学习啦【英语文摘】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-08-30
feeding the 9 billion: the tragedy of waste
[a] by 2075, the united nations' mid-range projection for global population is about 9.5 billion. this means that there could be an extra three billion mouths to feed by the end of the century, a period in which substantial changes are anticipated in the wealth, calorie intake and dietary preferences of people in developing countries across the world. such a projection presents mankind with wide-ranging social, economic, environmental and political issues that need to be addressed today to ensure a sustainable future for all. one key issue is how to produce more food in a world of finite resources.
[b] today, we produce about four billion metric tonnes of food per year. yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30-50% of all food produced never reaches a human stomach. furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. this level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands.
where food waste happens
[c] in 2010,the institution of mechanical engineers identified three principal emerging population groups across the world, based on characteristics associated with their current and projected stage of economic development.
• fully developed, mature, post-industrial societies, such as those in europe, characterised by stable or declining populations which are increasing in age.
• late-stage developing nations that are currently industrialising rapidly, for example china, which will experience declining rates of population growth, coupled with increasing affluence (富裕)and age profile.
• newly developing countries that are beginning to industrialise, primarily in africa, with high to very high population growth rates, and characterised by a predominantly young age profile.
[d] each group over the coming decades will need to address different issues surrounding food production, storage and transportation, as well as consumer expectations, if we are to continue to feed all our people.
[e] in less-developed countries, such as those of sub-saharan africa and south-east asia, wastage tends to occur primarily at the farmer-producer end of the supply chain. inefficient harvesting, inadequate local transportation and poor infrastructure (基础设施)mean that produce is frequently handled inappropriately and stored under unsuitable farm site conditions.
[f] in mature, fully developed countries such as the uk, more-efficient farming practices and better transport, storage and processing facilities ensure that a larger proportion of the food produced reaches markets and consumers. however, characteristics associated with modern consumer culture mean produce is often wasted through retail and customer behaviour.
[g] major supermarkets, in meeting consumer expectations, will often reject entire crops of perfectly edible fruit and vegetables at the farm because they do not meet exacting marketing standards for their physical characteristics, such as size and appearance.
[h] of the produce that does appear in the supermarket, commonly used sales promotions frequently encourage customers to purchase excessive quantities which, in the case of perishable foodstuffs, inevitably generate wastage in the home. overall between 30% and 50% of what has been bought in developed countries is thrown away by the purchaser.
better use of our finite resources
[i] wasting food means losing not only life-supporting nutrition but also precious resources, including land, water and energy. as a global society, therefore, tackling food waste will help contribute towards addressing a number of key resource issues.
[j] land usage: over the last five decades, improved farming techniques and technologies have helped to significantly increase crop yields along with a 12% expansion of farmed land use. however, a further increase in farming area without impacting unfavourably on what remains of the world's natural ecosystems appears unlikely. the challenge is that an increase in animal-based production will require more land and resources, as livestock (牲畜)farming demands extensive land use.
[k] water usage: over the past century, human use of fresh water has increased at more than double the rate of population growth. currently about 3.8 trillion m3of water is used by humans per year. about 70% of this is consumed by the global agriculture sector, and the level of use will continue to rise over the coming decades.
[l] better irrigation can dramatically improve crop yield and about 40% of the world's food supply is currently derived from irrigated land. however, water used in irrigation is often sourced unsustainably.in processing foods after the agricultural stage, there are large additional uses of water that need to be tackled in a world of growing demand. this is particularly crucial inthe case of meat production, where beef uses about 50 times more water than vegetables. in the future, more effective washing techniques, management procedures, and recycling and purification of water will be needed to reduce wastage.
[m]energy usage: energy is an essential resource across the entire food production cycle, with estimates showing an average of 7-10 calories of input being required in the production of one calorie of food. this varies dramatically depending on crop, from three calories for plant crops to 35 calories in the production of beef. since much of this energy comes from the utilisation of fossil fuels, wastage of food potentially contributes to unnecessary global warming as well as inefficient resource utilisation.
