Cities are already today, the principal center for the production and consumption of our society. This role will be further strengthened in the near future, when almost 70% of the global population (nearly 7 billion people) is predicted to live in urban areas by 2050. This prognosis inevitably affects food safety and security of the products consumed, especially given that intensive agricultural and livestock practices require high quantities for synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, vaccines, and growth hormones, that all end up in the human bodies as well as the protein intake.
[Waste & Circular Systems]: Generally, poor food planning, inadequate packaging, improper storage, and cultural practices are all contributing to food waste. The Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) has calculated that uneaten food costs the world up to $400 billion annually, providing a substantial financial motive for businesses to act. As we move towards more circular systems, it will be essential to increase our focus on points of inefficiency. We need to identify these areas and apply innovative solutions to reduce or remove them. The UN projects that by 2050, 2.5 billion more people will live in urban areas. As a result, food waste is expected to rise significantly by 2050 in most cities. It is projected that municipal food waste at retail and consumer level will have increased by 35 percent between 2007 and 2025.
[Humana Communitas]: It is unacceptable that natural resources are being depleted, and vital ecosystems are degraded to produce food that is ultimately never consumed, while nearly 795 million people are living in chronic hunger. In order to rebuild, reset, restore, redesign, rethink, reimagine, reconnect, regenerate our food system, reshape the cities of tomorrow and feed a growing population, it is urgent to reverse the current culture of abundance based on expectations of large quantities and low costs. Rather than expecting food availability 24/7, it is pivotal to restore a direct connection with food, return to patterns of responsible production and consumption and encourage new generations to question the acceptance of food waste despite global hunger.
[Water]: As floods and extreme rainfall have increased by more than 50% only in the last ten years, risks of pathogenic contamination inevitably have increased. Human-made unsustainable activities are equally responsible for ecosystem contamination. Agricultural runoffs and wastewater discharges generate the worst anthropogenic impacts in terms of quantities, followed by industrial and municipal wastewater, 80% of which are globally discharged without any treatment. Wastewater utilities are responsible alone for between 3 and 7% of GHG emissions, and the percentage rises to 13% of global non-CO2 emissions when also considering methane and nitrous oxide contamination of landfills, open sewers, and lagoons. Ensuring water access is pivotal for both social and economic growth and fundamental for the urban context to thrive. However, water scarcity and increased competition for water resources, flood management due to global sea-level rise, and freshwater quality conservation are still actual challenges.
[Climate & Earth Regeneration]: Satisfying expected increases in water, energy, and food needs means shifting to more sustainable production and consumption approaches. There won’t be enough water and land to feed the growing global population with unsustainable diets.
Participants will interpret environmental challenges, develop problem-solving strategies, investigate roles, rights and duties of different actors in production and consumption (food marketing, enterprises, municipalities, legislation, consumers, etc. ) and interpret production and consumption practices and the interrelatedness between value chains and production and consumption (supply and demand, toxins, CO2 emissions, waste generation, health, poverty).