries suffering from various forms of environmental stress that together, I will argue, can offer a new model of applied, impactful research on the topic.