Article: Talk about climate change and you have to talk about agriculture
Yet another story found out that yet another factor was underestimated by climate scientists: soil carbon loss due to agriculture. An estimated 133 billion (!!!) tons of carbon got from the soil into the atmosphere ever since the first farming villages emerged around 12,000 years ago. In comparison, that’s as much as 13 years of current global emissions, and almost as much as was released due to deforestation (taking into consideration that agriculture was often the reason for deforestation, the real ‘number of shame’ for agriculture could be much higher, and criticism much more justified and acknowledged).
From the article:
That said, the researchers note that it’s essentially impossible to replace all 133 billion tons of lost carbon.
“If we allow natural vegetation to take over the world, we may eventually get close to that,” Sanderman suggested. “But obviously we need to feed 7 billion people, going up to 10 billion by the middle of the century, so the reality is we are not going to be abandoning agricultural land and restoring it to its native state in any large way.”
What this means is, yes, we have a solution to the climate crisis, but we are not going to do it because we are too arrogant in our self-serving anthropocentric worldview in which we humans are somehow more important than the ecosystem that keeps us alive. Sounds paradoxical? Welcome to the abstract world of unquestioned underlying beliefs that prevent us from seeing the world (and our place in it) how it really is.
If you don’t acknowledge that overpopulation is in fact a problem that needs to be solved (or shall I say ‘will be solved by Nature anyway soon enough’) and take exponential population growth of only the human race as a ‘natural’ constant, this might seem impossible. But it is good to know that if most humans disappeared tomorrow, the planet would be just fine as a habitat for us and our fellow plant and animal brothers and sisters.
Feeding a population of 7 billion people only ensures that things get much worse in the future.
The same study suggests that with “modified agricultural practices” we might be able to restore anywhere from 8 to 28 billion tons back in the soil. That’s about 20 per cent of the damage we’ve inflicted on the planet. Is this a joke?!