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Old 08-25-2010, 12:01 PM   #1
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Default Energy Use in the US & Global Agri-Food Systems: Implications for Sustainable Agriculture

Energy Use in the US & Global Agri-Food Systems: Implications for Sustainable Agriculture

Posted by Gail the Actuary on June 22, 2010 - 10:31am
The Oil Drum | Energy Use in the US & Global Agri-Food Systems: Implications for Sustainable Agriculture
excerpts from above:
Agricultural dependence on fossil fuels is a man-made problem. It will take not just scientific and ecological solutions but also deep-rooted structural and institutional changes as well as lifestyle changes on the part of individuals, their governments, and societies to transition to a more sustainable, non-petroleum based food system which oil depletion and rising costs will inexorably force on us...
Diverting a large portion of the U.S. grain harvest to ethanol production has serious ramifications for the world’s poor. Worldwide, grain prices have increased dramatically, with the price of wheat more than doubling in 2007, setting off food riots in countries across the globe that same year (Brown 40). Ethanol production in its current form has no place in sustainable agriculture because it actually presents a net energy loss and because it is pricing food out of reach for the world’s poorest people.
In 2002, the U.S. food system consumed 17 percent of the country’s total fossil fuel use (Eshel & Martin 2). The availability of seemingly unending fossil fuel resources has led to the highly unsustainable situation whereby “the U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces in...
The use of synthetic fertilizers accounts for 20 percent of energy use on American farms (Brown 34), and annually one billion pounds of pesticides are applied to farms across the nation (Pimentel 463). The dramatic increase in urbanization over the past century, coupled with a move away from mixed farming systems in favor of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) has deprived farms of natural sources of fertilizer and resulted in the massive expansion of commercial fertilizer use...
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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