Saturday, January 8, 2011

Feeding a Growing Population vs Conserving Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variability of all living organisms. It makes up the structure of the ecosystems and habitats that support essential living resources. It helps provide for basic human needs such as food, shelter, and medicine. As we recall the meaning of biodiversity, we would not want our world that we live in to endure. This can happen by relying only on a few highly productive livestock breeds and crop varieties, which therefore allows less productive breeds to become extinct and allows the genetic diversity to decrease. This leads us to the various differences between industrial and sustainable farming. The picture below clearly shows many differences between these two types of agriculture.
 By looking at the picture above, it is clearly shown that industrial agriculture is not good and it is taking over to provide people with cheap and large amounts of food, but at the same time putting the health and well being of those species at risk. If the agriculture industry keeps up with the rapid growth of the global human population, more industrial farming would be used instead of sustainable farming and it can not only cause species to become extinct but there are also environmental health concerns such as, monocultures are wearing away biodiversity among both plants and animals. Industrial agriculture depends on expensive inputs from off the farm (e.g., pesticides and fertilizer), many of which generate wastes that harm the environment. The picture below shows industrial agriculture and how it is completely dependent on oil-based products from fuel to pesticides and fertilizers.

Sustainable farming on the other hand, produces foods without excessive use of pesticides and other hazardous chemical inputs. It is healthier than industrial farming as organic crops contain significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Organic foods contain higher levels of antioxidants, which help fight certain types of cancer as well. In sustainable farming there aren’t any animal waste issues as they do not raise more animals than the land is capable of sustaining. Because of this farmers are able to use manure as fertilizer for their crops. No chemical fertilizers are needed as it avoids pollution problems. Sustainable farmers recognize the importance of protecting the natural environment. They manage their farms in a responsible manner, maintaining the fertility of the land and preserving resources for future generations. Natural farming is the nature-healing way of growing food as said in the picture below.  

In my opinion, I personally don’t think it’s worth getting rid of some species just to get cheaper and more of one specific type of food.  By researching about industrial farming and comparing it with sustainable farming, it shocks me to see that industrial agriculture actually takes place where we live. It causes continuous production of animals which reduces genetic diversity. This leads to animals becoming extinct and biodiversity reducing. It has caused many problems which made animals extinct and has caused harmful diseases to human beings. So you decide, industrial or sustainable farming?



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