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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Apr-18 > Planting an idea

Planting an idea

I’ve quit meat and dairy. The state should nudge us all to go vegan


“Our current food system, and its future trajectory, is simply not sustainable, and we need to fundamentally change the way we produce food if we are to feed 9-10bn people in 2050 without wrecking the planet irreversibly.”

Those words were written by Pete Smith, Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, but they could have been written by any of the hundreds of people who have been researching the sustainability of our food habits during the last 20 years. Among environmentalists, food scientists, economists and others, a consensus has emerged: we have to change our diet— and change it in one respect in particular. There is simply not enough land or water on Earth to satisfy present, still less future, demands for meat, eggs and dairy products.

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In Prospect's April issue: Four writers explain how our relationship with death has changed in as technological and medical advances have been made in recent years. Joanna Bourke explores how modern life is now able to live on through social media sites, Cathy Rentzenbrink explains how (referring to the case of her own brother) a “twilight zone,” in which someone is neither alive nor dead, has been created through medical advances. Michael Marmot argues that we are experiencing a change in regards to our life expectancy—over the course of a series of decades we have seen life expectancy increase, but what do recent decreases actually mean. Meanwhile, Philip Ball writes about his participation in an experiment to create a second brain from his own flesh. Elsewhere in the issues: Jane Kinninmont questions whether the Saudi Crown Price, Mohammed bin Salman, really knows what he’s doing, Daniel Howden charts how European attitudes to migrants might be changing and Jay Elwes asks: Does a Cornish mine hold the answer to questions about the UK’s green future?