When you want to change the world, you need to position yourself in the highest vantage point possible to make the biggest impact. Sometimes getting to that vantage point requires pursuing a degree – not just for the credentials, but for the experience and knowledge.
For those whose goal is to end worldwide hunger and malnutrition, getting a degree in sustainable development will prove to be a valuable asset.
What is sustainable development?
Before getting into how sustainable development can help feed the world, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of sustainable development.
In general, sustainable development is creating systems that don’t deplete its resources for future generations. For example, sustainable farming provides resources for the current generation without negatively impacting the earth in a way that prevents future generations from growing food.
Another way of looking at sustainable development is utilizing resources while maintaining the balance of the source of those resources. It’s not just about conserving resources, but making sure the source of the resources isn’t damaged or rendered useless.
The best way to learn how farmers create sustainable food systems is to take a course on sustainable farming. These types of courses will supplement your degree in sustainable development by helping you focus on food.
How does sustainable development relate to food?
Sustainable agriculture is an eco-friendly food system that preserves the natural ecosystem of the land used to grow food. This preservation allows future generations to continue planting and harvesting indefinitely.
Sustainable agriculture isn’t limited to growing produce, however. Other food systems are of equal importance, including the dairy and meat industries. Where animals are concerned, it’s hard for factory farms to be sustainable. However, local meat and dairy farms can be largely sustainable when the food is consumed locally.
Local food systems that support local residents also have the least impact on the environment in terms of emissions, processing, and transportation costs.
A degree will help you build sustainable agricultural systems
If you want to feed the world, you have to do more than find a way to give people the food they need. Even creating a steady supply of food isn’t enough. You have to develop a sustainable way for people to grow and process their own food year after year. This requires knowing enough about sustainable development to engineer a customized system that works in specific environments and climates.
This is the biggest reason getting a degree in sustainable development will help feed the world. Knowing how to build custom sustainable agricultural systems that work in a variety of locations requires special training and knowledge. This is best achieved through getting a degree.
Sustainability also applies to a farmer’s business
Part of sustainable food systems involves keeping farms in business. If a farm isn’t profitable enough to keep a farmer in business, it’s not sustainable.
Many industries are intertwined
Another reason a degree in sustainable development will help you on your quest to feed the world is that you need a well-rounded view of the entire subject.
In fact, achieving total global sustainability is so heavily connected with other areas of sustainability that the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “as a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.”
According to the UNDP, there are currently 17 SDGs and each one integrates with the others in a harmonious way to maintain sustainability throughout social, economic, and environmental sectors. The goals are:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
Development in every industry affects other industries – there’s no getting around the interconnected nature of all development.
With a degree in sustainable development, you’ll learn how to spot interdependencies that affect the food supply. From there, you’ll have the tools to deal with problems as they arise and you’ll be equipped to create solutions from the 5,000-foot view as opposed to the shortsighted ground view.
Global sustainability requires sustainable food systems
At the end of the day, creating a sustainable future for the world requires sustainable food systems. If you’re passionate about feeding the world and setting communities up with local, sustainable food systems, you need as much knowledge as you can get. A degree in sustainable development will give you the credibility to get funded and the knowledge to make a difference.