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International Conference on
Managing Critical Resources: Food, Energy and Water

Organized by
Centre for Development and Environment Policy (CDEP)
Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata, India
Conference Date: April 9-11, 2015
Conference Venue: IIM Calcutta

Abstract by November 17, 2014 - Full Paper Due by February 28, 2015

Concept Note

Over the past two hundred years economic growth and development have changed the way we live in breathtaking ways. The changes have been dramatic, rapid and pervasive enough to be described by many as a revolution. There have been fundamental transformations in the way we produce, how we enjoy our leisure, and the basket of goods and services we consume. Our incomes have expanded substantially, the population of human beings has grown exponentially, and the energy intensity of our daily lives has risen with a furious speed. In terms of material living the modern times can be described as the ‘best of times’ in the history of human kind, even if we factor-in great degrees of inequality in income and wealth and the fact of large scale poverty.

However, some major issues of concern have cropped up. With every passing year and every new study conducted, there seems to be growing apprehension about the future of planet earth and the living beings (including humans) that inhabit this space. Would there be enough food to feed everybody, even at some biologically defined subsistence? Would there be enough land to meet the needs of agriculture and the relentless spread of urban spaces, without having to cut down all natural forests or fill up all lakes, and damage all ecosystems? Would the rate of innovations be fast enough to resolve all such problems before they spin out of control? How long would it take? Not only has food and its availability been an emerging concern for the future (over and above the current problems of poverty, hunger and undernourishment), there have been concerns raised about water and its availability in the future to meet the demands from agriculture, households and industry. If water became scarce, agriculture and the production of food would be affected too. How do we address these adverse states of affairs? Would science suffice? Would society have to change the ways we use water? One long term consequence of fossil fuel uses and the carbon emissions they create is the problem of climate change and global warming. If we do not change the energy portfolio we are accustomed to using and transit to a low carbon economy, the adverse consequences of global warming on food and water availability would be further aggravated. How do we ensure lower emissions of green house gases?

Resolving future problems are not easy. It becomes more difficult if the problems are inter-related in many complex ways such as the problems of food, energy and water. Science would have to play a crucial role in coming up with solutions as would policy-makers and regulators who design interventions. Businesses would have to re-craft their strategies in adopting their technologies, the designs of their organizations, and the mix of products they make. Above all, as individuals we would have to be conscious about our activities, and be sensitive to how they might affect our use of Nature’s resources in our lives.

Both theoretical and empirical studies that address the above concerns and issues are welcome. Case studies on international and local solutions for food energy and water conservation are of specific interest. Other themes could include approaches to conserve critical resources, role of corporate bodies in conserving resources, role of ICT in resource management, managing disputes over critical resources, policy solutions for managing food, energy and water and sustainable development. In line with the journal’s editorial policy, we are open to diverse disciplinary and methodological approaches.