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Sustaining Seven Billion People

Sustaining Seven Billion People | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"With seven billion people now living on Earth, the ever growing demand is putting unprecedented pressure on global resources—especially forests, water, and food. How can Earth’s resources be managed best to support so many people? One key is tracking the sum of what is available, and perhaps nothing is better suited to that task than satellites."

 


Via Seth Dixon
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Russell Roberts's curator insight, July 6, 12:53 AM

Thanks to environmental reporter Wes Thomas and professor Seth Dixon for this incisive analysis of how to provide sustenance to a world population nearing the 7 billion mark.  Dixon says the key is tracking the "sum of what is available...and perhaps nothing is better suited to the task than satellites."  Ever since the launch of "Landsat" and resource imaging satellites, scientists have been collecting data on global resources such as water, land use, forests, and crop production.  Dixon and Thomas say it's time the data were  put into a plan to fight hunger and habitat destruction around the world.  Such a plan may work if we as humans can keep from killing ourselves over religion, politics, and territory.  A tall order , indeed.  Aloha de Russ.

Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, July 6, 12:09 PM

Such studies of the agriculture around the world are essential. The way we are doing agriculture to support seven billion people now, peaking at 9-10 billion in another 60 years, it is clear that we are putting severe strains on the environment.  But we have grown lazy, and we are doing it all wrong.

 

We CAN drastically reduce the amount of meat we consume, and thus quickly reduce the amount of arable land we need.  We CAN grow plants in ways that actually sequester more carbon and improve the soil it over time rather than erode and degrade.  And we CAN in fact grow all the food we need in the space we live in, thus enabling us to recycle all the water used as well, which is mostly just lost in evaporation. 

Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 13, 5:52 AM

Vital debate for the future

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Geography in the News: Pumpkins

Geography in the News: Pumpkins | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner and pumpkins are already showing up at roadside stands. Jack o’lanterns, decorative displays and pumpkin pies are the main destinies of most pumpkins in the United States. Elsewhere in the world, however, the pumpkin is nearly exclusively considered a food crop or animal feed."


Via Seth Dixon
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

Curcubitas!!!!

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 21, 2013 9:02 AM

Every year it is expected around halloween that my family and friends will carve pumpkins. Then around chrstmas time it is expected that we will get our christmas tree to decorate. This is something lots of people do around this time. However what I never really linked together was that I was thinking about the geography of things by doing this. I know it is part of our culture and most people do it because it was a tradition. However what I never really thought about was where these pumpkins or christmas trees actually came from. There is a process that farmers have to go through to produce pumkins and pine trees, a process we probably don't even think about because we are so used to having these things around the holidays. When we think of pumpkins we thing of Jack-o-laters and pumkin pies, but to some people pumpkins are considered a crop and food source. We may not see it that way because our culture uses them around Halloween and for processed canned pumpkin for cooking. However not all cultures are like that, which is interesting to think about. Something that is considered seasonal in our culture might be an everyday crop for another culture. It is interesting to see how different places in the wolrd use such things as pumpkin so much different that we do in our culture.

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 4:25 PM

I have been a long-time fan of pumpkin coffee, and tomorrow I will probably have some with my cousins and family... Some areas of Asia allow consumption of dogs, other areas of the US allow consumption of roadkill, and that is different from what most people in RI are used to... So I guess, it's not really my business what other people and countries do with their pumpkin crops, as long as it doesn't negatively affect other people.  My neighbor has won some prizes, I think 3rd place in RI for largest pumpkin contests, which is pretty cool, because for several months, you can see their pumpkin garden from my backyard.  Those pumpkins are enormous, and made me wonder if there was anything being done to make the modified pumpkins more usable in food.  I know GMOs are a touchy issue, but to feed the starving people around the world, you have to wonder if one pumpkin at 2000 lbs could feed a village of people.  Lots of people that don't like GMOs probably do unhealthy things in other ways, so their huge activism movements really boggle me.  Labeling GMOs is one thing, but stopping genetic modifications seems as controversial as starting them, especially when some people can benefit from them.  Whatever, I guess pumpkins are cool for whatever people want to do with them, including smashing them... this week on RIC's campus I saw a smashed pumpkin.  The only thing that really popped into my head was not "what a waste," or "oh, those delinquents," but rather "that seems fun."  I did assume though, that no one was hurt by the smashing of the pumpkin...

