How Farms Can Help Fight Looming Environmental Crises

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Ensuring the future sustainability of our environment, in both our homes and our surroundings, is a big issue facing individuals and groups of all sizes. From single families to huge corporations, we have to all continue to look for ways to minimize the damage we cause to the planet we live on. Farmers, though an essential part of all our lives, play a huge role in the current ecological damage being done. But they could also potentially be the solution to some of the greatest crises we face.

Greenhouse gases

Livestock farming is one of the single greatest sources of greenhouse gases in the world. Cows, sheep, pigs, and other animals produce methane, and the equipment use to house, feed, and provide land for these animals produces harmful gases, too, which are contributing to climate change. TheAtlantic.com shows that switching from livestock farming to crop substitutes could massively decrease how much greenhouse gases our farms are producing and may be a necessary solution as many scientists agree we will face a meat shortage in the future. There’s also a growing trend of herbicide-tolerant crops that don’t require the land to be tilled, meaning that more of the carbon is kept in the earth rather than being released when we grow crops.

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Water use

With the current heatwave, more and more areas are experiencing hosepipe bans, water shortages, and dwindling reservoirs than ever before. In parts of the world like South Africa, entire cities are now without water. Farms use a lot of water for their crops, but many farmers are turning to solutions that not only save water but save the costs of relying on water utility provides with things like tanks from fertilizerdealer.com. Besides capturing and storing more water, sustainable-minded farmers are also turning from traditional irrigation tools to drip irrigation and farming more drought-sustainable crops like olives and tepary beans. The latest science agrees that water shortages could become a frequent concern if we continue to see the kind of heat in the summer that we’ve seen in 2015, 2016, 2017 and, now, 2018.

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Farmland expansion

More and more of the environment is getting swallowed up by farmland, destroying ecosystems and leading many species, including bees, to become endangered. Stopping the advance of farmland is mostly a question of making our farming more efficient. Between 35 and 42 per cent of all crops grown are lost due to weeds, pests, insects, and diseases. Plant science, in particular, biotech crops (also known as GMO crops) is allowing us to grow more crops on less land. It’s also helping us develop crops that are hardier and less likely to die due to the threats mentioned above. Croplife.org shows how farmers are starting to help preserve their natural surroundings rather than absorbing them.

With more and more land being swallowed up for food production, our water supplies dwindling, and greenhouse gases polluting the air we breathe, it’s on all of us to ensure that we are farming sustainably and supporting sustainable farms. The time to procrastinate on this has long passed.

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