This submission describes our initial concepts, based on creating a greater global responsibility for engineers when it comes to sustainability and ethical obligation which we will develop and improve over the coming weeks.
Currently, a staggering 50% of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture yet we are still constantly hearing about billions of people across the world starving every single day and as the human population increases exponentially, this will only become more of a problem the longer we do nothing to combat it . The concept we have come up with is to introduce a new law which benefits those who farm sustainably and morally: the less farming land used per kg of food produce from that land, the more tax breaks for that farmer. This concept would encourage farmers to farm more sustainably because animal farming is the most detrimental form of farming to climate change today as it accounts for 77% of the global farming land but only provides 18% of the world calories . Less animal farming and more crop farming would also aid in tackling the obesity crisis that also affects our planet.
As for promoting better engineering practice however, there is no doubt some farmers and/or people will want to take advantage of this new law and grow their own crops to sell therefore there will be demand for the most efficient farming methods possible and engineers will deliver. There are already vertical farms which allow food production to be as efficient as possible with our current technology, providing year-round crop production that traditional farms are unable to provide and with minimal water usage . Also, no chemicals or pesticides are used in vertical farms allowing the growth of far healthier foods with none of the occupational hazards .
Even entire skyscrapers dedicated to vertical farming have been proposed such as one by architecture firm Sasaki which would join Shanghai’s skyline as a magnificent building that helps tackle climate change while helping to feed the world’s most populated country . References: