Scarce, but real, resources
Patterns of living have changed little over the centuries in many villages of the developing world. Material possessions are few; luxuries come in the form of a regular rainfall, a fertile womb, a disease-free harvest. Life is intimately bound to the land and the changing seasons. Peoples’ needs in many of these regions are still in balance with their natural resources. But the resources are scarce, the balance fragile, the changes coming fast.
New ideas beget new possibilities
Information, ideas and technologies generated by research provide the skeleton on which human development everywhere and at all times depends. New ideas, embedded in technological change, drive human growth, allowing us to escape the grim statistics that haunt peoples of the developed world and the hardships that face peoples of the developing world. New ideas beget new products, new markets, and infinite new possibilities for sustainable development. Especially in places with severely limited natural resources.
Refineries of the future
Refineries of the future will be small, mobile and chemical, able to search out their own inputs, to self-heal and to replicate without human intervention. The dairy cow, produced through millions of years of evolution, is such a refinery. Millions of recipes also exist for combining elements—atoms and genes—in ways we have not yet discovered. We underestimate the dairy cow prototype—the power and number of ideas yet to be discovered.
New knowledge, which begets new technologies and policies, is generated through research. Development and diffusion of new ideas creates growth. Solving problems that have been with us for millennia requires support for the whole of the innovation process—encompassing basic research, technology development and community action. This is the only kind of development the world has sustained over the long term.
A Happy and Productive
World Environment Day
from all of us at the
International Livestock Research Institute
with thanks to Japanese artist Miroco Machiko for her endless verve and inspiration