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On this special edition of Quirks & Quarks, we imagine the future the way we hope it will be. The world is facing some serious environmental challenges in the next half century. Among the greatest are climate change, and the destructive impact we're having on the planet's natural ecosystems. Add to that, of course, the increasing human population and the land and resources we'll require to house and feed all those billions. All of this suggests that, in the next few decades, we likely need to consider a different path than we've been following for the last few decades - or else.
|The World of the Future - New York World's fair from 1964, copyright PLCjr
But doomsday scenarios are all too easy to imagine, and we'd like to bring back a little optimism about the world of tomorrow. So we found five scientists willing to look to the future, and answer the question, "What if we get it right?" They'll be imagining the year 2050 - within the lifetimes of many of us - and projecting a realistic, but optimistic best-case scenario for humanity. We'll be considering where our energy will come from, what our cities will be like, how we'll feed the world's billions, and how we can preserve what's left of our planet's natural ecosystems. This, we can hope, will be the real "World of Tomorrow."
Our guests for this trip to the future are: Dr. Mark Jaccard
, a professor of Sustainable Energy and Climate at Simon Fraser University, discussing the path to carbon-free energy and reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions.Dr. David Tilman
, Regents Professor of Ecology at the University of Minnesota, discussing the future of agriculture, and how to feed the world's growing population sustainably.Dr. Stephen Sheppard
, a professor of Forestry and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, discussing "human environments" and how we might adjust our urban and rural life in a shift to sustainable living and to cope with the risks of climate change.Dr. Sally Aitken
, a professor of Forest Sciences at the University of British Columbia, discussing terrestrial environments, and how we may need to manage natural ecosystems to help nature adapt to changing conditions.Dr. Peter Sale
, Assistant Director of the Institute for Water, Environment and Health at United Nations University, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor, discussing the future of the world's oceans, and how we can continue to exploit them sustainably, while preserving ocean ecosystems.Related Links
Theme music bed copyright Raphaël Gluckstein, Creative Commons License by-nc-nd-2.0