Professor Jonathan Foley discusses ‘The Other Inconvenient Truth’ at TEDxTC conference (Transcript)
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: The other inconvenient truth by Jonathan Foley at TEDxTC – YouTube
Tonight, I want to have a conversation about this incredible global issue that’s at the intersection of land use, food and environment, something we can all relate to, and what I’ve been calling the other inconvenient truth.
But first, I want to take you on a little journey. Let’s first visit our planet, but at night, and from space. This is what our planet looks like from outer space at night time, if you were to take a satellite and travel around the planet. And the thing you would notice first, of course, is how dominant the human presence on our planet is. We see cities, we see oil fields, you can even make out fishing fleets in the sea, that we are dominating much of our planet, and mostly through the use of energy that we see here at night.
But let’s go back and drop it a little deeper and look during the daytime. What we see during the day is our landscapes. This is part of the Amazon Basin, a place called Rondônia in the south-center part of the Brazilian Amazon. If you look really carefully in the upper right-hand corner, you’re going to see a thin white line, which is a road that was built in the 1970s. If we come back to the same place in 2001, what we’re going to find is that these roads spurt off more roads, and more roads after that, at the end of which is a small clearing in the rainforest where there are going to be a few cows. These cows are used for beef. We’re going to eat these cows. And these cows are eaten basically in South America, in Brazil and Argentina. They’re not being shipped up here. But this kind of fishbone pattern of deforestation is something we notice a lot of around the tropics, especially in this part of the world.