Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Can We Feed the World and Save the Environment?

With human population rapidly growing around the world, we have to ask ourselves one question, can the agricultural industry keep up?

A possible solution to this issue, employed mostly by developed countries, is industrial agriculture. The overall goal being to increase the amount of crops produced, whil
e keeping production costs to a minimum. While this may sound as a foolproof solution to the dilemma we face, there are many things that must be considered.

The goal of industrial agriculture is achieved through heavy usage of pesticides, fuel, fertilizers, and many harmful substances to the environment. By employing the use of industrial agriculture we are basically damaging the earth.
Something else to consider is monoculture. A key feature of industrial agriculture is planting only a single crop. This invites pests to the area, and therefore the farm is in dire need of a large amount of pesticides.

In such conditions, there is very low genetic diversity as a result of planting genetically similar crops together and therefore decreasing biodiversity. Low genetic diversity gives rise to problems, the "Southern Corn Leaf Blight" being a key example. In the 1970s a disease had destroyed a large amount of the U.S. corn crop, as all the crops had a similar genetic makeup, allowing all of them to be vulnerable. In situations like this, something to consider is, with crops becoming increasingly genetically similar, they are more easily to become endangered and extinct.

Finally, it has been reported that the living conditions of animals in industrial farming is extremely cruel and animals are subjected to a life of pain and suffering. Anima
ls in such farms have been manipulated and altered so significantly for higher production, that it is extremely unethical. It has also been reported that while the animals are alive they are confined to very small cages and spaces and subjected to cruel mutilations.

After hearing about all the negatives of industrial farming, there is still hope. Sustainable agriculture is a way of growing food so that the environme
nt is protected, and animals are given respect. The work of sustainable agriculture is the complete opposite of the work of industrial agriculture, and is an all around benefit.

Contrary to popular belief, sustainable agriculture can sustain the population. In fact an expert from the UN, Shivaji Pandey,
says that sustainable agriculture is the only way that we can meet the need for the growing demand of food. Pandey says, that since other types of farming lead to the destruction of the environment, leading to less productivity rates, and sustainable agriculture reverses the destruction, sustainable agriculture is our only choice.

Recent studies from the University of Michigan suggest that the yield of crops produced by sustainable agriculture would be equal to the amount of crops produced by industrial agriculture in developed countries, while the yield would be much greater in developing countries.
In order to feed the world and save it too, the simple solution is to switch to sustainable agriculture.

Megan D'Souza

Sarah Brown




Hello Robert,
I definately agree with you with your idea that industrial agriculture does have many negatives and I do believe also that sustainable agriculture can actually preserve our earth and people as well if everyone works together. If people do start to realize the differences between industrial and sustainable agriculture and start caring about the earth and their own personal health I do believe that sustainable agriculture can be prosperous. I enjoyed reading your blog, great job!

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