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"[F]actory farming is ‘optimal’ only as long as degrading waterways is free."

Gidon Eshel
Geophysicist at the Bard Center



Introductory Biology for Non-Science Majors

Sustainability Topics



"Sustainable agriculture is one that produces abundant food without
depleting the earth’s resources or polluting its environment"

  • 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

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