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(Green Ajah) Nature Week 2016: Earth - Ecological Footprint Calculator


WildTaltos
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Maybe I was wrong about that. Soil erosion seems to happen in nordic nations as well, but then it's water erosion. Well, I don't think it's a big problem, anyway. I think they try to take care so it doesn't happen.

 

They could grow catch crops, perhaps, otherwise they would have to have no food crops on such land that is vulnerable. 

Edited by Nightstrike
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it kind if depends on who they are. a lot of agriculture in the us, the stuff that feeds the supermarkets and most of us, is grown in huge swaths of monoculture fields. whether they use cover crops or catches, monoculture is susceptible to all kinds of blights and diseases that are pretty much inevitable in the long run. even barring crop destruction which would lead to famine, these crops are dependent on fossil fuel

burning equipment and vehicles to get to our tables, and with or without an organic produce label, they're grown on chemically managed land. which may bite us in the end.

 

thanks for running an interesting discussion, Taltos.

Edited by Mrs. Cindy Gill
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Catch crops and monocultures are not the same thing, a catch crop is a second crop grown on same land. All crops are dependant on fossil fuel, if they're grown commercially. I mean, even if they use cow dung or similar, they still use fossil fuels, and there's never enough dung or guano or whatever to fertilize every field all over the world.

 

If they didn't use the chemicals, then we wouldn't feed 7 billion people. I don't think that most farmers are incompetent or generally bad people. They would switch to something better if there was a good alternative. If they haven't and won't, then I think it's safe to assume there isn't one.

 

I think wheat and similar (the usual grains) are not generally grown together with a catch crop today. Rice is grown together with other rice varieties sometimes, so it's not a monoculture (I don't know if that's the usual case, but it happens), but it's not a catch crop either.

Edited by Nightstrike
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I meant "it" as in catch crops (one annual and one biannual or similar) or polyannuals.

 

I don't know how it is in other parts of the world, but 1) and 2) of what you mentioned is not a phenomenon here. Farmers here have mostly been farmers for generations, they are well educated for the most part, and they want to pass the land on. They'd be dumb to do anything to damage the land they live off of, and soil erosion and degradation in general is probably less of a problem here than in dryer areas.

 

As soon as they have a solution that works well, then any current paradigm should naturally be abandoned for the new way of doing things. There is some research going on here on catch crops (plant breeding). It's not on the market, but maybe it will be.

1.) is a problem in all of Europe since much of the native habitat were cut down or altered (for example, the primeval forests or the peat bogs currently here), the bulk of which was during the Industrial Revolution but which occurred more slowly throughout the Middle Ages.  It is not as extreme as other systems - as in the American Midwest - or shows nearly as much degradation as other long-standing agricultural areas (like the Middle East and Mediterranean because agriculture was adapted earlier there), but it is still in a state of degradation, some more extensive and proceeding more rapidly than others. 2.) is not much of a problem here either - it is largely a problem in America and in those places that are encouraging agricultural development (like in developing countries) - but even those families here who have been farmers for generations have abandoned a lot of pertinent knowledge and techniques in favour of expensive modern agricultural solutions (expensive as in the environmental impact).

 

In my experience, it is not so much a matter of whether it works "well" as how much profit it generates and who is advocating it (as pretty much everything else in the modern world). An example from conservation economics, studies find that in the short term (10-<100) years, an ostensibly unsustainable practice in question (for example, a factory) is much more profitable than leaving that land undeveloped. In terms of beyond that, however, due to designed obsolesence and the environmental impacts it generates, it actually is far more profitable and hence would have made more sense to have left that land as it was or purposed it to some use that altered it less rather than wipe it out or impair its functions. Clearly, though, most decisions in today's economy are based on the short term gain, and hence why I said most farmers don't consider such systems because most again think in terms of rewards in the short term (hence, socially inviable). The advocacy comes down to who is essentially "selling it," as even if it is a great idea, it will not catch on until long after its time if you do not have the right allies or charisma backing it. Most of my family are farmers and I own a bit of land myself, but when I talk to them or others in my home community about the theory and the practice of certain sustainable methods or environmental impacts, most did not have a clue it was a thing simply because no one made them aware of it and even so, there is not much of anyone to teach them. Most such systems are highly dependent and tailored to the local landscape and so I would say the only inherant confounding element to it is it has to be specific to the environment so that the environment works for it, not against, which requires a lot of initial effort on the part of the farmer (already mentioned the high initial cost). Hence its a largely a social and cultural problem. That is just in my experience, though - I primarily work with forest and bogs in my study systems, not agricultural landscapes, so I am not fit to say much about it beyond the general theories in ecology and biogeochemical processes and what I know through personal experience.

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