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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

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Meat the Future

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Solving the protein crisis

Humanity has an insatiable hunger for meat. We’re emptying the oceans, turning the rainforest into ranches, and raising animals factory-style to satisfy our appetites. Is there a humane, eco-friendly way to get our protein fix?

Along with insect farming and vegetarian substitutes, in vitro meat is a promising solution to the protein crisis. Though still expensive and difficult to produce, lab-grown muscle tissue might one day be a cheap, low-impact way of producing enough meat to feed the world.

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Watch the intro video for the 'Meat The Future' cookbook, which presents both delicious as well as uncanny lab grown meat recipes to catalyze a conversation on the meat of the future.

Meat, the Expectations

As the planet’s population speeds towards 9 billion, it’s becomes impossible to continue consuming meat like we do today. Will we all be eating rice and beans? Grasshoppers perhaps? Scientists hope to keep us eating vertebrate protein with in vitro meat. Grown in bioreactors from animal cells, in vitro meat could be a sustainable and humane alternative to raising a whole animal from birth to slaughter. The first lab-grown hamburger is already here. But before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat meat from the lab, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.

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Before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat meat from the lab, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.

The MEAT THE FUTURE cookbook

Want Ketchup with those Flies?

Industrial-scale in vitro meat may be a long way off, but for meat-lovers looking for a cheap, eco-friendly source of protein, there’s no need to wait. We just have to swear off creatures with four legs and a backbone and look to tasty livestock with an exoskeleton and six, eight, or a hundred legs.

Bugs Originals, based near Amsterdam, is trying to introduce arthropods as the food of the future. Originally associated with primitive lifestyles or times of famine, entomophagy- the eating of insects- may be an ideal solution for growing world with an appetite for protein.  Crickets are five times as efficient as cattle when it comes to turning feed into edible mass, while mealworms produce 10 to 100 times less greenhouse gases as pigs.

Bugs Originals has already produced nuggets, muesli and meatballs infused with mealworms.  The company’s only barrier to mainstream entry is figuring out how to produce purified bug protein, since the bug’s innards are proving difficult to separate from their inedible exoskeletons.  They have had some success grinding up the live insects and centrifuging the resulting mixture.

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Want Ketchup with those Flies?
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Animal-free Meat could put a hold on Global Warming

Growing meat in the lab, rather than slaughtering animals, could become a viable alternative for people who want to cut the environmental impact of their food consumption, but cannot bear a vegetarian lifestyle.

According to scientists from Oxford University and Amsterdam University, lab-grown meat could help feed the world, while reducing the impact on the environment. It would generate only a tiny fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional livestock production.

The procedure of growing meat without an animal would …

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Your Future Dish: Potatoes, Vegetables and Magic Meatballs? Your Future Dish: Potatoes, Vegetables and Magic Meatballs?

Four Objections to Lab-Grown Meat

In vitro meat has been billed as a way to end animal suffering, put a stop to global warming, and solve the world’s insatiable demand for animal protein. There’s no doubt that our hunger for meat is driving cataclysmic climate change, habitat loss, and overfishing. Things need to change, and change fast. But is meat cultured from animal cells, grown in a lab, and exercised with electric pulses the change we need?

Earlier this year, Mark Post of Maastrict University announced his plan to produce a €250,000 burger. While the cost is astronomical, Post promised that economies of scale would eventually make the lab meat cost-competitive with conventional flesh. However, like jetpacks, underwater cities and orbiting colonies, many scientific breakthroughs that once seemed inevitable have proven to be possible, but economically unfeasible.

We can do it. We just can’t afford it. Below are the top four reasons to believe that in vitro meat isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

1. We already have plenty of bland, cheap protein

Animals are equipped with blood, tendons, fat, muscle and connective tissue that give their flesh its uniquely tantalizing flavor, not to mention an immune system that keeps them from getting overrun with bacteria, mold and viruses. In vitro meat is never going to compete with a juicy wagyu steak or a fatty chunk of bluefin tuna. Instead, it’s being positioned as an alternative to the low-grade pork and flavorless poultry that comes from factory farms.

Here’s the kicker: If all we’re looking for is a cheap way to produce inoffensive, eco-friendly protein, we’ve already succeeded. From wheat to soy to peas to amaranth, not to mention “bug-ranching” gastropods, worms and insects, we …

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The Tissue Engineered Meat of Tomorrow

The meat in the supermarket is abstract, square and habitually made from wickedly manifactured animals. A friend once told me he only eats meat if he “can not recognize the animal in it”. I felt this was a disturbing remark, but this ‘consumers preference’ may also bring opportunities: disengage the animal from the meat.

According to researchers, Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale. Winston Churchil, a carnivore to the core, already in 1936 predicted that “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Today, growing meat in the lab still seems the stuff of science fiction, but reality is not far behind.

The picture above shows the …

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mri meat dish
Want to Eat Less Meat? Get Vegetarian Teeth

Want to Eat Less Meat? Get Vegetarian Teeth

Want to live a greener life? Eat less meat. Recently the UN appealed for a radical shift in diet, to improve individual health and ease conditions affecting the global environment. Reducing meat consumption by 10% reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, humans are omnivores. Our teeth are designed to eat both meat and plants. Susana Soares and her colleagues designers and engineers of the Material Beliefs program propose to alter human teeth structures into those of herbivores, in order to become a better vegetarian.

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