Dr. Lassi Linnanen: System-Level Change for Energy, Food and Water Security
It is increasingly clear that there is no place in an interlinked world for isolated solutions. Our business-as-usual scenario is that agriculture will have to produce much more food, primary energy needs will increase considerably, and demand for clean water will soon exceed global availability. It is obvious that these aspirations cannot be achieved if we simultaneously want to remain within planetary boundaries and maintain a safe operating space for mankind.
The presentation describes a framework for sustainable system-level change through the lenses of energy-food-water nexus. As one blind spot in the current system, disconnect between food security and planetary nutrient boundaries is analyzed. The results suggests that anthropogenic nutrient flows have transgressed the regulatory capacity of the earth, and the food supply is limited more by reducing the excessive flows than by phosphorus reserves or population growth. The food supply is limited primarily by the P flow tolerated by freshwater ecosystems, followed by the required reduction in the conversion of N to reactive form in fertilizer manufacture, legume cultivation and fossil fuel combustion. Dietary changes, waste prevention and nutrient recycling are indicated as elements of the necessary transformation.
Lassi Linnanen, D.Sc. (Econ.), is Professor of Environmental Economics and Management at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Finland. He is also Head of Department of Environmental Technology, former Director of Environmental Technology Degree Programs at LUT, and Member of Management Team of LUT Energy, the largest university-level energy research institute in Finland. His fields of expertise include: sustainability of energy and food systems, transition management, sustainable innovations, corporate responsibility strategies, life-cycle assessment, as well as environmental and energy policy. He has published over 80 scientific publications. Professor Linnanen has been an invited lecturer at several universities globally, including Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), University of Twente (the Netherlands), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (India), University of Malaya (Malaysia), and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Before joining academia, Linnanen was the CEO and co-founder of Gaia Group Ltd, a leading Finnish energy and environmental consultancy.