audibleecoscience Earth Headphones

Audibleecoscience is a database of podcasts on subjects related to global change biology. It is designed as a resource for the general public and for educators looking to assign "required listening" to their students. Reviews of each podcast and links to the original source have been provided by students taking the IB107 class at the University of Illinois. The database is fully text searchable or you can browse on your favorite subject...
facebook twitter rss
Crops and Food Security

One seed at a time, protecting the future of food

Media Source: TED talks
Program Name: TED talks
Show Name: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food
Broadcast Year: 2009
Original Link:

The speaker, Cary Fowler, is a biodiversity activist.  He mentions that his work is focused around the concept that crop diversity is the biological foundation of agriculture.  Today, that foundation is crumbling and we are seeing a mass extinction of crops; most people are unaware of it.  In the 1800’s in the United States, about 7,100 different species of apples were grown.  Now, around 6,000 of those are extinct.  This has dire consequences.  Crop diversity is necessary for them to survive.  Certain species have disease resistant traits that others need, by creating a monoculture we are making our crops extremely vulnerable.        The biggest threat our crops face to today is a warming climate.  Fowler claims that in the future, around 2070, we will hit the point were the coldest growing seasons will be hotter than the hottest of the past.  And it will be the worst in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the poorest parts of the world today.  Our best bet is to preserve agricultural biodiversity.        He has helped to create a seed bank in a mountain in Norway.  It works a like a deposit box.  Norway owns the bank, the countries of the world own the seeds.  Currently every country in the world has seeds they own in the bank.  As of 2009, the bank had around 425,000 samples of unique crop varieties.  Fowler states that we cannot tackle climate change problems without crop diversity.  If agriculture does not adapt, neither will we.

© 2013 - 2022 University of Illinois Board of Trustees