Environmental Science Essay
Although attempting to subdivide existing farm plots and redistribute them may be considered suitable for the purposes of remediating food insecurity and rural poverty, there exists a significant amount of controversy over such a practice due to the issues such redistribution entail. For example, the redistribution of land would require that the distributing entity pick and choose claims and rights to land at their discretion, and such claims can range from historic, ancestral or even from “ownership of the till.
” Land reform has met much resistance from even the most impoverished numbers of developing countries, and it would be difficult to attempt redistribution without shaking up the foundations of property rights. Farming co-ops provide a distinct advantage for farmers. First of all, they provide them the opportunity to act as a group, giving them a collective bargaining power that they do not possess as individuals and allows them to act in unison in seizing market opportunities while being able to manage risks together.
In effect, they can leverage their interests better when united as a co-op and it is this asset that has brought success to the likes of the Ocean Spray Cranberry growers and the farmers of Sunkist. (Gable, 2006; Hieu, 2008) Opening up new land is perhaps the most rapidly actionable means of increasing the food supply for a growing population, but this also poses a liability with regards to environmental impact.
The problem with agriculture, especially the large-scale grain-based industrial monoculture which has been developed to feed most of the world, is that it is largely unsustainable and has a detrimental effect on soil fertility. In the first half of the 20th century, a large portion of the American Midwest was reduced to desert due to aggressive expansion of the wheat growing agriculture. (Manning, 2004) As such, what is needed is not the expansion of the present industrial agriculture, but the development of techniques and technologies to improve farming so that yields are better, but without compromising sustainability.
Pursuing job opportunities in the city is not entirely perfect, but it is a desirable direction towards the development of compact communities and urban density. When combined with practices such as permaculture, which is the development of perennial agricultural systems that resemble the systems found in natural ecology (Holmgren, 2003), compact communities effectively curtail many of the environmentally adverse effects of sprawl and the wastefulness of imposing distance between food production, residential zoning and urban sectors. (Sightline Institute, n. d. )
Ultimately, what is needed to address the needs of a growing population in the developing world is not the application of population control measures, or a voluntary call to asceticism, but the institution of developmental policies that recognize the needs and wants of human society on terms that are just to developing nations and corrective to developed ones. Alex Steffen (2006) notes that it is wrong to think we can talk developing nations out of pursuing their dreams, and deny them of the material luxury that citizens of developed nations take for granted.
Therefore, what is necessary is bright green developmental policy, founded upon the idea that economic luxury continue without rendering the planet an uninhabitable wasteland. This would require cradle-to-cradle designs, closed-loop industrial systems and self-sustaining infrastructure, much of which is already possible today. The future is already here, it’s just not well distributed. REFERENCES Gable, C. (2006, October). “Fields of Power; Farming Co-Ops & the Future of Biodiesel,” Organic Producer.
Retrieved October 9, 2008 from: http://www. organicproducermag. com/index. cfm? fuseaction=feature. display&feature_id=43 Hieu, T. (2008, July 27) “Farming co-ops may be answer to rural poverty. ” Vietnam Business News. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from: http://www. vnbusinessnews. com/2008/07/farming-co-ops-may-be-answer-to-rural. html Manning, R. (2004) Against the Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization. New York, New York: North Point Press.
Holmgren, D. (2003) Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability. Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia: Holmgren Design Services. Sightline Institute. (n. d. ) “Build Complete, Compact Communities. ” Sightline Institute. Retrieved October 8, 2008 from: http://www. sightline. org/research/sust_toolkit/fundamentals/great_places Steffen, A. (Ed. ) (2006) Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century. New York: Abrams, Inc.