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Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture

Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture | population geography | Scoop.it
There are currently 1 billion people in the world today who are hungry. There's also another billion people who over eat unhealthy foods.

 Food production around the world today is mostly done through industrial agriculture, and by judging current issues with obesity, worldwide food shortages, and the destruction of soil, it may not be the best process. We need to be able to feed our world without destroying it, and finding a more sustainable approach to accomplishing that is becoming more important.

The current system contributes to 1/3 of global emissions, is a polluter of our world’s water resources, and is a contributor to health problems. Industrial agriculture relies on mass produced, mechanized labor-saving policies that have pushed people out of rural areas and into cities, consolidating land and resources into fewer hands.

Agroecology looks to reduces agriculture’s impact on climate by working within natural systems. This is especially beneficial in rural areas, because the local community a major part of the growing process. The approach can conserve and protect soil and water — through terracing, contour farming, intercropping, and agroforestry — especially beneficial in areas where farmers lack modern irrigation infrastructure, or have farms situated on hillsides and other difficult farming sites...


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Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, October 1, 2013 9:53 PM

Clearly industrial agriculture is not sustainable, and must be replaced entirely with systems that reverse the current damage and restore the balance that used to exist before we messed things up.  We can use plants and animals not only to feed ourselves, but to *improve* the environment for all life on the planet.

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Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

TED Talks Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste?

 

Companies derive economic value from the environment without paying the true environmental costs of their enterprises.  Sukhdev call this the 'Economic Invisibilty of Nature.'  Many countries are mortgaging their environment's future for economic growth today.  This also disproportionately impacts the developing world and rural people more adversely.  Key to his argument is that we need to identify negative externalities on the environment that produce private profits and acknowledge them as public losses.  


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Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, December 10, 2013 7:13 PM

This a very interesting topic. Most of the time we take our earth for granted imagine if we need to pay for every time we use our earth I don’t think we would to afford it. Is very important for us to take care of it. It so sad that we have to force to protect it; for example here in providence we get punish with a fine if we don’t recycle. Taking care of our world should be a feeling from within people shouldn’t be made to do it.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:15 AM

Nature is very important because everyone in the world depends on it because that is where we can get the oxygen that we need to live and also we can hunt for food because many people in this world do not have access to a supermarket because it is to far or they just don’t believe in the existence of a supermarket. I wonder why some people would decide to live so far from civilization because I could not do that. I would get depressed very quickly because there would be nothing to do there.

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | population geography | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  


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James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.

 

Alex Vielman's curator insight, September 29, 2015 3:13 PM

Conditions in Haiti were bad in Haiti even before the disaster of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake occurred. The video shows images of the clear deforestation Haiti is suffering as a country. A lot of the mountain tops and hills are seen white without those bright green colors. It is said that the country is already 97% deforested. The reason so is because charcoal is basically the only way Haitians can cook and even make money off of if possible. Sometimes people do not like to accept that the countries own people, are affecting their living environment. Haitians live in a country where nights are spent in the dark in rural areas. The charcoal is the light Haitians depend on as well.

Haiti is a country of extreme poverty that don't offer an alternative to charcoal, which is the reason for its deforestation. A lot of Haitians blame the governed for the lack of infrastructure in the country but its all the mudslides fault. It is something that physically humans can not contain unless alternative methods are used to prevent deforestation. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:05 PM

Conditions in Haiti are just terrible. This place is 90% deforested and people use charcoal and such to cook. Haiti was hit by an earthquake in 2010, but even before the earthquake, deforestation was a major problem. Most of the people that live here live in darkness with no electricity. To get light, people use charcoal, charcoal has very many great uses in Haiti. Individual survival means cutting down as many trees as possible to get charcoal so you can provide for family. Problems with this country is that technologically and natural disaster survivalness is poor. Floods and mudslides will continue to happen and people will die, also the infrastructure will not improve. A lot of problem would come from the government too, lack of help from a government creates a failing nation. 

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Anthropocene: Why You Should Get Used to the Age of Man (and Woman)

Anthropocene: Why You Should Get Used to the Age of Man (and Woman) | population geography | Scoop.it
The cover package of this week's TIME—which should still be on newsstands—detailed the 10 ideas that are changing your life. What kind of ideas, you ask?

