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Will Industrial Agriculture Go the Way of Fossil Fuels?

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Touch the Soil News #445

A couple of years ago the fossil-fuel divestment movement got started. Essentially, the idea is that investment funds rid themselves of any investment connected to fossil fuels. Two years ago, some $50 billion worth of investment funds committed to exit fossil-fuel investments. Today, the number of dollars committed to not touch fossil fuels is pushing $3.4 trillion – a seventy fold increase (http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/).

Much of the divestment movement gets energy from the larger “climate change” momentum. Earlier this year, the world celebrated having 1 million plug-in cars of various types on the world’s roads. Globally, for the first five months of 2016, Inside EVs reports sales of 240,000 plug-in cars. It won’t take long to reach the 2 million mark.

We are all familiar with the complaints against industrial food chain – heavy chemical use, genetically modified crops, unhealthy processed foods and labor exploitation. But all of these things may pale in comparison to the big one coming up on the horizon – biodiversity loss.

The largest cause of biodiversity loss is the loss of natural habitat due to: 1) Removal of habitat for farming and pastures for livestock. 2) Urbanization of farmland. 3) Attacks on rainforests to create more farmland and pasture. If humanity can beat fossil fuels, it can beat bio-diversity loss.

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Humanity can squabble for years about GMOs and toxic chemicals. However, humanity cannot survive biodiversity loss – of which industrial agriculture is one of the largest contributors. Two recent studies by the European Commission and the United Nations said biodiversity loss poses and imminent threat to human survival in that species diversity maintains the planet’s ecological systems.

Here are some of the findings in the reports by the EU Commission and the U.N.:

  1. The world’s three major grain crops – wheat, rice and corn – have alone caused a 40 percent biodiversity loss across the globe. These crops occupy about 40 percent of the world’s cropland.
  2. When industrial nations urbanize farmland, slashing and burning of rainforests ensues to add new farmland and then export that food back to industrial nations. Tropical farming of palm oil, sugarcane and coffee are all associated with higher rates of species loss.
  3. Overall, biodiversity losses are falling below “safe” levels.

 

One of the most controversial concepts that addresses biodiversity loss is the one-third / two-thirds concept. One third of the planet is used for human activities while two thirds of the planet is left idle for the future and biodiversity security.

Following is a short video on biodiversity:

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