New technology and artificial food would save nature and our life?

In the contemporary city life the time of creativity and the feeling of the pleasure of cooking and eating have been reduced by the ‘mass consumption society’. Our relation with nature is disturbed by mass productions of veritable and meats. The development of technology contributed in building of the farming and the farming systems and the amount of harvested crop has been rapidly increasing from 1960s because of that. This new type of agriculture drove to produce ‘cheap food’.

Thompson suggests that ‘technologies that reduce the cost of necessities like food are ethically better than technologies that reduce the cost of luxury goods like entertainment, because they are especially beneficial to people with lower income.’ The food is an everyday commodity – we need to buy food because it is difficult to live in a self-sufficient way. However, as Thompson’s argues, we become careless about food and we are much more interested about ‘visible’ stuffs and leisure activities. Moreover, in the city people have no time, as they are required to adjust to the busy routine of metropolitan’s life. Thus metropolitans tend to choose ‘cheap’ and ‘quick’ options and the relational creativity of cooking and eating have been less and less.

This market-centered industry has been disturbing the nature right of the environment. Agricultural chemicals are over used in order to keep bugs at bay and in order to save on numbers of employees. Over production of meats and eggs also crashes animal rights. They’re often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. Egg-laying hens are kept in small cages, chickens and pigs are kept in jam-packed sheds, and cows are kept on crowded, filthy feedlots. Moreover, there are chemical controls to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. Most factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger or to produce more milk or eggs than they naturally would. Thus this chemicals change the animal bodies artificiality.

Our desire for ‘cheap food’ offends the foundation of natural animals’ life. Some people are against this industrial mass production and consider slow life which motivates a careful choice of food and the preparation of meals triggering the ‘organic movement’. However, to progress the slow life movement is not easy, because this needs time and knowledge to care about the food and the way to cook it, but most of the metropolitans are controlled by a tight schedule and would not have enough time. Especially the cost to sustain the slow life style is the biggest issue. As Thompson suggests, the cheap food helps people who have a low income. Therefore, if we have learned how to live cheaper and more convenient it would be difficult to go back to a slow life style. As Felix Guattari argues that, in a TV show, a octopus which lives in polluted waters dies immediately once it is put into ‘normal’ pure water.

An artificial food form new technology

There are a number of challenges to change this crucial environment of food industry through a new development of science, which consists in a lab growth food. The lab growth food is a laboratory for growing and producing vegetables and meats using a biotechnology that has the huge potential to solve the problems of mass productions.

For example the lab growth vegetables in Yokosuka, Japan, is founded by Toshiba . In the laboratory plant factories grow vegetables in close to sterile conditions, in almost germ-free clean-rooms. Minimising the entry of germs and the damage that they can do considerably extends the freshness and shelf-life of vegetables. It adjusts a fluorescent lighting with an output wavelength optimised for vegetable growth; the temperature and air-condition are all controlled by a wide range of technology which is based on that utilised for semiconductor device production.

Toshiba fait pousser des salades en salle blanche

We can see some of the advantages of this system:   

1) The control of an environment: It can solve the issue of cross-contamination between farm and city environments. Each ecosystem has pollutants that can wreak havoc on the other. Still, we cannot ignore the advantages of growing food close to a dense population centre. The scientists will control all environments for vegetables in the lab thus all production will be proved that they are safe.

2) To save farmers, and lands: It will help to solve the problem of the reduction in number of young famers, as the scientists will replace the positions of famers who take care of farms; it does not need a special physical care for the growing and the picking up phases. Moreover, it will not need to use much land and make vegetables in the city. Thus the system could save the costs of land and of shipping.

Another example is the lab-grow meat. The lab-grownU5ds1kaVv1eSrSmnC65CAcbMqgsX1fp_1680x8400 meat is grown out of stem cell cultures using tissue engineering techniques similar to what it is used in many forms of regenerative medicine (ie. growing organs or other body parts for medical treatments.) The research is being lead by Dr. Mark Post at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands and the first lab-grown beef patty was already consumed in a 2013 demonstration. This product is thought to save the damage cause by the food industry because a high population. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the population will have grown by another 2 billion people. Considering current rates of production efficiency and consumption, food production will have to rise by 70% to keep up.

