Eco-Living Magazine

FFF: Agriculture and the Environment

Posted on the 14 October 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

FFF: Agriculture and the EnvironmentThe world has been able to feed increasing masses of humanity thanks to giant leaps in technology and mechanization that have increased yields and reduced the work needed to grow crops. It’s a marvel of modern engineering and human ingenuity. But, can it keep up with the still increasing population boom? What will agriculture look like when we need to feed 9 billion people? Can we do that without harming the very environment that makes our abundance possible? Has one of the most natural acts – living off the land – become too “unnatural”? The following facts culled from an NPR article  provided this week’s Five Friday Facts.  Please see the article if you’re interested further exploring this topic.

  • Cropland and pasture now cover 40 percent of our planet’s land surface
  • Farming consumes nearly three-quarters of all the water that humans use for any purpose
  • Farming accounts for a third of all the emissions of greenhouse gases that humans release into the environment. (Those greenhouse emission come from clearing forests or grassland for crops, the emissions of methane from rice paddies, and the conversion of nitrogen fertilizer into nitrous oxide — a powerful greenhouse gas.)
  • About 40 percent of the planet’s crops, according to this study, currently are fed to animals.
  • Demand for food is expected to double over the next forty years.

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