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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 11, @04:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the Betteridge-says-"No" dept.

Can We Feed Billions of Ourselves Without Wrecking the Planet?

We are now producing more food more efficiently than ever, and there is plenty to go around for a human population of 7 billion. But it is coming at a drastic cost in environmental degradation, and the bounty is not reaching many people.

Sustainable Food Production, a new Earth Institute primer from Columbia University Press, explores how modern agriculture can be made more environmentally benign, and economically just. With population going to maybe 10 billion within 30 years, the time to start is now, the authors say.

The lead author is ecologist Shahid Naeem, director of the Earth Institute for Environmental Sustainability. He coauthored the book with former Columbia colleagues Suzanne Lipton and Tiff van Huysen.

This is an interesting interview with the author. Do you agree (or disagree) with his conclusions?

Columbia Climate School

[Also Covered By]: Phys.org


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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday January 26, @04:04PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 26, @04:04PM (#1215851) Journal

    The original poster did not say nitrogen

    Hence, my correction. You're welcome.

    We can go back to pickaxes and pit ponies.

    Or electricity from non-fossil fuel sources. I bet that would go further. Funny how you missed that one. Looks to me like you're too busy moving the goal posts to rationally think about this.

    Yeah, we already covered your problems there, whistling past the graveyard of why farmers aren't saving bank on urea because of all the problems with green manure.

    And we already covered how you acknowledged I was right in a backhanded way. I consider this finished.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, @02:57AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, @02:57AM (#1217118)

    "Hence, my correction. You're welcome."

    If only it were a correction. Instead, many other nutrients, untouched by green manure as a strategy, are of major concern. This is why your focus on nitrogen is so misleading; the green manure strategy does precious little for the larger problem, and depending on factors such as soil acidity can make it actually worse.

    If that's your idea of help, please go help the Taliban. I understand they need all the help that they can get.

    "Or electricity from non-fossil fuel sources. I bet that would go further. Funny how you missed that one. Looks to me like you're too busy moving the goal posts to rationally think about this."

    Thus ignoring this part: "...even if we mine it with cuddly bunnies and happy thoughts we're still exhausting mines rather than using a sustainable cycle. This seems to fall under what the original author would have called "wrecking the planet", because it becomes less welcoming as a place to feed ourselves."

    Funny how you mention moving goalposts in this context. I like 'em just where they are, so would you care to address the point at issue: the exhaustion of mineral resources and the damage involved in doing so?

    "And we already covered how you acknowledged I was right in a backhanded way. I consider this finished."

    ... self-delusion aside, apparently the answer would be not. I mean, please, do feel free to farm all with green manure all the time and show us how to do it. Go on. Be famous.

    But please do it for the Taliban, because we don't deserve your kind of help.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday February 02, @02:05AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 02, @02:05AM (#1217883) Journal

      This is why your focus on nitrogen is so misleading; the green manure strategy does precious little for the larger problem

      Same goes for fossil fuels. You're not going anywhere with this.

      "...even if we mine it with cuddly bunnies and happy thoughts we're still exhausting mines rather than using a sustainable cycle.

      Or open up new mines. Not seeing the point of your concern about sustainability since such exhaustion is a lot slower than the problems of population growth.