We have witnessed the tremendous transformation as hundreds of millions have moved into the middle class over the last 25 years, and in many families, now we have a younger generation born into the middle class with high expectations for further growth in their standard of living. And while this can happen, my discussions with students at universities made me wonder if it automatically will, or whether we need a change of direction.
Significantly reduces use of fossil fuels farm machines and transport of crops Makes use of abandoned or unused properties No weather related crop failures Offers the possibility of sustainability for urban centers Converts black and gray water to drinking water Adds energy back to the grid via methane generation Creates new urban employment opportunities Reduces the risk of infection from agents transmitted at the agricultural interface Returns farmland to nature, helping to restore ecosystem functions and services Controls vermin by using restaurant waste for methane generation No-cost restoration of ecosystems: The best reason to consider converting most food production to vertical farming is the promise of restoring ecosystem services and functions This belief stems, in part, from numerous anecdotal observations as to the current biological state of some territories that were once severely damaged either by now-extinct civilizations or over-farming, and, in part, from data derived from National Science Foundation-sponsored long-term ecological research program LTERbegun inon a wide variety of fragmented ecosystems purposely set aside subsequent to an extended period of encroachment The following case studies will serve to illustrate these points.
Deforestation of vast tracts of tropical rainforest throughout Mesoamerica took place over several thousand years It is estimated that there were as many as 50 million people living in this region, with some 17 million in Mexico, alone, when the conquistadores arrived in the s.
Re-forestation of deserted regions previously inhabited by pre-Colombian civilizations e. Regions that remained populated continued to suffer the ecological consequences of deforestation ibidbut in the abandoned areas the re-growth of the rainforests in some parts of Central America was so complete that by nearly all of the major ancient cities and monuments lying between Panama and southern Mexico had been canopied under them.
Today, archaeological expeditions routinely discover previously unknown settlements and the life and times of the peoples that lived there, but they are hard-won victories, accompanied by much difficulty in navigating the dense growth that protect these treasures of the past from open view.
New finds are now often aided by sophisticated remote sensing technologies Along the northern border of the Brazilian jungle live the Yanomami. These people have never been conquered by European colonialists.
Left to evolve on their own without interference from the outside, they have formed a series of loosely knit tribes that have developed shifting agricultural methods to live off the land, mostly by hunting bush meat and subsistence farming, without causing permanent damage to the environment in which they must live Their farming methods do not include fire as a forest clearing mechanism.
Instead, they cut down the trees, creating large open circles. Then they burn the trees to get enough minerals to fertilize the cleared zone. They farm the nutrient-poor soils for several years, raising sweet potatoes, plantains, sugar cane, and tobacco, and then they move on. By the time the Yanomami return to the same farming locale, some years later, the area has re-grown to its former state.
Without fire as a confounding factor, the Yanomami have achieved a rare a balance with the land in which crops are produced and forestland is repaired by a natural cycle that favors the survival of both sets of life forms.
Many other cultures living close to the land were not as fortunate as the Yanomami to have conceived and implemented sustainable relationships with their surroundings and have paid the ultimate price, that of extinction They attracted thousands of hopeful immigrants from the eastern United States and Europe to that area of the west.
Over the next 20 years, rainfall was above average and farming flourished. However, the next years saw some of the worst droughts in recorded history for that region.
The result was a systematic erosion of millions of tons of topsoil The situation intensified from with increasingly devastating results The weather patterns had conspired to defeat these early settlers in their quest to re-shape the landscape into productive farmland.
Lesions learned, no one returned to the dust bowl region for some 15 years. During the intervening period, nurturing precipitation regimens returned, and the assemblages of wildlife long absent re-populated the region.
|The Meiji Restoration Era, 1868-1889||This article was originally written for Japan Society's previous site for educators, "Journey through Japan," in Change was the currency of the Meiji era —|
Tall and short grasses re-built the soil enough to attract back the kit fox, antelope, prairie dog, and a wide variety of endemic birds and other support plants, reclaiming their niches and restoring the region to a mixed grasslands prairie. Seeds of native plants that had lain dormant germinated and thrived when competition with cash crop species for limited resources ceased.
Following WWII, the area once again suffered ecological loss from the impacts of farming. This time that activity was supported by groundwater pumped from the Ogallala aquifer for irrigation of wheat, which requires additional water to achieve maximum yield However, this initiative, too, will apparently fail soon for the same reason that the first wave of farming on the Great Plains did, namely the lack of a reliable source of freshwater.
In this case, too much groundwater has already been drawn off 55, 56lowering the water table and resulting in an economic conundrum, where the price of oil, a necessary ingredient to fuel the heavy-duty pumps needed to raise water from a greater depth than at present currently fueled by cheaper natural gas-driven pumpswill not prove to be cost-effective with respect to the price of wheat It is anticipated that when this generation of farmers abandons the land, the prairie will once again dominate the landscape.
The de-militarized zone between North and South Korea represents a small strip of land some 1, km2 in area and off limits to people since the end of the Korean War in Farming communities once abundant there no longer till the soil.
The result of abandonment has been striking, and in favor of ecological recovery During the intervening years, remnant populations of wildlife have re-bounded into robust populations within that narrow region, including the Asiatic black bear, musk deer, and the red-crowned crane.
The above observations give hope for an almost complete recovery of abandoned land. But it is long-term ecological research projects 61, 62 see also: Twenty-seven countries are currently engaged in some form of long-term ecological research, while 19 LTER projects are conducted within the continental United States.
One of the most intensively studied is Hubbard Brook in northern New Hampshire 63, 64, 65, The area is a mixed boreal forest watershed that has been harvested at least three times in modern times s Originally under the directorship of Gene Likens, a portion of watershed was cut and the wood left in place FREE COURSE THE WORLD, THE JEWS AND THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN SURVIVAL Anti-Semitism, division, separation, violent conflicts and a general breakdown of the institutions of human society.
And now it is a nation that wants some things very much. In general, it knows what these things are. At home its people want continued growth, its leaders the stability that growth can buy. I am leaving China. After nine years working for the HSBC Business School of Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School as a professor teaching international trade, negotiations, and ethics, I am leaving China.
In early November , the HSBC Business School informed me they would not renew my. The North Korean nuclear threat is more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis, and it is time for the U.S. government to pursue diplomatic options.
Angola has known exploitation before, but China’s efforts there have no equal in recent memory. Under a corrupt president, the country has become a massive construction site — but everyday Angolans remain hopeless and empty-handed.
The advent of agriculture has ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals.