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Geo 202 Unsustainable food production

by: Carly Rocco

Geo 202 Unsustainable food production GEOL 202

Marketplace > University of Tennessee - Knoxville > GEOL 202 > Geo 202 Unsustainable food production
Carly Rocco

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Problems with modern agriculture and food production. Environmental effects of the Green Revelation and water usage.
Earth as Ecosys: Mod Prob/Sol GEO 202-001
Michael L McKinney (P), William Gray Dean
Class Notes
Geology, ecosystems, EARTH, agriculture, food
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carly Rocco on Monday October 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOL 202 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by Michael L McKinney (P), William Gray Dean in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views.


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Date Created: 10/17/16
Geo 202 Unsustainable food production  How is soil resources related to crops?  We consume: land/soil/ water/ energy/ mineral resources  Soil forming processes 1. Parent rock: original composition 2. Relief and Landscape Factors 3. Climate 4. Biosphere 5. Time  Soil loss= erosion: wind, water, bad agricultural/ construction practices, change in climate, deforestation It takes 1,000 years form an inch of soil.  Soil conservation practices o Terracing o Strip-cropping o Crop rotation o Wind breakers  Water use  37% of US water has been withdrawn  70% globally  ½ of water used in irrigation is consumed NOT returned.  Over pumping of ground water: uses a large amount of energy  Climate changes will increase water issues with loss of Andes/ Himalayas, drought and lower water tables, & shifting of weather patterns  Disappearance of glaciers will hurt other regions that rely on their yearly ice melt  Mineral resources  Critical nutrients: P, N, K o (K) Potash reserves: 100’s of years of reserves o (P) Phosphorus reserve: US has 25 -100 years of Phosphorus reserves o (N) Nitrogen reserves: “fixed” from the atmosphere/ the Haber- Bosch process/ Makes Ammonium nitrate when reacting with natural gas  What is eating up the fossil fuels?  Processing and storing  Transporting to the markets  Agrichemicals: fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides  Mechanization: tractors  Irrigation: pumps, equipment  Will the green revolution save the day?  This is a modern agriculture practice that utilizes high-yield crops  Not a good thing  This requires a heavy use of fertilizer (GMO)  Uniforms the seed production (loss of biodiversity)  Requires agrichemicals, mechanization, and irrigation  Began in the 1960’s by the United Nations  Decline in grain production  1960, the amount of grain per unit fertilizer has decreased.  We are putting new land for cultivation each year, yet it is equal to the land being removed from cultivation. This is due to soil exhaustion, degradation, and construction of roads and buildings.  Effects of intensive agriculture  Soil degradation  Soil erosion  Salinization (salt in the soil) and water logging  Water pollution: runoffs of fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides Organic Food and Sustainable production  Organic farming: no preserve, no use of synthetic chemicals, and uses natural ecosystems  Energy flow: heat travels from the sun to producers to consumers to decomposition.  Matter cycling: Matter input (rocks, rain)/ Matter output/ excess output  Modern Agriculture: Green Revolution eating fossil fuels  Processing and storing  Transporting crops to markets  Agrichemicals: fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides  Mechanization: tractors  Irrigation  Mathematics of green revolution: 10 calories of energy put into crops gives you 1 grain in return.  Big concern on how we will feed the global population when petroleum is scares!  Feeding the U.S.:  one person consumes 25% to 30% of their calories from meat.  Eating animals is an inefficient way to get energy  What kind of food system do we have?  60% comes from 2% of the farms  A small amount of corporations own most of the farms and control the marketing.  High density feedlots: a large amount of animals in a small containment area.  6 problems and solutions with modern food production 1. Antibiotic- resistant virus 2. Waste biomass and Chemicals 3. Energy intensive 4. Food Corporation are disruptive to local communities 5. Low biodiversity 6. Soil losses and Water use  Solutions o A less meat- intensive diet o Organic and sustainable farming  What if we had Global Vegetarianism : it would reduce anti-biotic resistant diseases, improve the health of the population, and open new land for agriculture  Less meat-intensive diets would:  Reduce carbon dioxide by 15%  Reduce methane by 24%  Benefits of organic farming: economic returns, heath benefits, less pollution.  Sustainable  Natural plant nutrition  Integrated pest management


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