University of Minnesota professor Jim Foley, an expert on the interactions between human beings and complex ecological systems, will present a public forum on ecology and food systems on Monday, Jan. 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Carleton College Gould Library Athenaeum. His presentation, entitled “Can We Feed the World, Without Destroying the Planet?” will be held at 4:30 p.m in the Gould Library Athenaeum, and is free and open to the public.
In recent years, scientists and activists have drawn increasing attention to unsustainable practices within our agricultural system. Although the rise of chemical pesticides and fertilizers has allowed our food supply to keep pace with a growing population, there are serious questions about the impact of these chemicals on human and ecological health. While monoculture (the practice of growing miles upon miles of a single crop) has increased efficiency, it also leaves us vulnerable to pesticide-resistant blights. Some argue that current intensive agricultural practices are necessary to maintaining adequate food supplies, while others contend that these same practices are reducing soil fertility and threatening the long-term viability of the ecosystems on which we depend. The way in which we reconcile these two positions will be crucial to the future of our way of life.
Jon Foley is the McKnight Presidential Chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. His academic work has contributed to our understanding of global-scale ecological processes, global patterns of land use, and the workings of the planet’s climate and water cycles. Foley’s expertise has led him to regular work as an advisor to major corporations, NGOs, and governments worldwide. His well-regarded works have been published in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, while his many popular articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, The Guardian, and elsewhere.
Foley is the winner of numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award, the J.S. McDonnell Foundation’s 21st Century Science Award, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, and the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America. In 1997, President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Humanities Center, in conjunction with the department of economics, the department of philosophy, EthIC, and The Question Project. For further information and disability accommodations, contact dgroll@carleton or call (507) 222-4105. The Athenaeum is located in Gould Library on the Carleton campus, and is accessible via Highway 19 in Northfield.