We live in a humongous world with 7.125 billion people and are expecting 9 billion by 2050. All of these people need to be fed, amounting huge cornucopias of food, which develops a mass-produced agricultural system. This tremendous amount of food requires an extreme amount of energy to produce it, which overall creates extreme negative effects into the environment. There needs to be serious changes in how we produce our food to save the planet.
America produces enormous amounts of food, leaving enough for all Americans and millions of others as well. Most people are unaware of how huge and powerful our system really is. Several amounts of greenhouse gases are released mainly from “land conversion from grass, forest or wetlands to cropland, conventional cultivation, fertilization, and livestock production.” (Natural Resources Conservation Service 35). The more and more mass-produced and technologically advanced the crop industry becomes, the necessity for high amounts of energy increases. Fossil fuels, a major energy source utilized for the crop industry “directly as well as indirectly contributes to carbon dioxide emissions.”(Natural Resources Conservation Service 51).
Corn is the most dominant crop in America because it is extremely easy to mass-produce and cheap. In order to save money, companies serve corn to animals instead of grass, this can develop deadly E. Coli in the meat which can transfer back to us (Robbins). Vast amounts of land is controlled and cleared in several corn practices, this often releases greenhouse gases greater than burning fossil fuels (Fausti).
The pesticides utilized to protect/ lengthen the crops are spread extensively and continually; being a leading source of pollution in several countries. Beneficial insects located in rivers or wetlands are killed due to the spraying of pesticides, which as well kills animals that eat them (WorldWildlifeFund). Our agricultural sector accounts for over 70% of all pesticides (Udeigwe). Pesticide use needs to be reduced significantly in order to see its major impacts it holds on the environment start to disappear. The ignorance of most citizens seeking the cheapest and fastest food options allows more poor agricultural practices and detrimental pesticides.
Since Climate Change is becoming increasingly horrific and relevant on the world stage, there are currently discussions of how to produce better sustainable energy. Bioenergy utilizes biological sources to produce crops and seems to be a possibility of better viable energy. But, due to lack of knowledge and testing of the energy there are several concerns on what it might due environmentally and socio-economically. A vast amount of these energies, including Bioenergy, increase concerns about deforestation along with an increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the air (Miyake).
Some companies, ironically part of the problem, have started to change their ways of producing crops. Monsanto Company plans to make their operations completely carbon neutral by 2021 (Feedstuffs). If more companies continue to plan to decrease their negative contributions to the environment and help mitigate climate change, then the future of the planet should see the results. It is up to us, it is time we stand up for our planet.