Agency is taking action to produce a certain outcome. In art, agency is making work that takes action itself or moves people to take action. I would like to incorporate this into my work – rather than just making something that “makes people aware”, I would rather make something that helps the cause or takes action in itself. But how do I do this???
Social Responsibility is the notion that every person has a responsibility within society to make sure the society is fair and livable for all. It means being aware of how you are impacting society and taking action to make it better.
As defined by wikipedia, Transformative learning is the process of “perspective transformation”, which has three dimensions: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle). Similarly, we can take Transformative Practices to mean practices that actively engage in trying to change perspective/thinking and incite action to change the world.
The question that best encompasses my focus is: Why is there such an imbalance in food distribution in the world, and how can we change it? The fact is, we have more than enough food to feed the world, but because of waste and uneven distribution of resources, we still have almost 800 million undernourished people on the earth. This number is only going to grow and the communities’ ability to grow their own food is only going to diminish in the face of climate change. Although GM crops are a viable solution to some of our problems, the developed world cannot rely on this, and seriously needs to curb the amount of unnecessary waste we produce, putting a massive strain on hungry in the developing world.
Seems like a viable source from a non-profit, student-run education forum. It is cited, and published under MIT, therefore is most likely trustworthy as a source.
“The amount of food calories being produced fulfills and exceeds the minimum amount needed per person. However, because of waste and loss, the amount of food calories available for consumption falls short of that minimum.”
“The main problems with the current distribution system are the lack of markets, the inadequacy of transportation to markets, and the inability to afford the costs of production and consumption.”
“It is estimated that 25%-50% of all food produced is wasted. In India about 7% annually of grain and 30% of fruit and vegetables produced are wasted due to lack of proper storage systems (Murthy, 2010).”
“In developed nations, the governments often heavily subsidize the agricultural industry to make it economically viable. However, because of the heavier budget constraints on developing countries, they fail to alleviate this production burden. Therefore, even with a large production of food, rampant hunger still exists because of the inability to purchase it.”
“The root causes of poor distribution include the lack of infrastructure such as markets and transportation routes, unsustainable prices driven by corruption and waste, inefficiency in markets, and poverty.”
“The efficiency of land use is a significant issue: by 2050, the global population is expected to rise above 9 billion, and the existing amount of arable land is expected to decrease significantly due to anthropogenic climate change and urbanization (FAO).”
“If everyone in the world used as much land per person as the average United States citizen, we “would need four Earths” to sustain ourselves (Cribb).”
“Consequently, conserving land to produce more food is a necessity for any long term plan. Biotechnology firms claim that transgenic crops promise more food with less land. GMO crops have been found to increase yields, with a 10 percent change to a genetically modified herbicide tolerant crop yielding a roughly 1.7 percent increase in productivity (USDA). Biotechnology companies state that such varieties of crops will improve the livelihood of farmers around the world (Cummins).”
– The benefits of using GMOs is clear in terms of the growing population but I think that in today’s society we cannot just rely on the use of GMOs in future, we need to curb our waste problem as well.
“GM pesticide-producing crops are engineered to produce Bt toxins, a crystal protein naturally synthesized by the bacterium bacillus thuringiensis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that these toxins do not activate in the human gut, and pose no risk to human health (EPA).”
“Although Bt is lethal to many insects, multiple scientific studies have found them to be harmless to wild mammals, birds, pets, and humans; Bt endotoxins may as well be considered “biopesticides” (Sharma, 2010).”
“The European corn borer, a widespread crop pest, claims 7 percent of the world’s corn supply each year. Use of Bt corn has saved US farmers in Iowa and Nebraska alone up to 1.7 billion dollars in fighting this pest over the past 14 years, when compared to non-Bt variants (Hutchinson).”
“Spanish farmers who have implemented Bt maize have found a 10 percent increase in yields, with up to 20 percent increases in borer-infested areas (Europa).”
“Some estimates indicate that if “50% of maize, oil seed rape, sugar beet, and cotton grown in the EU were GM varieties, pesticide in the EU/year would decrease by 14.5 million kg of formulated product”, and “there would be a reduction of 7.5 million hectares sprayed, which would save 20.5 million liters of diesel and result in a reduction of approximately 73,000 tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere” (Phipps).”
