publication

Crossing the divide: the potential for consensus between four worldviews of agriculture’s future

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Date:

5 December, 2023

Summary

Agriculture is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and land use change worldwide. Reaching net zero and restoring nature will require significant change in food production and consumption. But, while individuals and organisations broadly agree on the need for change, disagreement about how to achieve this goal is preventing change at the speed necessary. 

In this report, we describe four worldviews: traditionalists, ‘technovegans’, agroecologists and sustainable intensifiers, which we represent as ideal types, with different perspectives on what the future of the food system should look like. There is a tendency for each vision to be seen as incompatible with the others, and for proponents to push for their approach to succeed at the expense of others. But this is blocking progress. Finding alignment between them is urgently needed to break the deadlock.  

We explore potential alliances based on areas of common ground, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of each. We suggest that an alliance between proponents of alternative proteins (the ‘technovegans’) and agroecologists could be the best path forward for European countries, as it leads to positive environmental outcomes while supporting rural livelihoods. 

An evidence pack with quotes which illustrate the positions typical of proponents of each worldview is available below. 

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