Touch the Soil News #583
This is a disconcerting thought at best. But are there any indicators that the scope of agriculture is overwhelming the eco-systems that sustain the world? In order to keep up with global demand for just cooking oil, tens of thousands of acres of a shrinking area of forests are being further deforested for palm oil every year. Repurposing land into farmland is the driving cause of global deforestation – a primary source of oxygen and biodiversity.
Last week in Cancun, Mexico, representatives of 167 nations (195 total nations in the world) met to discuss, among other things, agriculture’s consumption (destroying) of global biodiversity. In short, the international community has now made a direct link between the resources consumed by agriculture and the rapid global decline of plant and animal species. They hope this new consciousness will inspire better stewardship of land and biodiversity.
Satellite photo of deforestation in Bolivia – mostly to agricultural enterprises. Estimates are that worldwide, 10 percent of wilderness areas were lost between 1990 and 2015 (photo courtesy of NASA).
What is interesting about the collision of the human footprint with the natural world that sustains humans is how many major nations are experiencing smaller families. Included in the list of nations experiencing flat or declining populations are the large nations of Germany, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa and Poland. Together, some 600 million people living in 28 different countries are – to some degree – shrinking their global consumptive footprint.
Regardless of where agriculture goes, it is not uncommon for folks to be uneasy about how the world will feed everyone at the dinner table in 30 years from now.