“Biotechnology today is largely driven by agricultural corporations such as Monsanto, whose seeds are expensive to poorer farmers (Ho). But GMOs may increase land productivity in Africa, where 49 percent of soil is heavily degraded (Terrafrica). They could be engineered to endure harsher conditions and be less susceptible to climate changes such as drought, a leading cause of food insecurity in Africa. Certain types of native crops may be engineered to increase yields. This all might be done in the future, but it has not been done yet. Additionally, GMOs still represent too many unknowns to be a solid basis for a plan to benefit third world farmers.”
“The most condemning research done on such organisms is the work of renowned scientist Arpad Pusztai, who found evidence of intestinal damage caused by genetically modified potatoes (Randerson). His funding was suspended for his publication of preliminary results, and therefore the study was never completed (Randerson). However, numerous later studies found that GM crops that have passed existing safety reviews are not harmful to human health (Academic review, AFNZA).”
“Cross-pollination with the wild type of GM species may lead to genetic contamination of the wild type, which could alter local ecosystems. Genes are difficult to control, and wild types of certain plants have been found to contain transgenic genes.”
“However, cross-pollination can be minimized through measures such as buffer zones between GMO and non-GMO fields, as well as careful field planning (GMO-compass); the problem with cross-pollination may be minimized with proper planning and oversight.”
“Bt expressed in transgenic organisms is also toxic to a variety of helpful insects, including natural pollinators and pest predators. Monarch butterflies, a chief pollinator in North America, are highly susceptible to Bt poisoning, and will occasionally feed on corn plants (Pimentel).”
“The introduction of Bt crops has also led to the rise of secondary non-target pests as major scourges.”
“The introduction of such herbicide tolerant plants at first decreased herbicide use, but afterwards increased its usage and scope. Weeds have become more and more resistant to herbicides, prompting farmers to use a wider variety and larger quantity of them (Lim).”
“The influence of agricultural corporate giants on the availability of GM seeds may lead to farmer exploitation.”
“Until “fit-for-the-purpose” transgenic seeds are available for distribution to farmers without threatening them with a cycle of debt, transgenic seeds represent a step away from greater food security in the Third World.”
Fraser, Evan. The Need For More Equitable Food Distribution. Feeding Nine Billion, 2014. Web. https://feedingninebillion.com/video/need-more-equitable-food-distribution
“The US uses about 40% of its corn for ethanol we have a conflict of “food versus fuel”and more food would be eaten if the US dropped this policy. But many disagree. For instance, producing ethanol only uses the sugar in the corn and leaves protein rich by-products that are fed to animals. So it is not as if these grains, the vast majority of which would have been used for livestock anyways, have been taken out of the food system.”
Hunger Statistics. World Food Programme, 2016. https://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats
“Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.”
“The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.”
“If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.”
Royte, Elizabeth. How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger. National Geographic, 2016. Web Article. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/
“Every year some six billion pounds of U.S. fruits and vegetables go unharvested or unsold, often for aesthetic reasons.”
“In developing nations much is lost postharvest for lack of adequate storage facilities, good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison, developed nations waste more food farther down the supply chain, when retailers order, serve, or display too much and when consumers ignore leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.”
“Wasting food takes an environmental toll as well. Producing food that no one eats—whether sausages or snickerdoodles—also squanders the water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and land needed to grow it.”
“Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom. These staggering numbers don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.”
“Feeding the scraps to nonruminant animals, such as pigs, recycles their nutrients and eliminates some of the methane that food would generate in a landfill.”
“With governments fretting over how to feed more than nine billion people by 2050, a dominant narrative calls for increasing global food production by 70 to 100 percent. But agriculture already represents one of the greatest threats to planetary health. It is responsible for 70 percent of the planet’s freshwater withdrawals, 80 percent of the world’s tropical and subtropical deforestation, and 30 to 35 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.”
