Friday, May 1, 2009

We've read a while ago that even many environmentalists think of the corn-belt style agriculture as a necessary evil, to be tolerated so that the environment elsewhere can be protected. I've personally heard this argument from a very well educated and knowledgeable friend. This just goes to show that Big Food propaganda machine has been very successful.

Propoganda - Sustainable agriculture is "low-yield":

A typical claim of the industrial apologists is that the industrial style of agriculture has prevented some 15 million square miles of wildlands from being plowed under for "low-yield" food production. ... They also claim that if the world does not fully embrace industrial agriculture, hundreds of thousands of wildlife species will be lost to low yield crops and ranging livestock.
There is overwhelming evidence of higher productivity and efficiency of small, biodiverse, low mechanization, petro-chemical free agriculture (see also here and here). Can anybody really believe that industrial agriculture and factory meat-farming, which are net destroyers of energy, water, and soil can benefit the environment in any way?
...sustainable or alternative agriculture minimizes the environmental impacts of farming on plants and animals, as well as the air, water, and soil, often without added economic costs. ... Organic and diversified farming practices increase the prevalence of birds and mammals on farmlands and ensure biological diversity for the planet.
Poisoning the environment:
Pesticide use - endemic to industrial agriculture - has been clearly identified as a principal driving force behind the drastic reduction in biodiversity on America's farmlands. .... there are no fewer than 50 scientific studies that have documented the adverse environmental effects of pseticide use on bird, mammal, and amphibian populations across USA and Canada.
Chemical fertilizers - which are also a key component of industrial agriculture - pose an even greater risk to soil and water quality... Aquatic and marine life are especially vulnerable to the tons of residues from chemically treated croplands that find their way into our major estuaries each year.
Wildlife habitats:
... the huge, monocultured fields characteristic of industrial agriculture have dramatically reduced the wildlife populations by transforming habitats, displacing populations of native species, and introducing non-native species. ... Diversified farming techniques, on the other hand, incorporate numerous varieties of plants, flowers, and weeds, and encourage the proliferation of various wildlife, insect, and plant species.

No myth can hide the fact that decades of industrial agriculture have been a disaster for the environment. Its chemical poisoning has caused eco-cide among countless species. ... the tilling, mowing, and harvesting operations of industrial agriculture have affected, and continue to catastrophically destroy wildlife, soil, and water quality.
- pg 60-61, Fatal Harvest.



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