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Zero Footprint
We absolutely can reduce the ecological footprint of humanity all the way down to zero!
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Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Geography Education
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Sustaining Seven Billion People

Sustaining Seven Billion People | Zero Footprint | 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."

 

...the top image shows where crops are grown throughout the world. Green areas are cropland, while tan areas are other types of land cover. In the last 40 years, cropland has increased by 70 percent to feed a growing population. Crops now cover about 40 percent of Earth’s land.


The lower image provides a landscape scale view of farming.


Measurements from the Landsat satellite also make it possible to tell how much water the crops consume in an arid environment. Such measurements are likely to become more important as demands on limited water resources increase. Currently, agriculture accounts for 85 percent of the world’s fresh water consumption.


Via Seth Dixon
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

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. 

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Tom Cockburn's curator insight, July 13, 2014 5:52 AM

Vital debate for the future

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:44 PM

APHG-U2

Byron Northmore's curator insight, January 28, 8:24 PM

Love this imagery!

Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from green infographics
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Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture

Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture | Zero Footprint | 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.


Via Lauren Moss
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

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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Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Arrival Cities
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Ecopolis: The emergence of 'regenerative cities'

Ecopolis: The emergence of 'regenerative cities' | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Professor Herbert Girardet has spent much of his working life on this issue and has come up with the concept of ‘regenerative cities' that aims to set out a roadmap of transformation in the way cities function - and also offers hope that humanity's fate need not be one of resource wars, conflict and climate chaos.

 

Girardet gradually came to realise that the concept of ‘sustainability' is no longer fit for purpose;

 

"Today there is much less to sustain than when the term was coined in the 1980s. We've exceeded the limits to growth on nearly every aspect of development. Sustainable development will not dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. We have to start thinking in terms of regenerative development. This means working towards giving back to nature as much we take.

 

So, what is a regenerative city - ‘Ecopolis'? It is one that relies primarily on local and regional food supplies; it is powered, heated, cooled and driven by renewable energy, and it reuses resources and restores degraded ecosystems. This is diametrically opposed to how many cities are currently run: they use resources without concern for their origins or destination of their waste products; they emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide without ensuring reabsorption and they consume huge amounts of meat produced mainly with imported feed, often from devastated rainforest regions.

 

Waste management is an absolutely key concept in regenerative cities as it not only reduces waste going to landfill, but helps capture organic waste for composting, increases the recovery of recyclables and facilitates the growth of small businesses that use the ‘waste' as raw materials.

 

For instance, since 2006 the city of Oakland, California, has worked to implement a strategic target of Zero Waste, and has already achieved an incredible 75% reduction in waste dumping. This was accomplished by pursuing ‘upstream' redesign strategies to reduce the volume and toxicity of products and materials, and by improving ‘downstream' reuse and recycling of end-of-life products including the re-use of products and materials, to stimulate local economic and workforce development.


Local food production is also a key element of regenerative cities. Currently many cities import their foodstuffs from all over the world, resulting in huge and highly unsustainable ecological footprints.


Professor Girardet is eloquent and animated on the subject of regenerative cities. He believes that cities, at best, are important global assets and can be the places where solutions to the world's environmental and climate problems can be effectively implemented. It is in cities where creativity flourishes and people can interact and engage vigorously in the search for solutions.


We have to change course and to adapt and thrive in ‘Ecopolis' if humanity and the biosphere are to survive.


Via Steven Putter, ddrrnt
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