“As the population grows and emerging economies develop a taste for meat and dairy products, which require huge inputs of grain and other resources for relatively little caloric gain, this toll will worsen. But converting more wildlands to farm fields may not be necessary, some experts say. If we slash waste, change our diet to eat less meat and dairy, divert fewer food crops to biofuels, and boost yields on underperforming acres, we may be able to feed more than nine billion people a healthy diet without trashing more rain forests, plowing up more prairies, or wiping out more wetlands.”
Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s – ““Hunger and wasted food,” Rauch says, “are two problems that can have one solution.””
“Workers harvest celery in Greenfield, California. The energy that goes into the production, harvest, transportation, and packaging of wasted food produces more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.“
“The dividends of avoiding food waste can be historic. We produce enough food to feed everyone on our planet today and the 2.5 billion more people to come in the next 35 years. We have to waste less to feed more.Farming already uses 38 percent of our ice-free land, compared to just 2 percent for cities, and uses 70 percent of our fresh water. We can’t keep growing more food, and continuing to waste as much, to feed more people. The environmental dividends are no less significant: lower climate emissions from a major source and more water efficiency to combat growing water scarcity.“
“We have to think differently. We can’t take today’s sophisticated refrigerated truck-trailer systems available in the U.S. and Europe and expect they can be immediately adopted in emerging countries. In many cases, the roads in these countries can’t accommodate large truck systems, the technical skill is not yet present to support the systems, and the economy can’t yet afford the systems. So we have to scale the technology to the local needs—smaller systems, fewer features, more affordable.”
Visual Activism is a form of activism that employs visual culture to create and disseminate artworks, and incite change. It requires an audience that is adept at analysing images, and sharing them.
Global Citizenship is the notion that the individual is apart of a greater whole, and that all issues are interconnected and important. It requires a change in thinking that is passionate and caring about the rest of the world.
Change Agents make people think. It could be artworks, people, organisations, movements, etc. They cause a change in thinking, and hopefully incite action.
Cultural Critics are people that are able to see the injustices or ideologies working within our society, and comment on them. Cultural critics can be anyone, and in any form. It just requires looking at things subjectively and questioning your worldview.
Protest is contesting something that is happening or present. It means questioning the ethics behind something, and taking action against it, in whatever form that may take.
Resistance is a form of protest. To resist is to say that something is unwanted, and taking action to change that.
FAO. Coping with climate change – the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture. Rome 2015. Web 19/05/2016. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3866e.pdf
“Climate change will cause shifts in the distribution of land areas suitable for the cultivation of a wide range of crops.Studies indicate a general trend towards the loss of cropping areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, India and northern Australia, and gain in the northern United States of America, Canada and most of Europe. Although farmers have always adapted their cropping systems to adverse environmental conditions, the speed and complexity of climate change pose problems on an unprecedented scale. Without adaptation and mitigation, climate change is predicted to negatively affect the production of the world’s major crops in both tropical and temperate regions. There is evidence that climate change has already negatively affected wheat and maize yields in many regions. Climate change will also create problems for the livestock sector. Heat stress, for example, reduces animals’ appetites, production and fertility, and increases mortality rates. Feed supplies may be affected both locally (e.g. loss of grazing land because of drought) and globally (e.g. rising grain prices). Animals’ water requirements increase with temperature, but in many places climate change is likely to mean that water becomes scarcer and supplies become more unpredictable.“
“Potential consequences include asynchrony between crop flowering and the presence of pollinators, and the spread of favourable conditions for invasive alien species, pests and parasites. As ecosystems change, the distribution and abundance of disease vectors are likely to be affected, with consequences for the epidemiology of many crop and livestock diseases.“
“It is vital that the genetic diversity needed to adapt agriculture and food production to future changes is not lost because of neglect in the present.“
“In crop production, maintaining genetic diversity has long been an essential element of strategies to reduce the effects of crop diseases and abiotic stresses such as drought. While it is difficult to predict the precise effects that climate change will have on the distribution and severity of diseases and unfavourable climatic conditions, the availability of greater genetic diversity is likely to increase the resilience of crop production systems in the face of new climatic and disease challenges. Improving collections of crop wild relatives is important, as they are likely to have genetic traits that can be used in the development of well-adapted crops for use in climate change-affected production systems.”
