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Environmentalism von Mind Map: Environmentalism

1. Subsistence Agriculture vs. Commercial Agriculture: Effects on the Environment (Carina)

1.1. Subsistence Agriculture

1.1.1. Farm Size Subsistence farms are, on average, much smaller than commercial farms. They are usually just barely big enough to sustain a family, as a farm any bigger would be inefficient and extremely difficult to manage. As a result, subsistence farmers aren’t often able to apply crop rotation, which ends up leeching the nutrients out of the soil and promoting soil erosion.

1.1.2. Shifting Cultivation Shifting Cultivation is a term used to describe the clearing of land for planting by cutting down vegetation and burning the resulting debris. Farmers plant crops on the cleared land for as many years as they can before the nutrients in the soil are completely depleted. Slash and Burn Shifting cultivation is sometimes referred to as slash-and-burn agriculture. The slash-and-burn method is more frequently used for subsistence agriculture by those who cannot afford the machinery that commercial agriculture often requires. In addition, slash-and-burn causes soil erosion and the resulting landslides and water contamination. Without the necessary trees and vegetation, soil previously held in place by roots washes away freely during heavy rains, and blows up dust clouds in high winds. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Slash_and_Burn_Agriculture_Shifting_Cultivation_Thailand.jpg

1.1.3. Wet Rice Cultivation Wet rice cultivation seems environmentally friendly, with the most advanced machinery used often being a simple plow. The plowed land is flooded with water, which suits the monsoon environment that rice flourishes best in. Unfortunately, intensive subsistence farmers often exploit the land to produce two harvests per year, otherwise known as double cropping.

1.2. Commercial Agriculture

1.2.1. Machinery Machinery is commonly used in commercial agriculture because of its efficiency. Without machinery, commercial farmers wouldn’t be able to produce the yield that they need to supply their countries. One of the only downside of machinery is its effect on the environment. Much of the machinery used on these massive farms uses up large quantities of nonrenewable resources. Commercial Gardening and Fruit Farming Commercial gardening and fruit farming is the main type of agriculture practiced in the southeastern United States, as the region has a suitable climate. This agricultural practice is also called truck farming, where farmers grow many fruits and vegetables that are in demand in developed countries. The only way to efficiently harvest these crops is by making use of a large number of machines, which can be harsh on the environment. https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/180000/velka/farmers-market-fruit-and-vegetables.jpg

1.2.2. Farm Size As commercial farms grow even bigger, they often cut into preciously wooded areas, contributing massively to deforestation issues. As a result, more carbon is released into the atmosphere, which promotes climate change. In addition, massive farms require more and more machinery.

1.2.3. Crop Rotations In developed countries, farmers will frequently divide their fields into sections, which they then rotate through a cycle. The cycle will often go through two years of crops, followed by a year’s break. Crop rotation helps prevent soil erosion, as well as keeping the field fertile and full of nutrients.

2. Agriculture and Pollution (Erik)

2.1. Pastoralism

2.1.1. Air Pollution Enteric Fermentation Enteric Fermentation is the process by which microorganisms break down carbohydrates in the intestines of animals including cows, sheep, and goats. This process releases methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas which traps 30 times more heat than Carbon Dioxide. See more at https://www.nrdc.org/stories/industrial-agricultural-pollution-101#footprint

2.1.2. Water Pollution Manure Manure is often applied to soil because of its mineral content. Cow manure is composed of roughly 3% Nitrogen, 2% Phosphorus, and 1% Potassium. Farmers often apply too much manure to their soil to the point where the ground cannot absorb all of its minerals. When it rains, these minerals are washed into nearby streams, ponds, and rivers. Manure is often collected and sits for days before it is used. This leads to toxic chemicals and dangerous bacteria being leaked into the ground and, eventually, water.

2.2. Sedentary Agriculture

2.2.1. Pollution caused by Agriculture Nitrogen-Based Fertilizer Nitrogen is required for plants to grow. In the developed world, large amounts of synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizer are applied to soil. 5.7 million tons of fertilizer are used in the US on corn alone each year. To make this fertilizer, Nitrogen gas, N2, is turned into Ammonia, NH3, which is broken down very easily by plants. This compound is also very resource intensive to make and reacts with the air to form nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. Nutrient Runoff Chemicals from soil, including fertilizer, get washed into nearby streams, ponds, and rivers. This pollution disrupts aquatic ecosystems, which in turn effects the fishing industry. In the real world, nutrient runoff has destroyed the Chesapeake Bay's fishing and crabbing industries. Many local rivers and streams, including the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers, are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Large amounts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus are washed from farms into these rivers, which then empty into the bay, killing organisms and disrupting ecosystems. See more at https://www.cbf.org/issues/agriculture/ Pesticides While pesticides increase crop yield, they have serious effects on the health of anyone who consumes them. Chlorpyrifos, for example, is a chemical applied to kill small animals such as termites, roundworms and mosquitos. This chemical works by blocking enzymes which send messages between nerve cells. It has been linked to developmental delays and learning disabilities in humans Chlorpyrifos, among other pesticides, damages soil quality. These chemicals take months to break down and make the soil more acidic. This reduces crops' ability to grow, resulting in a lesser yield.