 

"Welcome to the Anthropocene. It’s a new geological epoch, one where the planet is shaped less by natural forces then by the combined activity, aspirations—and emissions—of more than 7 billion human beings."  Humanity's technological advancements and impact on the Earth's planetary systems is significant enough that many scientists agree that it has fundamental shifted the geologic paradigm. 


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Jared Diamond: Why societies collapse

This talk (based on his controversial book, Collapse) explores the economic and environmental causes behind why a society that is overextended might collapse or recede from a golden age. Jared Diamond uses multiple historical examples such as classical Mayan civilization and Easter Island as well as modern societies such as Rwanda and Haiti, to argue that unsustainable management of the environmental resources might lead to short-term economic successes, but the environmental degradation may threaten the long-term economic viability of the economic system. This talk ties agricultural patterns, economic practices and political policies that can strengthen or weaken a society and the book looks to the past to assess the challenges of the present and future. This TED talk brings geographic concepts and spatial thinking to many of contemporary global issues.


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The Economics of Sustainability

http://www.ted.com Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of...

 

This provocatively title TED talk would be an excellent resource for discussing sustainable development.  What are the economic, environmental, political and cultural ramifications of suggested policies that seek to lead towards sustainable development?  What are the ramifications of not changing policies towards sustainable development?  


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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:02 AM

 I found this video very interesting because it spoke about how there is so little space and more and more people are having kids. But there is no space because everyone likes having a lot of room to expand that is why because everyone in the world could fit in the state of California. So there is space it is just not spread out good enough that everyone could fit comfortably. 

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How future urban sprawl maps out

How future urban sprawl maps out | population geography | Scoop.it
Projections of urban growth indicate areas where biodiversity is at high risk.

 

The AAG Smart Brief is a fantastic source of geographic news.  This is what they said about this article:  "Areas such as tropical Africa and eastern China are expected to be hot spots of urbanization during the next several years, according to researchers, who used satellite imagery and other data to project future urban expansion through 2030. 'We're not forecasting population, we're forecasting the expansion of urban space,' said Yale University geographer Karen Seto. Their efforts could be used to assist conservation initiatives, Seto noted."

 

Tags: AAG, urban, sprawl, land use, urban ecology, biogeography, unit 7 cities, environment.


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Lauren Fiedler's comment, July 24, 2013 7:56 AM
This article is about urban growth and decline, Africa and Asia are predicted to be hot spots of urban growth in the next few years. Geographer Karen Seto of Yale University in New Haven has creted a graph that finally accounts for variations in how individual cities occupy their land and the impact they have on local ecosystems.
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Feeding 7 billion & our Fragile Environment

Feeding 7 billion & our Fragile Environment | population geography | Scoop.it

This photoessay puts together a diverse set of issues that are interconnected.  Industrial agriculture and metropolitan pollution; rising energy prices to sustain consumptive lifestyles with environmental degradation linked to oil spills; regions susceptible to climate change and regions producing that change...thought-provoking.  


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Daniella Tran's comment, February 21, 2013 11:03 PM
I had always known that the amount of humans on this planet was way too much, but i had never realized that our daily consumption of all these resources can result in the issues that are shown in these pictures. These pictures show areas that are highly polluted and it is overwhelming to think that the beautiful earth that we live in is filled with images like that. The number of factors that affect our environment is countless, especially with the growing figures of pollution, waste, use of natural resources and food production. The photo that stood out to me the most from this collection, is the one where the polar bear had to resort to eating a polar bear cub. It is difficult to think that the polar bear did that act as a sign of desperation because of the lack of food affected by the changing environment.
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Energy Needs

Energy Needs | population geography | Scoop.it

"Welcome to Energy Realities, a visual guide to global energy needs, which shows how technology and intelligence are ensuring humanity continues to progress. The site combines maps, multimedia, and writing from three premier publishers and tells the story of energy use, production, sustainability on our planet. We invite you to explore and share this content to help increase understanding and dialogue about our world's energy needs."

