…and provided the means to globalize communication and information
20 th century advances in technology based largely on physics, chemistry, and fossil fuels led to a quadrupling of the human population and a 16-fold increase in consumption. I consume, therefore I am
What are the ecological implications of 9 billion people? 30-40% more food required 30-40% more food required 1 billion ha of natural habitat converted to agriculture 1 billion ha of natural habitat converted to agriculture 2-3 times more nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer required 2-3 times more nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer required Twice as much water required Twice as much water required 3 times more pesticide use 3 times more pesticide use
We need a new approach. Can this be the Biological Century? Can we use the metaphors and approaches of biology, and its cornucopia of technology, to help drive the principal social, ethical, and economic issues of the coming century? Can biology be an answer to the challenge of sustainability?
Advances in physics and chemistry have made the Biological Century possible DNA Ant holding a microchip Scanning electron microscope
2010 Many genomes mapped; Genetic modification widespread; Synthetic biology being developed.
DNA is information that we are only just beginning to understand
Technocentrism: Values centered on technology Ecocentrism: Values centered on Nature Biomimicry could provide a bridge between the two philosophies, since it involves creating technology that values nature.
Wild relatives of domestic animals are valuable genetic resources. Many survive only in protected areas.
The Biological Century offers a new methaphor for action, based on four principles: Conservation of biodiversity is an expression of human culture, and essential to sustainability. Biodiversity needs active management if it is to provide us with the goods and services we desire. Biodiversity management needs to include some areas where natural ecosystems are enabled to continue their evolution as a reservoir of creativity. New technologies based on biodiversity may be the best answer to sustainability in a time of growing demand.