We ask your attention for the sixth edition of the Mansholt Lecture, which WUR organises on 28 September 2022 in Brussels. This year the Mansholt Lecture will address nature positive futures: food systems as a major catalyst for change.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin. Climate change is a critical driver of biodiversity loss, affecting the distribution, functioning and interactions of species and ecosystems. The devastating effects of climate change on ecosystems reduces their ability to supply crucial ecosystem services that regulate the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, temperature, floods, droughts, pests and diseases. This loss of regulation capacity of our ecosystems further exacerbates climate change and its effects. Biodiversity loss and climate change should therefore be viewed as strongly coupled crises with mutually reinforcing feedback loops.
Human activities in agriculture and the food system are among the main human pressures driving this deterioration. However, agriculture and the food system will ultimately also be the main victim of these couples crises, as drought, heat stress, floods, infertile soils or lack of pollinators increasingly impact food production. Reintroducing biodiversity into the food system from the farm to the fork can therefore be a main catalyser for creating a sustainable, healthy future for the planet and its people.
In this Mansholt lecture of 2022, WUR will present its vision and priority actions for different stakeholder groups on the role agriculture and the food system play in navigating the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. How do we need to transition agricultural production and the food system from where we are now to where we need to go to create a liveable planet in the long term? And how do we ensure that the transition is sustainable, fair and just to everyone, including local and vulnerable communities?