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Solution to Food Insecurity? Put Diplomacy on the Menu

The evening's attentive crowd represents a cross-section, a true town/gown blend of community and campus.
The evening’s attentive crowd represents a cross-section, a true town/gown blend of community and campus.
Sojka takes a wireless walk about the stage, captivating attendees with his personal and personable style.
Sojka takes a wireless walk about the stage, captivating attendees with his personal and personable style.
Discussing the availability of food ... and the obstacles to its equitable distribution
Discussing the availability of food … and the obstacles to its equitable distribution
D. Robert Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science (and a 2014 Colloquia Series presenter), counsels audience members about their imminent exposure to new ideas: "Broaden your horizons, be curious and always look beyond your boundaries."
D. Robert Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science (and a 2014 Colloquia Series presenter), counsels audience members about their imminent exposure to new ideas: “Broaden your horizons, be curious and always look beyond your boundaries.”
The speaker visits Cooley's Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course in the ACC earlier in the day, conversing with students and gaining a better understanding of the college. (Sojka also spent an hour with Craig A. Miller's World Civilization class down the hall.)
The speaker visits Cooley’s Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course in the ACC earlier in the day, conversing with students and gaining a better understanding of the college. (Sojka also spent an hour with Craig A. Miller’s World Civilization class down the hall.)

Tuesday’s inaugural speaker in Penn College’s 2016-17 Technology & Society Colloquia Series posed a vital question during his engaging hourlong talk – “Can We Nourish 9.7 Billion People in 2050?” – and, honoring the format’s conversational tradition, he floated a number of solutions for audience consideration. The stepping-off point for Gary A. Sojka’s lecture is that the planet’s population will rise by more than 2 “billion with a ‘b'” in three decades or so. While the growth will not be uniform across the globe, and while the former Bucknell University president believes the world has plenty of food for everyone, the Earth’s carrying capacity (the maximum sustainable population, provided that water and other resources remain constant) could be compromised. Sojka cited a number of potential answers, ranging from waste reduction and urban agriculture to eating more seasonably and introducing insects and other heretofore-untried items to the dinner table.  But he said the main limitation is not technological or biological, but the need for improved statecraft and cooperation among governments; a “moral obligation to do better.” Physics professor David S. Richards will deliver the next address in the series: “Manipulating Time Using Science, Technology, and Literature,” set for 7 p.m. Nov. 1.

The complete presentation by Sojka, active in various professional associations relating to sustainable agriculture and livestock conservancy, has been added to the Penn College YouTube channel:

First four photos by Tia G. La, student photographer