2.2.2. Pollution caused by Industrialization Climate Change Greenhouse gases are causing a rise in temperatures around the world. Factories are constantly releasing gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide, into the atmosphere. Climate change is seriously diminishing agricultural production in regions all over the world. In the US, the climate of the southern states has become too hot to support the growing of crops such as soybeans (above). In intensive subsistence wet rice dominant regions, like East and South Asia, increased temperatures and fluctuating rain patterns take a massive toll on rice production. https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/styles/original/public/images/fa-sus-climate-drought-soybeans.jpg?itok=cr5QRzxd

3. Sustainability Solutions/Problems (Alice)

3.1. Water https://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/2013/environment/solutions-for-environmental-sustainability.html

3.1.1. the problem: Plants and animals need water to survive and flourish, but lack of water is causing stress on agriculture in many regions, and too much water can cause soil erosion. It's one of the world's most abundant natural resources but is also quickly becoming one of the most stressed.

3.1.2. solutions: In Bangalore, India IBM is collaborating with Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to make systems that monitor and manage increasingly complex water distribution systems. A water management system was created with operational dashboards and analytical tools to act as a central command center for monitoring, administering, and managing water supply networks. By setting and adjusting thresholds, engineers can make sure that supply meets expected goals. This solution helps minimize water loss by: -detecting large changes in water flow with real-time monitoring -allowing engineers to assess real-time water supply easily -bringing a level of predictability and real-time controllability of water supply across the city and population

3.2. food safety https://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/2013/environment/solutions-for-environmental-sustainability.html

3.2.1. In China: pork is a major pillar of the economy in the Shandong Province

3.2.2. To ensure that safe pork is being sold to consumers, a pork monitoring and tracking system was made. It can extract and store information from numerous interconnected sensors. This system brings accountability nd efficienty to every stage of the pork production process, from production --> distribution --> retailer

3.2.3. Helping address food-related crises after they occur:

3.2.4. A system was built that automatically identifies data from multiple sources to identify the most likely contaminated sources and integrates data with public health data to allow investigators to see the distribution of suspect foods and view reports in an area. It effectively learns from every new report and recalculates the probability of each food that might be causing an illness.

3.3. Undernourishment

3.3.1. The problem The UN estimates that 795 million people in the world are undernourished. It is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The global agriculture system that allows food production to be higher at a low cost, however, is being criticized that it is causing major long-rn damage to the environment and local ecosystems for the sake of short-term production. The greatest challenge to world food supply in the 21st century is food prices, due to 4 factors identified by the UN: poor weather, higher demand, smaller growth in productivity, and the use of crops as biofuels instead of food. Thankfully, the world as a whole has made progress in reducing hunger during the 21st century.

3.3.2. Possible Solutions More Investment: People should invest in sustainable agriculture. The relationship between the private sector and agriculture isn't new, and the weakness of poor farmers and the growth of low-nutrition crops has been some of the many deterrents of efficient agriculture. To overcome malnutrition, an increase is needed in the dietary diversity of the poor to include more fruits and vegetables. This means increasing local production and reducing prices to local customers. Private investment can develop sustainable agriculture, and to get private investment interested, incentives for investments beyond farms could be provided, such as investmentsi n infrastrucutre. This will help provide better and more stable market conditions for farmers, creawte new jobs, and limit the risks of investing in agriculture itself. Incentives for investing in sustainable practices and cropdiversification could also be of interest. Key areas for investment to equity in food systems include rural infrastructure, access to markets, knowledge and technology, etc. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/sustainable-agriculture-end-world-hunger

4. How Methods of Improving Productivity Affect the Environment (Katie)

4.1. Expanding Agricultural Land

4.1.1. Desertification Farmland that is abandoned for lack of water can deteriorate to desertlike conditions. The desertification in semi-arid lands exhausts soil nutrients. Overgrazing, excessive planting, and tree cutting are the main causes of desertification. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that 2 billion hectares have been deteriorated.

4.1.2. Urbanization Urbanization reduces the area of agricultural lands. As cities grow the farms around their borders are overtaken by the urban areas. In the US 200,000 hectares of the most productive have been lost to urban sprawl.

4.2. The Green Revolution

4.2.1. Miracle Seeds The green revolution in the 70s and 80s involved the practices of introducing new higher yield seeds and the higher use of fertilizers. The "miracle seeds" were less susceptible to variation in the environment and matured faster, increasing production. These seeds were distributed around the world. To get the most out of the "miracle seeds" farmers need to use fertilizers. The production of miracle seeds in the green revolution led to the production of more natural gas. The use of this fossil fuel and others lead to climate change. Climate change also has effects on the productivity of agriculture.

4.2.2. Genetically Modified Foods The manipulation of crops has been occurring for thousands of years. While these foods become more favorable and higher in number these foods can cause health problems. The over consumption of genetically modified foods can lower the effectiveness of antibiotics.