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Also there are other advantages:

1) Saving the environment: Compared to most forms of livestock, cultured meat requires less energy, creates less greenhouse gases and use less water, all by significant margins.

2) Saving animals: There is no suffering on the part of the animals being consumed. Conventional forms of meat production frequently place animals in horrible living conditions while simultaneously injecting them with a variety of chemicals to stimulate growth and prevent disease.

3) Safety: Lab grown meat is far less likely to carry disease since it is grown in a sterile environment. It does not need to care about feeds of animals and of animal illnesses as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

4) Saving farmers and lands: The same result as Lab grown vegetables, as it can be considered to help to limit land and farmers.

Now the cost of both products are affordable, especially the lab grow meat costed a $330,000 per burger in 2013, but in 2015 it became $11. In a near future a new technology is expected to develop more and it may be possible to produce a low cost meat than a natural meat. A controllable taste and nutrients will increase a quality of products. Thus, we will be able to see that no-land grow products have some possibilities to solve the problems above, and this also can be adjusted to our wishes of food,cheap, safety and healthy. Furthermore, this would help to save land as these products can be grown with no chemicals and in respect of animal’s rights.

But some problems come up to my mind….

There is a question; how will the environment be if all the food products are grown in laboratories and if there is no land grown products? If the growth of products is all controlled by a computer system and sciences technology, human would be able to control all the amount of productions: it would be a good thing as it will not sustain any damage by disasters and pollutions. On the other hand, people have to depend on this control of laboratory companies. Thus the food market would be under the control of industrial companies. In addition, building a huge lab system may need a huge amount of energy: the land of farmers would be replaced by power stations. In conclusion, systemisation of food growth could be a strategy for the economy and our fundamental activity for life ‘eating’ would be controlled by market dominances.

Moreover, the lab-grown products will have no particular taste, as the taste of food depends on the environment of land: the taste of food will be normalised: it will not include the pleasure of the sun, of the soil and the taste of nature. It would be no longer a product of nature, which contains a history and time accumulated into soil. Thus we will loose the relation with nature by cooking and eating and the pressure of food creativity will disappeared.

[references]

Cost of Lab-Grown Burger Patty Drops From $325,000 to $11.36, in the website of science alert. 2015. Available at<https://www.sciencealert.com/lab-grown-burger-patty-cost-drops-from-325-000-to-12>[Accessed 15 April 2017]

Jonathan Chan. 2014. Better Than Organic: Why Lab-Grown Produce Is the Future, in the website of Review. com. Available at < http://refrigerators.reviewed.com/features/better-than-organic-why-lab-grown-produce-is-the-future> [Accessed 15 April 2017]

Felix Guattari. 2007 [1989]. The Three Ecologies. Continuum, London.

Pallab Ghosh. 2012. Lab-grown meat is first step to artificial hamburger, in the BBC website. Available at < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16972761> [Accessed 15 April 2017]

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals, in the website of PETA. 2017. Available at <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/> [Accessed at 20 April 2017]

Global agriculture towards 2050 population growth, in the website of High Level Expert Forum. 2016. Available at <http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/Issues_papers/HLEF2050_Global_Agriculture.pdf> [Accessed 15 April 2017]

Maddie Stone.2016.The Future Will Be Full of Lab Grown Meat, in the website of GIZMODO. Available at <http://gizmodo.com/the-future-will-be-full-of-lab-grown-meat-1720874704> [Accessed 15 April 2017]

Paul B. Thompson. 2012. Nature Polutics and the Philosophy of Agriculture, The Philosophy of Food. University of California Press, Ltd.,London.

Press Release: Toshiba Starts Vegetable Production at Toshiba Clean Room Farm Yokosuka. 2014. The website of Toshiba. Available at < https://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2014_09/pr3001.htm> [Accessed 15 April 2017]

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