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人口暴增:2050年养活100亿人口的五种方法

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Five ways we can feed the world in 2050
人口暴增:2050年养活100亿人口的五种方法

As our global population continues to rise, some estimates suggest it could reach a whopping 10 billion people by 2050. To feed that many people, we will need to produce record quantities of food.

随着全球人口数量持续增加,有人预计2050年全球总人口可达100亿。要让这么多人都吃饱饭,我们的食物产出量就要达到历史新高。

The scale of the challenge is epic. With only 30 seasons of planting and harvest left before the population could hit that 10 billion figure, it’s clear that agriculture as we know it has to change, if we are to have any hope of feeding the planet.

挑战之大是前所未有的。我们只剩下30季的播种收割,就要迎来100亿人口的大关。显而易见,如果我们想要养活这个星球的人类,我们所熟悉的农业也要发生改变。
Over the past six months I’ve travelled all over Europe speaking to pioneering scientists and engineers, global thought leaders, savvy retailers and of course, knowledgeable, resilient farmers, for the BBC World News and BBC Future series, Follow the Food. The aim is to examine a truck-load of issues around food supply and find some potential solutions for our future.

在过去的六个月里,我走遍了整个欧洲,与前沿科学家和工程师、全球意见领袖、精明的零售商、当然还有学识渊博且坚韧的农民聊天,为英国广播公司(BBC)国际新闻(World News)以及未来(Future)专栏的节目——《跟随食物的脚步》(Follow the Food)做准备。这么做是为了检视许多与食品供应相关的问题,并为我们的未来寻找一些可能的解决方案。

This much-needed transformation – of not just agriculture but our whole food supply chain – is already under way. Here are five solutions that could help us get ready to feed the 10 billion.

这种人们迫切需要的转变,即农业乃至整个食品供应链的转变,已经在进行中了。以下五种方法或许可以帮助我们做好养活100亿人的准备。

Creating robot farmers

开发务农机器人


Before you scream at your screen about robots taking our jobs, hear me out. Many farmers say that time in the field, sat in a tractor for hours, is not just repetitive and boring, but robs them of time they could be spending on other key jobs they need to do to manage their business.

在你对着屏幕大吼机器人抢走人类饭碗之前,请先听我讲完。许多农民表示,坐在拖拉机上在农田里耗上好几个小时的时间,不仅重复及无聊,还剥夺了他们原本可以用来处理更重要的工作以打理生意的时间。

The Small Robot Company has created three, um, small robots: Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom takes geotagged images of plants in the fiel, which are sent back for analysis. That leads to Dick venturing out to spray – with precision – individual crops, eliminating the need for blanket spraying fields, and avoiding unnecessary polluting run-off and saving resources. Harry is the planting robot, complete with a robotic drill. Together, they carry out the monotonous tasks conventionally done by a human – with greater accuracy and less waste.

小型机器人公司(Small Robot Company)已经开发了三款小型机器人:汤姆(Tom)、迪克(Dick)和哈利(Harry)。汤姆拍摄带有地理标记的田间植物图像,然后发回分析。随后迪克出动,负责对特定作物进行农药精准喷洒,进而免去地毯式喷洒的需要,避免不必要的径流污染,并能节约资源。哈利则是播种机器人,配合机械钻完成工作。这三个机器人可以一起完成原本由人类负责的单调工作,而且准确率更高,还减少了浪费。

Preserving precious dirt

保护珍贵的土壤


One reason small, mobile robots could be good news for farming is that they can replace a lot of the work done by large conventional tractors. Ordinary tractors are heavy. When they roll across the field they compact the soil. That crushes the gaps inside, reducing the size of the pores that hold air and water. This compaction significantly affects the soil’s ability to hold onto water and so a crop’s ability to take that up, along with the nutrients.

农用小型移动式机器人的潜在优势之一在于他们可以取代许多由传统大型拖拉机完成的工作。普通的拖拉机非常沉重,在滚过田地的时候会压实土壤。这会破坏土壤中的空隙,减少储存空气和水分的孔隙大小。土壤被压实很大程度上影响了土壤储存水分的能力,进而影响作物对水分和营养的吸收。

Using smaller, lighter robots to do the jobs currently performed by tractors could hugely help reduce these issues. Now, a small robot can’t pull large, heavy machinery like a tiller or cultivator. But they’re not looking to simply repeat traditional farming methods.

使用更小、更轻的机器人完成原本由拖拉机完成的工作有助于减少此类问题的发生。小型机器人虽然不能拖动翻土机、犁田机等大型重机械,但发明轻型农耕机器人的目的本就不是为了简单地重复传统的务农方法。

Giving waste a second chance

减少食物废弃量


One of the most shocking facts I learned is the sheer amount of good, edible food that gets wasted. According to the United Nations, “An estimated third of all food produced ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.”

我了解到最令人震惊的事实就是有大量好的、可食用的食物被浪费。据联合国透露:“据估计,生产的食物中,有三分之一最终都在消费者和零售商的垃圾桶里腐烂掉,或由于运输和收割不当发生损坏而抛弃。”

One country with a big waste problem is the Netherlands – the second biggest exporter of agricultural products (by value) after the US. The sheer scale of the flow of food through the Netherlands means waste is a big issue. The Dutch government has pledged to become the first European country to halve the amount of discarded food by 2030.

