Introductory Biology for Non-Science Majors
"Sustainable agriculture is one that produces abundant food without
depleting the earth’s resources or polluting its environment"1.
Farmers produced record grain crops in 2008, yet food shortages resulted in three-fold and
five-fold increases in the cost of grains, "pushing 75 million more people into poverty"2.
Modern mechanized agriculture and factory farming have resulted in severely degraded soil and
water. Heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers has resulted in water pollution and loss of
biodiversity, as well as top soil erosion by wind and water3.
Commercial fishing is depleting fisheries around the world and resulting in huge by-catches
that are discarded as waste 3.
Population growth necessitates a doubling of the world food supply by 20304, yet climate
change is already reducing harvests in many regions of the world5.
Renewable fuel produced from corn will further exacerbate food shortages. "The corn used to
make a 25-gallon tank of ethanol would feed one person for a year"2.
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Last updated or reviewed on 8/20/12