 

Energy usage projects to be one of the great geograpical problems of our time.  As ideas such as sustainable economic growth enter the public consciousness, changes to the status quo seem as the more inevitable for the future.  That will the future of consumption look like?  What should it look like?


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Visualizing the Global Carbon Footprint

Visualizing the Global Carbon Footprint | population geography | Scoop.it

One of the key things I reinforce in conversations about globalization is that the advantages are unevenly distributed and the negative externalities to the system are also unevenly distributed.  This clever infographic highlights both rather effectively. 


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Dale Fraza's comment, February 27, 2012 3:26 PM
Really surprised at a couple things:
1. Brazil's relative tinyness in comparison with the U.S. Guess I've always just heard bad things about Brazil in regards to deforestation and the like.
2. Just how much a formerly agricultural nation (China) has exploded. Something really needs to be done about the environmental havoc they are wreaking (not to be a total ethnocentrist or anything).
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Mapping the Anthropocene

Mapping the Anthropocene | population geography | Scoop.it

As follow-up to an earlier post about how we have enter the age of the Anthropocene, this stunning map is a fantastic visual representation of the forces that merit the dawning of a new geologic age.  This map depicts the lights at night, major roads, railways power lines, oversea cables, airline routes and shipping lanes.  It also expands the areas according to population size.  For more on the production of this map, see the Globaia website: http://globaia.org/en/anthropocene/

 

Spotted on Living Geography: http://livinggeography.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-map-of-anthropocene.html


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China now eats twice the meat we do

China now eats twice the meat we do | population geography | Scoop.it
We can learn a lot from examining the way China's diet has changed in the last 20 years -- as well as its required efficiencies and the agriculture that supports it.

 

The United States still consumes more meat per capita than China, but as China's economy has grown (along with it's income and standard of living), the consumer habits have changed as well.  What will the impacts of the rise in Chinese meat consumption mean?   How do they get all this meat?  http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/1661841673/this-little-piggy-is-going-to-china


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 29, 2013 2:07 PM

This is actuallty very believable considering the population growth that China has experienced.  It only makes sense that the more people there are, the more meat will be consumed.  It is part of their cuisine to include meat.  Pork and chicken are among many of the popular proteins which are found on their dishes.  There is also the expansion to go along with all of the growth.  The landscape of the eastern part of the country has become more agriculturally accomodating for crops and livestock alike.  Therefore to match the trend of growing population, is the need to match it with meat and other foods.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 2014 6:25 PM

China now eats twice as much meat than America. However, this chart does not touch upon "per-capita" which plays a major role in where the food is being dispersed and consumed. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:55 PM

China's meat demand is being met by importing meat. As the standard of living rises more of China's population are looking to branch out in regards to their diet, what is interesting is that this is also an example of cultures blending. Food is a great indicator of cultural diffusion. As China becomes more globalized we are seeing their diet and consumption patterns becoming less local and tradition.

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Sustainable Urbanism

http://www.ted.com Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see whats po...

 

Jaime Lerner does not see cities as the problem; he sees urbanism as the solution to many global problems.  This video outlines practical plans to rethink the city to be more sustainable.  To see an trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swQTTG3NcYY


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 15, 2014 8:02 AM

Jaime Lerner does not see cities as the problem; he sees urbanism as the solution to many global problems.  This video outlines practical plans to rethink the city to be more sustainable.  Click here to see the trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 11:47 AM

This video is enlightening.  The speaker uses the city as a model for fixing problems in the world.  Instead of seeing the city as an enemy to environmentalism, he purposes changing the cities and reworking old sites like quarries into something that is useable today.  He also advocates the integration of the transportation systems to make commuting more feasible as well as less pollution generating. 

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Man-Made Cities and Natural Disasters

Man-Made Cities and Natural Disasters | population geography | Scoop.it
Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

 

The 21st century is the dawn of a new era in human history: more people on Earth live in cities than in the countryside.  The impacts of this new basic fact are far-reaching.  One of those is that cities that are in particular environments are more prone to certain natural disasters and will be increasingly vulnerable as their populations increase (especially megacities in the developing world).


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