October 25, 2009
Land Use: The Other Inconvenient Truth?
Jonathan Foley (director of the Institute on the Environment and professor, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Minnesota) has an opinion piece on Yale Environment 360, a web publication of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, called The Other Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis in Global Land Use.
As the international community focuses on climate change as the great challenge of our era, it is ignoring another looming problem — the global crisis in land use. With agricultural practices already causing massive ecological impact, the world must now find new ways to feed its burgeoning population and launch a "Greener" Revolution.
Foley highlights the ecosystem, water, pollution, and greenhouse gas impacts of what he argues is a fundamentally unsustainable system of global agriculture, and offers a few suggestions for addressing the problem through agricultural and conservation reforms, although he doesn't get into what regulatory measures might be necessary to support his suggestions. It is noteworty that he asserts that the global land use crisis is as threating, if not more so, than global warming.
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