It’s easy for humans to only be concerned about the present and not properly plan for the future. Why worry about what hasn’t happened yet? It will be dealt with then, not now. And you see it with various aspects of an individual’s future: retirement savings, annual health exams, wearing sunscreen, and more. These are all things that if taken into consideration and acted upon now, could prevent against needing to work when you’re 70, avoid becoming diabetic or getting skin cancer.
What about a crisis that threatens to impact people on a global scale? Climate change is a popular one, but have you considered the domino effect on food production? Climate factors such as extended periods of drought and increasing temperatures, coinciding with a growing world population, are leading us to a possible food security crisis. A report published on IPCC titled, Climate Change and Land, estimates that there are currently 821 million people who are undernourished.1
With the environment making farming more difficult and resources becoming more limited, the time to find alternatives for sustainable food is now, not later. Major strides are already being made with milk substitutes and plant-based proteins, but what else is being done? Organizations are using open innovation to crowdsource ideas for solutions to the food and agriculture dilemmas the world is collectively facing.
For example, as of this writing, MIT’s Climate Co-Lab has 20 semi-finalists who are proposing ways to restore degraded landscapes as a way to improve the sustainability of food systems in least developed countries. Some of the proposals include decentralizing fertilizer production, a high-tech portable toilet, and more. You can view all 20 of the semi-finalists’ proposals here.
There is also an opportunity to take foods that make a minimal impact on the environment (e.g. wheat and lentils) and crowdsource alternatives to high impact food products using these as the main ingredients instead. As crowdsourcing has already demonstrated, when you have many people working on a solution to a problem, you can discover amazing innovations that may not have been developed otherwise.