Protecting the Future

26 Jun 2012

“The future is never anything but the present to be put in order. There is no need to foresee it, just to enable it.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands

The world does not have “a” destiny. There is no fate. People can choose their own future, before it is imposed on them. This is the message of Virginie Raisson’s 2033: Atlas des Futurs du Monde (2033: Atlas of the World’s Futures), published in Italy by Slow Food Editore.

Possible Tomorrows

What will the planet be like in 2033? Will be it be capable of supporting over two billion more inhabitants than today? What will we lack? Will we have to do without oil? Will there be wars over water? We have no way to predict the future, yet forces are constantly at work, shaping possible tomorrows. Virginie Raisson’s book is the first to offer an atlas of the future, using maps and graphics with an extraordinary immediacy to invite us to become the protagonists of our future. This future should not be seen as inevitably apocalyptic, but rather a potential revolution of civilization, whose gestation is taking on the appearance of an economic and ecological crisis.birds

The atlas will be the focus point of the conference entitled “Possible Futures,” to be held at 3 pm on Monday October 29 at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre. The atlas’s key issues will be discussed by a panel of experts, with the aim of responding to the big questions we’re all asking. We can no longer avoid the issues of migration, growing urbanization, water shortages, overpopulation, climate change and the need to develop alternative energy sources.

The atlas is divided into the following three topic areas:

–       Empty and full. Demographic trends, migration and spreading urbanization. More than any other discipline, demographics is essential to the study of possible tomorrows. There are evolutions that quietly shape the future, revolutions that shake the world order extremely slowly. Demographic dynamics are among them. Demographic factors could lead to a world four times more populated than it was in 1910, bringing changes that will determine space and resources for future generations.

–       An overly populated planet? More and more often we hear about a shortage of arable land, global warming, water wars and the rising world population. However, it is necessary to analyze the responsibilities that weigh on economics and politics when outlining the future of the planet, putting aside all presumptions.

–       Towards overtaking. While the countries of the global north are running up against energy limits, the global south is sending the bill for climate chaos to the protagonists of the industrial era. At the same time they are seeking alternative solutions that are also profitable: hence why biofuels are preferred over solar or wind power. But whether out of choice or necessity, we must look to new economic models and forms of growth.

Given their importance, these topics will not only be tackled during the conference dedicated to possible futures, but also looked at from a series of different angles in many other events organized during the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre. Building a future that respects those who will come after us, and which maintains delicate environmental balances, means talking about agriculture and production systems and setting an example with virtuous models and good practices. As the producers from the Slow Food Presidia do, for instance. The producers and the influence on the local environment and economy of Slow Food’s projects will be discussed during the conference “400 Presidia: A New Model for Agriculture?” Additionally, as they participate in the Taste Workshops, the Presidia producers will explain how they make excellent food by adopting sustainable farming techniques and by respecting water resources, the rhythm of the seasons and the health of our planet, writing the pages of the future that awaits us…

Below is a selection of the events where these issues and others linked to the future of the world will be discussed:

The Soil Emergency and the Flavor of the Earth – Meet the Maker, Friday October 26, 4 pm

400 Presidia: A New Model for Agriculture? – Conference, Friday October 26, 12 pm

A Rich Niche of Fermentation – Taste Workshop, Friday October 26, 2.30 pm

The Sweet Presidia – Taste Workshop, Friday October 26, 5 pm

Possible Futures – Conference, Monday October 29, 3 pm

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