C U R A T O R I A L   S T A T E M E N T

Relations between humans and plants are at the root of human civilisation. The (first) agriculture revolution, during the Neolithic period, brought a wide-scale transition of many human cultures allowing for settlements and global population growth. Experimenting with plants and observing their behaviour led to the domestication of plants into crops which in turn sparked wider environmental and societal transformations. An unprecedented impact of humans on the global ecosystem and our current Anthropocene state was the result.

How could further unforeseen results of scientific developments determine the future of plants and humans?

Today we find ourselves in a deep crisis which calls for prompt and effective solutions. Our global, societal and environmental systems are under threat. Climate change, the degradation of natural resources (of air and soil quality) and a growing human population to feed means we are in a state of emergency. It is difficult to compete with grim dystopian visions but, unlike during the first agricultural revolution, we no longer live in isolated, micro societies. Today’s global, macro-society allows for cross-boarder, cross-disciplinary exchange and thus the existence of multinational interdisciplinary science and technology research projects like CHIC consortium to manage, or to define, our future. New biotechnologies are applied to plant breeding in the hope of increasing food production and quality, reducing food waste and maintaining better nutritional values, thus addressing one of the most worrying challenges of our era – food insecurity. 

We are witnessing the dawn of another grand breakthrough in our entangled history – a new revolution powered by rapid advances in science and technology, transforming Earth into a Bio-Tech Planet. The consequences of wide scale, complex interactions of this new dynamic network are hard to predict. One thing remains certain – there will be a radical shift in values, assets and norms and the core way that humans think. A global approach is progressively important considering the constant new challenges and, equally, great opportunities we face.

What will the future of plants and humans be?

How will environmental changes, artificial Intelligence and biotechnology influence evolutionary processes? How sustainable will this new world be for future generations? With the support of the CHIC project the event Our Bio-Tech Planet: The Future of Plants and Humans will engage scientists, humanists, artists, policy makers and the public in discussions around these complex questions. We will try every day, step by step, to address at least one of the multiplex issues shaping the unknown of our FUTURE:

the role of humans & technology in plant evolution
the role of plant diversity, networking & ingenuity in human evolution
the role of plants and humans in food production for the well-being of the world
the cryptic, secret relationship between plants and humans
the reproduction, evolution & transformation of plants and humans
the extinction of plants and humans
the strength of plants for food quality and human health
and more

Discussion around these subjects will no doubt lead to the all important follow-up question:

How can we continue to reap future and new benefits from plants to help us define and drive our future
instead of giving in to: what we will be we will have to be; what we will become we will have to become?


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