[n] in the modem industrialised agricultural process—which developing nations are moving towards in order to increase future yields—energy usage in the making and application of fertilisers and pesticides represents the single biggest component. wheat production takes 50% of its energy input for these two items alone. indeed, on a global scale, fertiliser manufacturing consumes about 3-5% of the world's annual natural gas supply. with production anticipated to increase by 25% between now and 2030, sustainable energy sourcing will become an increasingly major issue. energy to power machinery, both on the farm and in the storage and processing facilities, adds to the energy total, which currently represents about 3.1% of annual global energy consumption.
[o] rising population combined with improved nutrition standards and shifting dietary preferences will exert pressure for increases in global food supply. engineers, scientists and agriculturalists have the knowledge, tools and systems that will assist in achieving productivity increases. however, pressure will grow on finite resources of land, energy and water. the potential to provide 60-100% more food by simply eliminating losses, while simultaneously freeing up land, energy and water resources for other uses, is an opportunity that should not be ignored. in order to begin tackling the challenge, the institution recommends that:
•the un food and agriculture organisation work with the international engineering community to ensure governments of developed nations put in place programmes that transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to newly developing countries. this will help improve produce handling in the harvest, and immediate post-harvest stages of food production.
• governments of rapidly developing countries incorporate waste minimisation thinking into the transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently being planned, engineered and built.
• governments in developed nations devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations. these should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.
46. elimination of waste alone can potentially provide over sixty percent more food for the growing world population.
47. the production and application of fertilisers and pesticides account for the largest part of energy use in the modern industrialised agricultural process.
48. consumers in developed countries throw away nearly half of their food purchases because they tend to buy in excessive quantities.
49. it is recommended that engineering knowledge and suitable technology in developed countries be introduced to developing countries to improve produce handling in the harvest.
50. the predicted global population growth means that ways have to be found to produce more food with finite resources.
51. a further expansion of farming area will adversely impact on the world's natural ecosystems.
52. perfectly eatable fruit and vegetable crops often fail to reach supermarkets due to their size or physical appearance.
53. poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation have resulted in a waste of much of the food we produce and thus a waste of land and resources.
54. food waste in less-developed countries happens mainly at the producers' end.
55. beef consumes far more water to produce than vegetables.
the uses of difficulty
the brain likes a challenge—and putting a few obstacles in its way may well boost its creativity.
a)jack white, the former frontman of the white stripes and an influential figure among fellow musicians, likes to make things difficult for himself. he uses cheap guitars that won’t stay in shape or in tune. when performing, he positions his instruments in a way that is deliberately inconvenient, so that switching from guitar to organ mid-song involves a mad dash across the stage. why? because he’s on the run from what he describes as a disease that preys on every artist: “ease of use”. when making music gets too easy, says white, it becomes harder to make it sing.
b)it’s an odd thought. why would anyone make their work more difficult than it already is? yet we know that difficulty can pay unexpected dividends. in 1966, soon after the beatles had finished work on “rubber soul”, paul mccartney looked into the possibility of going to america to record their next album. the equipment in american studios was more advanced than anything in britain, which had led the beatles’ great rivals, the rolling stones, to make their latest album, “aftermath”, in los angeles. mccartney found that emi’s (百代唱片) contractual clauses made it prohibitively expensive to follow suit, and the beatles had to make do with the primitive technology of abbey road.
c)lucky for us. over the next two years they made their most groundbreaking work, turning the recording studio into a magical instrument of its own. precisely because they were working with old-fashioned machines, george martin and his team of engineers were forced to apply every ounce of their creativity to solve the problems posed to them by lennon and mccartney. songs like “tomorrow never knows”, “strawberry fields forever”, and “a day in the life” featured revolutionary sound effects that dazzled and mystified martin’s american counterparts.
d)sometimes it’s only when a difficulty is removed that we realise what it was doing for us. for more than two decades, starting in the 1960s, the poet ted hughes sat on the judging panel of an annual poetry competition for british schoolchildren. during the 1980s he noticed an increasing number of long poems among the submissions, with some running to 70 or 80 pages. these poems were verbally inventive and fluent, but also “strangely boring”. after making inquiries hughes discovered that they were being composed on computers, then just finding their way into british homes.
