Agriculture: Superhero or Villain?

Agriculture.

It’s become quite the buzzword in today’s society. Since the induction of agricultural developments the earth’s population has skyrocketed, as you can see here. And since that time it has allowed us to live longer, live healthier, feed our families, build gigantic cities, wage wars, and much, much more.

So agriculture was the cure to all of our nomadic, hunter-gatherer problems, right?

Unfortunately… wrong.

Our view of agriculture is shifting dramatically. Whereas just 10 years ago the purpose of agriculture was to produce the most yield in the least amount of land, at all costs, we are now paying for that environmental negligence. That isn’t working out so well for us anymore. Our agricultural practices have proved to be everything but sustainable. So now, according to this NPR article, the big question is “Can we feed the world without destroying the environment?”

Undoubtedly, we can feed the world. With all the GMOs and factory-farms out there, it’s possible. But at what cost? CAFOs produce toxins, and most farms run on fossil fuels these days rather than sunlight (a concept you can further explore in  Michael Pollan’s article Farmer in Chief). We are destroying the earth by moving agriculture further and further away from its intended methods and into more and more industrial institutions.

Well, what are we going to do about it? We can increase the cost of cutting down forests, we can pass laws that more highly regulate factory farming, we can buy local, and start researching and understanding the effects of our current agricultural practices. We need researchers publishing about GMOs and the use of fertilizers and pesticides. So here begins the search for a way to feed the world without destroying it.

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