|Hunger and Environment Depletion|
|Written by Émilie St-Hilaire, Four Green Steps|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012 00:11|
Written by Émilie St-Hilaire, Four Green Steps
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Overuse of resources, land depletion, and chemical use aims to increase food availability to fight hunger and malnutrition in many countries. However, certain practices aiming to increase food production in the short run are harmful to the environment, which leads to reduced productivity in the long run, possibly aggravating the problem of hunger, knowing population is constantly growing and resources are becoming less available.
Soil erosion: Soil erosion is mainly caused by deforestation. The trees and their roots are holding the soil in place, making it stable. Without the trees, soil is easily eroded, so the land is not productive anymore. This creates a vicious circle: trees will be cut to create space for agricultural land. Because of soil erosion, the land will not be productive enough, so other trees will have to be cut down.
Fisheries depletion: Over-fishing and pollution have reduced the number of fishes in the ocean in the past few years. Tuna, swordfish, cod, halibut and shark populations have been reduced by 90 percent in the last 50 years. Mercury contamination is also a problem; it affects the fish health and the health of people who consume it. Some fish to avoid because of their high mercury contamination risk are tuna (fresh or frozen), shark and swordfish.
Climate change:Climate change is affecting food outputs. Agricultural activities are actually one of the many human activities that contribute to climate change by releasing pollutants, along with transportation and industry. If global average temperatures increase by only one degree, pollination of major food crops could be impaired; soil moisture reduced and weakens crops’ resistance to diseases. Again, the resource is less food available.
Freshwater waste and contamination: Everyday, approximately 1 million metric tonnes of waste is duped in freshwater. Freshwater is needed in agriculture, to irrigate the crops and for animals to drink. Freshwater is needed for life. However, agriculture still drains most of the world supplies of freshwater. Pesticides and other chemicals from agricultural practices can contaminate underground freshwater sources.
In the future, sustainable production should be favored, in order to preserve environmental resources and to ensure food security in the long run, along with a healthy environment for future generations.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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