The Globale View of Food Security by 10 Billion People

Wednesday, 15. October 2014 | 11:15 Uhr


Robert S. Lawrence


Johns Hopkins University


„Hunger is not a problem caused by too little food”, Professor Robert S. Lawrence of Johns Hopkins University stressed in his presentation at Academia Engelberg Foundation’s 13th Dialogue on Science. Rather, it is a problem of poverty, lack of investments in agriculture and infrastructure, the climate and weather, food waste, and unstable markets. Worldwide, agriculture is responsible for 70% of water usage. The groundwater for irrigation all over the world is consumed faster than it can be replenished. Agriculture and mankind do not only impact water consumption, however, but also bio-diversity. Thus, bio-diversity greatly declined since human beings started to increasingly interfere with nature. Lawrence addressed another important aspect: energy consumption. He pointed out that an average American farm needs 3 kcal of fossil energy to produce 1 kcal of nutritional energy.

Watch the video of Prof. Lawrence’s presentation on the basics and learn more about the complex issues surrounding food security.

Robert S. Lawrence

Robert Lawrence is the Center for a Livable Future Professor and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy, and International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Lawrence is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He served for three years as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Lawrence is a Master of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Public Health Association, and Physicians for Human Rights.

From 1970 to 1974, he was a member of the faculty of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he helped develop a primary health care system funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity.

In 1974, he was appointed as the first director of the Division of Primary Care at Harvard Medical School where he subsequently served as the Charles S. Davidson Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medicine at the Cambridge Hospital until 1991.

From 1991 to 1995, he was the director of health sciences at the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1995 he was appointed Associate Dean for Professional Education and Programs at the School of Public Health and served in that capacity until 2006.

From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Lawrence chaired the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force of the Department of Health and Human Services and served on the successor Preventive Services Task Force from 1990 to 1995. He currently serves as a consultant to the Task Force on Community Preventive Services at the CDC. Dr. Lawrence has participated in human rights investigations on behalf of PHR or other human rights groups to Chile, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kosovo, the Philippines and South Africa.

In 1996 Dr. Lawrence became the founding director of the Center for a Livable Future at the School of Public Health. The Center is an inter-disciplinary group of faculty and staff committed to improving food security and creating a more equitable and sustainable food system. Research, education, and advocacy examine the relationships among food production systems, diet, the environment, and human health.

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