“It is likely that climate change will necessitate more international exchanges of genetic resources as countries seek to obtain well-adapted crops, livestock, trees and aquatic organisms. The prospect of greater interdependence in the use of genetic resources in the future underscores the importance of international cooperation in their management today and of ensuring that mechanisms are in place to allow fair and equitable – and ecologically appropriate – transfer of these resources internationally.”
“Climate change is predicted to increase the occurrence of extreme events such as floods, droughts and hurricanes, leading to greater reliance on seed relief. More-effective seed distribution networks that supply well-adapted seed need to be developed, both for post-disaster situations and to support longer-term adaptation of agricultural systems to climate change.”
Evans, Hugh. What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?. TED 2016. Web. https://www.ted.com/talks/hugh_evans_what_does_it_mean_to_be_a_citizen_of_the_world?language=en
Being a global citizen is essentially thinking outside of your own sphere – thinking globally. It requires thinking about how the world is connected and how we can act to change it. It is a way of thinking that can change the world.
“Surely, there is something more sensible to do with food than waste it.”
The black line on the graph is Tristam Stuart’s estimated optimal amount of food available within each country. Above this can be said to be “surplus”. Almost every country in the world falls above this line.
When you include the crops fed to lviestock, most countries have between 3-4 times the amount of food they need to feed themselves.
“The fact is, we have an enormous buffer in rich countries between ourselves and hunger. W’eve never had such gargantuan surpluses before.”
“We are reaching the ecological limits that our planet can bear.”\
“When we chop down forests as we are every day, to grow more and more food, when we extract water from depleting water reserves, when we emit fossil fuel emissions in the quest to grow more and more food, and throw away so much of it… We need to start thinking about what we can be saving.”
-Why do supermarkets, restaurants, farms throw so much out? Our society revolves around money. When there is no profit to be made, food is wasted.
concept for potential sculpture or painting?? But problems there regarding my sculpting skills.
Work would be like the Lady Justice, except the person would be obese – representative of wealthy (often western) nations, where the obesity rate is high due to a surplus of food and food culture. Holding a cow to represent food and the wealthy world’s control of this. The cow itself represents a control of massive amounts of land and water, both of which will be highly contested in the coming years. In the other hand is a water bottle to represent the fight for water rights in the face of climate change – but this could be swapped for a seed to represent the monopolization of agriculture and food resources by the wealthy.
For my project I intend to look at the problem of food and resource management in the face of climate change and world hunger. This encompasses the potential of drought with coming climate change, and the amount of water and resources used to produce meat for wealthy countries, as well as the amount of surplus food being wasted in wealthy countries. I would like to challenge the idea that we are going to face a world food shortage, when the solution is right in front us: stop wasting so much food. This solution, though, requires a lot more research and change in the way wealthy countries think. Doing this requires becoming a global citizen. Mirzoeff highlights that this requires thinking about things globally. This video is also a good way to think about global citizenship, and about how key changing thinking and taking action is:
Another video I found on TED was this talk by Tristam Stuart about the global food waste scandal and the ways we can change our thinking.
As well as this, there are issues regarding the monopolization of agriculture, and how that is affecting the growth of food in underdeveloped countries, and the controversy around GMOs. This topic is really important to me because thinking globally has made me realise that wealthy countries’ actions have had an adverse effect on climate change, the effects of which poor countries will feel the most. It’s not fair.
Taken from her website – “Planting and harvesting a field of wheat on land worth $4.5 billion created a powerful paradox. Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities. The harvested grain traveled to twenty-eight cities around the world in an exhibition called “The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger”, organized by the Minnesota Museum of Art (1987-90). The seeds were carried away by people who planted them in many parts of the globe.”
-The misuse of land, misplaced priorities.
-Not overly strong connection to my topic but could be unpicked further. Unsure about what point this work is trying to make.
Visual activism is essentially the visual culture that has now become central to activism. Visual activism sparks change through the use of imagery, whether it be snapchat videos, or carefully thought-out artworks. It’s the dissemination of an idea to spark change that defines visual activism.