存在严重浪费的国家包括荷兰。按商品价值计算,荷兰是仅次于美国的第二大农产品出口国。荷兰食物货流量之巨大意味着浪费问题也相当严重。荷兰政府已经下定决心,要在2030年成为欧洲第一个将食品废弃量减半的国家。

There are countless brilliant ideas and initiatives hoping to help, but one approach that I thought was brilliant was using apps like “Too Good To Go”. This app enables retailers to shift food destined for the bin – but that’s still perfectly edible – to customers at a reduced cost.

人们想了无数精彩的点子和具体措施希望有助于改善这一现象,但我认为一个机智的方法就是使用“Too Good To Go”(意为:质量太好不值得丢弃)应用程序。这款应用程序可以让零售商家将原本计划丢弃,但仍然完全可以正常食用的食物,以折扣价卖给消费者。

Slowing the ageing process

减缓食物成熟过程


We can’t yet turn back the clock but, at least in fruit, we can slow the dial.

我们暂时还不能让时间倒流,但至少我们可以减缓水果的成熟速度。

The bananas I eat at home in the UK could have travelled from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica or a field even further afield. To get to me they will have been picked green, perhaps spent 40 days on a boat, and then eventually ended up in the supermarket where, in order to be picked from the shelf, they have to be a perfect yellow, with no black spots or brown patches. That takes incredible, careful management to achieve.

我在英国家中吃的香蕉可能从厄瓜多尔、多米尼加、哥斯达黎加、甚至更远的地方漂洋过海而来。这些香蕉为了到达这里,在尚未成熟、还是绿色的时候就被摘下,在船上待上40天左右的时间,最终出现在某家超市里。为了能被消费者从货架上选走,这些香蕉都应该呈现出完美的黄色,不能有任何黑点或者棕色的斑块。这一切都要靠无法想象的、小心谨慎的管理才能做到。

If a banana ripens too early in the process, it releases ethylene gas, which triggers ripening in other bananas. It only takes one rogue ripe banana to take down 15% of a shipment. That’s a huge pile of wasted bananas.

如果香蕉在运输过程中过早成熟,就会释放乙烯,进而导致其他香蕉开始成熟。只需要一根坏的香蕉就可以造成15%的货运损耗。这就浪费了一大堆香蕉。

What some scientists in Norwich, UK, are doing is editing the genome of the bananas – modifying specific letters in their DNA – so that they produce far less ethylene. This could lead to less wastage en route and extend the banana’s shelf life in the supermarket. In some parts of the world, this could translate into real supply chains. But in other places, such as the EU, gene-edited crops are very tightly regulated with a lengthy approval process.

英国诺里奇(Norwich)的一些科学家们正在编辑香蕉的基因,即改变基因的特定碱基,进而让香蕉的乙烯排放量大大降低。这样就能减少运输过程中的损耗,延长香蕉在超市货架售卖的时间。在世界部分地区,这可以真正运用到供应链里。然而在欧盟等其他地区,经过基因编辑的作物受到严格监管,审批程序很冗长。

Making smarter choices

做更明智的决定


Spending time with farmers, producers, retailers and consumers, I quickly saw how our current ways of growing, processing and selling food just aren’t scalable or sustainable.

我花时间和农民、制造商、零售商以及消费者在一起,很快就发现我们目前食物的培育、处理和出售方法是无法规模化且不可持续的。

The only way we can feed 10 billion people by 2050 is if the farming and food industries become much more sustainable. And that requires changes to the whole model of growing, processing, transporting, storing and selling. It means a lot of businesses and governments need to take action. But so too do we all.

能让我们在2050年养活100亿人的方法只有将农业和食品工业变得更加可持续。这就需要我们改变整个培育、处理、运输、储存和销售模式。这意味着许多行业和政府都必须行动起来。我们每一个人也应该如此。

Whether that’s going to the market and choosing the most “ugly” veg for dinner, encouraging supermarkets to change their labelling to show us the carbon or water footprint of our food (so you can choose an avocado that’s used less of our rapidly depleting fresh water supply to grow), or using new tech to avoid waste, there’s so much we can be doing to value our food and value its producers.

无论是去菜市场选购最“丑”的蔬菜做晚餐,还是鼓励超市改变标签方法、向顾客展示食品的碳足迹和水足迹(这样顾客就可以挑选一个使用较少稀缺淡水资源种植的牛油果),还是用新科技避免浪费,我们可以通过很多行动表达对食物、对生产者的重视和珍惜。

Building a world fed by sustainable agriculture is a daunting task. But farmers, scientists, engineers, retailers, business leaders and governments are all coming together to ensure we have enough food in the future. And I will certainly be thinking about what changes I can make on an individual level to join the effort.

建造一个用可持续农业养活的世界是一项艰巨的任务。但农民、科学家、工程师、零售商、商界领袖以及政府都在齐心协力,确保我们未来有足够的食物。而我肯定也会思考,要加入他们的队伍,自己在个人层面可以作出哪些改变。
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