#2 Thinking Space Seminar Series w/ Bill Pritchard

Wednesday 11 March 2015 4.00 - 5.00PM

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The University of Sydney


Complexity, Geography and the Food/Climate Change Meme

This seminar is part of the Thinking Space Series. These seminars by the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, are open to everyone interested in current innovations in geographical research and cutting edge trends in socio- spatial theory.

A/Prof. Bill Pritchard (Geosciences) | Complexity, Geography and the food/climate change meme

Popular accounts of the intersection between climate change and food systems  frequently lean on notions of ‘disruption’ and ‘loss’. These words are good for capturing the public imagination, but their mimetic trails may encourage misconception about the character of the food/climate change dynamic. They potentially construct the problem as ‘about us’ (that is, the affluent West) and represent it in terms of a massive impending cleavage from the past. In this presentation, I argue that the relationship between climate change and food is fundamentally an issue of global inequality, acting to leverage pre-existing injustices in different ways as future climate scenarios unfold. The issue is fundamentally about inequality because the although potential implications of climate change on the world’s food systems are vast and complex, they will mainly hit those populations already most vulnerable to food insecurity. They are temporally contingent because in the medium term, while the world heads towards an increase in average temperatures of 2 degrees C above pre-industrial norms, they will manifest less as ‘disruption’ and more as ‘exacerbation’; and less as ‘loss’ and more as ‘scarcity’. Once temperatures rise above 2 degrees C, wider, systemic catastrophic change is likely to dramatically reshape the issue, in any case.

Bill Pritchard is an Associate Professor in Human Geography specialising in agriculture, food and rural places. His is interested in the ways that global and local processes are transforming places, industries and people’s lives. He remains a skeptical internationalist – believing in the promise of a better world but frustrated by the obstacles that beset this objective.

For more information on any of the events below, please contact: Billy Haworth: billy.haworth@sydney.edu.au