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The Ethics of Food Security
BRYAN L. MCDONALD
Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, Penn State
Bryan L. McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at The Pennsylvania State University. He studies the changing landscape of global security threats and vulnerabilities that impact the national security of states and the human security of individuals and communities. His current research topics include: the politics of food security, food safety and food defense; environmental politics and sustainability; and the security impacts of transnational threats such as environmental change, health threats, and terrorism. Dr. McDonald is the author of Food Security (Polity Press, 2010) and co-editor of Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009), and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004, paperback 2006). McDonald’s research has been published in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism,Democracy & Society, Journal of the American Planning Association, Environmental Change and Security Project Report, Canadian Journal of Political Science, and Politics and the Life Sciences. He is a Fellow at Penn State’s International Center for the Study of Terrorism and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. McDonald received his B.A. and M.A. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine.
"The Ethics of Food Security"
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The need to ensure food security, the idea that all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food necessary to lead active and healthy lives, has been recognized as a core challenge in the 21st century. How will the world meet demands from a growing population that is also growing more affluent with shifting dietary preferences? How will countries secure a stable and safe food supply for their citizens? How will consumer preferences for affordable, convenient, healthy and safe food create new challenges and opportunities in food systems? As these questions demonstrate, the global trends that will reshape the food system in coming decades present a number of pressing ethical questions about how to ensure food security.
Already, global change processes are creating a new food security landscape. Rising food prices and a global economic crisis have resulted in record numbers of chronically hungry people in the world. At the same time, countries around the world are confronted by health challenges from rising rates of overweight and obesity. Agricultural and food production activities are key drivers of environmental changes while at the same time likely to face significant impacts from these changes in coming decades. Food safety incidents have raised awareness of the continued peril that food systems face from diseases and contaminants.
The lack of sufficient, safe and nutritious food has significant impacts on the health, well-being, and livelihoods of people and countries around the world. This lecture will examine trends in the food system and challenges to food security with a particular focus on the ethical questions raised by efforts to provide all people with needed food.