Soil matters more than you think
Disconnects from the land
Across the globe, more people are moving into cities. More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, thus emptying our rural landscapes and creating a bigger disconnect between people and the land than ever before. I count myself among the many that have made the move from a farm to a city. Yet no matter where we live, our daily survival depends heavily on the land. In fact, more than 99 percent of our food comes from soil. As our connection to the land continues to fade, we risk losing appreciation for healthy ecosystems and the ways they support our daily lives.
The food industry has a unique opportunity to tackle climate change through better soil management.
As populations have moved from farms to cities, we have become increasingly reliant on others to feed us. In the United States, fewer people farm than before, with less than 1 percent of the population coming from farms and ranch families. To reduce labor needs and achieve this level of efficiency, our modern agricultural system has prioritized maximum productivity with an emphasis on specialization, mechanization and intensification. The system also relies heavily on inputs — such as fossil-fuels, synthetic nitrogen and pesticides — to provide energy, nutrients, and to combat pests. While this approach has succeeded thus far in increasing productivity and feeding more people, it often has come at the expense of nature and the environment.
The environmental costs borne by our current agricultural system include increased greenhouse gas emissions and soil degradation, among other deleterious impacts.
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