e)you might have thought any tool which enables a writer to get words on to the page would be an advantage. but there may be a cost to such facility. in an interview with the paris review hughes speculated that when a person puts pen to paper, “you meet the terrible resistance of what happened your first year at it, when you couldn’t write at all”. as the brain attempts to force the unsteady hand to do its bidding, the tension between the two results in a more compressed, psychologically denser expression. remove that resistance and you are more likely to produce a 70-page ramble (不着边际的长篇大论).
f)our brains respond better to difficulty than we imagine. in schools, teachers and pupils alike often assume that if a concept has been easy to learn, then the lesson has been successful. but numerous studies have now found that when classroom material is made harder to absorb, pupils retain more of it over the long term, and understand it on a deeper level.
g)as a poet, ted hughes had an acute sensitivity to the way in which constraints on self-expression, like the disciplines of metre and rhyme (韵律), spur creative thought. what applies to poets and musicians also applies to our daily lives. we tend to equate(等同于)happiness with freedom, but, as the psychotherapist and writer adam phillips has observed, without obstacles to our desires it’s harder to know what we want, or where we’re heading. he tells the story of a patient, a first-time mother who complained that her young son was always clinging to her, wrapping himself around her legs wherever she went. she never had a moment to herself, she said, because her son was “always in the way”. when phillips asked her where she would go if he wasn’t in the way, she replied cheerfully, “oh, i wouldn’t know where i was!”
h)take another common obstacle: lack of money. people often assume that more money will make them happier. but economists who study the relationship between money and happiness have consistently found that, above a certain income, the two do not reliably correlate. despite the ease with which the rich can acquire almost anything they desire, they are just as likely to be unhappy as the middle classes. in this regard at least, f. scott fitzgerald was wrong.
i)indeed, ease of acquisition is the problem. the novelist edward st aubyn has a narrator remark of the very rich that, “not having to consider affordability, their desires rambled on like unstoppable bores, relentless (持续不断的) and whimsical(反复无常的)at the same time.” when boston college, a private research university, wanted a better feel for its potential donors, it asked the psychologist robert kenny to investigate the mindset of the super-rich. he surveyed 165 households, most of which had a net worth of $25m or more. he found that many of his subjects were confused by the infinite options their money presented them with. they found it hard to know what to want, creating a kind of existential bafflement. one of them put it like this: “you know, bob, you can just buy so much stuff, and when you get to the point where you can just buy so much stuff, now what are you going to do?”
j)the internet makes information billionaires out of all of us, and the architects of our online experiences are catching on to the need to make things creatively difficult. twitter’s huge success is rooted in the simple but profound insight that in a medium with infinite space for self-expression, the most interesting thing we can do is restrict ourselves to 140 characters. the music service this is my jam helps people navigate the tens of millions of tracks now available instantly via spotify and itunes. users pick their favourite song of the week to share with others. they only get to choose one. the service was only launched this year, but by the end of september 650,000 jams had been chosen. its co-founder matt ogle explains its raison d’être (存在的理由) like this: “in an age of endless choice, we were missing a way to say: ‘this. this is the one you should listen to’.”
k)today’s world offers more opportunity than ever to follow the advice of the walker brothers and make it easy on ourselves. compared with a hundred years ago, our lives are less tightly bound by social norms and physical constraints. technology has cut out much of life’s donkeywork, and we have more freedoms than ever: we can wear what we like and communicate with hundreds of friends at once at the click of a mouse. obstacles are everywhere disappearing. few of us wish to turn the clock back, but perhaps we need to remind ourselves how useful the right obstacles can be. sometimes, the best route to fulfilment is the path of more resistance.
46.the rigorous requirements placed on the writing of poetry stimulate the poet’s creativity.
47.with creativity, even old-fashioned instruments may produce spectacular sound effects.
48.more money does not necessarily bring greater happiness.
49.it is a false assumption that lessons should be made easier to learn.
50.obstacles deliberately placed in the creation of music contribute to its success.
51.those who enjoy total freedom may not find themselves happy.
52.ted hughes discovered many long poems submitted for poetry competition were composed oncomputers.
53.maybe we need to bear in bear in mind that the right obstacles help lead us to greater achievements.
54.an investigation found that many of the super-rich were baffled by the infinite choices theirmoney made available.
55.one free social networking website turned out to successful because it limited each posting to one hundred and forty characters.