Tag Archives: global issue

Urban farming

The world population has passed the 7 billion line and has been growing during the last decades above 1% a year. The average annual growth rate is decreasing and people are moving from rural areas to the cities at a fast pace. As of today 50% of the world population is living in cities and is expected to reach about 70% in the year 2050. In absolute numbers this would be 70% of 9.5 billion persons which means a 100% more food necessary in 2050!

As food production is about 1/3 of our environmental footprint, mainly caused by producing food far from where it will be consumed and also deseasonalization of the agriculture, new farming methods are being searched for. An interesting development is called “urban agriculture” or “urban farming” which basically means cultivating food within the city limits, close to the actual consumers.

Roman Gaus explains in a TED video the closed fish-vegetable system his team has developed and demonstrates that food can be grown without soil and using 90% less water. Their concept can be located on empty roof tops.

True business models relying on the urban farming concept have arisen out of the need to depend less of fossil fuel intensive transport (95% of United States food has traveled more than 1000 miles (1600 km). BrightFarms and Sky Vegetables are two USA based companies that design, construct and even finance greenhouse farms at supermarkets roofs.

Online education

Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free, not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. In the TED video she explains the many advantageous of online education, being one of them to provide equal learning opportunities to everyone around the world.

Mastery learning leads to better results than lecture based classes do, but not as good as individual tutoring. Online education allows personalization and to tutor and evaluate every single student continuously, thousands of them at the same time. Active learning instead of absorbing information passively not only enables faster learning processes, it also can help stimulating creativity and that, at the end, can lead to a wave of innovation.

Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education.html