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 19, 5:14 PM

Although you wouldn't think it there are many different countries and specific regions that demonstrate the perfect cropping land and fertilization process to grow pumpkins. Out of the US power house pumpkin growing Illinois is named number 1. Along side California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvainnia, Mississippi. But lets travel abroad to Africa, now me personally I wouldnt think that there are alot of pumpkin patches in Africa but there are many different places in Africa that pumpkins are grown. SOme of these places are Egypt with (690,000) and then there is South Africa with (378,776). I found these numbers quite interesting because one wouldn't think that there are pumpkin patches in Africa.

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Rethinking Agriculture

"Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities."


Via Seth Dixon, Fabio Padovan
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

Awesome ideas.

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Steven Flis's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:56 AM

with the increasing numbers of urban citizens in years to come the key to success in the city will be its ability to adapted to its growing enviroment. It would be nearly impossible for cities to exsit in the future with the current ways of agriculuture, there needs to be a change in the way things are done. Thats why this next gen way of agriculuture is going to take off in urban areas. with the ability to have full farms on rooftops the city will be able to self sustain itself more properly than it does in current times.

Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 17, 2013 6:40 PM

For the past three years I have had the luxury of having a garden in my backyard, it is a lot of work but there is nothing better than knowing where my food is coming from. I enjoy going in my backyard and being able to grab vegetables whenever I need them. I also go to farmers markets for vegetables that I don't grow in my own garden.  I would defeniately support local people to get good quality food. 

Lauren Shigemasa's curator insight, January 23, 1:28 AM

a powerful way to increase access to healthy foods! this organization called Growing Power is using urban gardening not only to create a sustainable food source for its neighbors, but also provides a system so we can donate and send a week's worth of fresh fruit/vegetables to any surrounding community in need. so amazing!

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An Underground Pool Drying Up

An Underground Pool Drying Up | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment — before substantial groundwater irrigation began — to 2011.

 


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 20, 2013 12:29 PM

The article connected to this map from the New York Times can be found here.  "Two years of extreme drought, during which farmers relied almost completely on groundwater, have brought the seriousness of the problem home. In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state’s portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet — nearly a third of the total decline since 1996."


Tags: wateragriculture, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend.

Michael Miller's curator insight, May 20, 2013 1:41 PM

The recent PBS special on the Dust Bowl also addressed this current problem and how some American farmers are not learning from past mistakes.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, September 2, 2013 5:58 PM

Really helpful information. Thank you. I had been wondering about this.Students should have an awareness of the water problems we have , and of various groundwater problems. Thank you.

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Video: Future of Farming

Video: Future of Farming | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Mark Bittman speaks to Wes Jackson from The Land Institute, who predicted that a prairie-like system capable of providing food for humans would be viable within 100 years.
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

Farming, agriculture are what drive the economy in many states. Pay attention to the ideas of the future.

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Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming?

Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming? | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
In Minnesota, ‘industrial’ operation shows effort to balance economic, environmental sustainability.

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Pranav Pradeep's curator insight, February 27, 11:24 AM

Yes it does because in all large scale endeavors, regardless of what for, the quality is always sacrificed for the quantity because it becomes cheaper to produce and profits are greater.

Jason Wilhelm's curator insight, February 27, 11:33 AM

The large-scale agricultural practices of modern America tend to lend to the bad image of commercial farming. However, the practices are actually helping feed more people in the US, but they also use genetically modified crops and other highly debated techniques.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 20, 11:45 AM

Yes it does because in all large scale endeavors, regardless of what for, the quality is always sacrificed for the quantity because it becomes cheaper to produce and profits are greater.

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An Underground Pool Drying Up

An Underground Pool Drying Up | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment — before substantial groundwater irrigation began — to 2011.

 


Via Seth Dixon
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

Really helpful information. Thank you. I had been wondering about this.Students should have an awareness of the water problems we have , and of various groundwater problems. Thank you.

more...
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 20, 2013 12:29 PM

The article connected to this map from the New York Times can be found here.  "Two years of extreme drought, during which farmers relied almost completely on groundwater, have brought the seriousness of the problem home. In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state’s portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet — nearly a third of the total decline since 1996."


Tags: wateragriculture, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend.

Michael Miller's curator insight, May 20, 2013 1:41 PM

The recent PBS special on the Dust Bowl also addressed this current problem and how some American farmers are not learning from past mistakes.