Industrial Agriculture and its Impact on the Environment
Industrial agriculture, sometimes referred to as factory farming, is viewed by many farmers as a trend that is the antithesis of traditional farms. Whereas farms once served as friendly, community-centric co-ops that catered solely to the surrounding regions, industrial farms and plots are the exact opposite.
Perhaps even more troubling, however, is industrial agriculture’s negative impact on our environment.
Air Pollution and Toxic Emissions
Look at a factory farming operation, and you’ll witness its negative environmental impact. Toxic emissions in the form of thick clouds of smoke fill the sky with hydrogen sulfide, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. Sources currently report approximately 400 different air pollutants that are produced through modern industrial agriculture.
It’s a well-known fact that chemical-based fertilizers and pesticide products are amongst the major contributors of water pollution in the U.S. today. According to studies completed in 2000 by the Environmental Protection Agency, industrial agriculture accounted for 48% of the pollution found in our nation’s rivers and streams, as well as 41% of the overall pollution in our lakes.
Despite the increasing availability of environmentally friendly equipment and machinery, many factory farms still utilize industrial-grade hardware. That’s vehicles and tools. So this equipment contributes to the overall carbon footprint of the operation. Also, some of it can be undeniably dangerous to the human operator.
Compounding the problem even further is the issue of day-to-day fuel consumption. All which can be incredibly costly given the fluctuating prices of gasoline in the U.S.
Unhealthy Living Conditions and an Unhealthy Product
The animals raised on factory farms often live in bad places. I mean unhealthy and in some cases, downright barbaric conditions. This is evident through the frequent and numerous food recalls seen within the United States. I mean many of which involve meat from modern industrial agriculture operations.
With billions of chickens, more than 100 million pigs and tens of millions of cows living in factory farms across the United States. So it’s easy to see how the unhealthy living conditions of farm-raised animals could result in a tainted product. All that is unfit for human consumption.
Eliminating Our Reliance on Industrial Agriculture
Apart from being counterproductive one deterrent are the fundamental ideas and attitudes of many of our nation’s farmers. Because industrial agriculture is unquestionably damaging to the environment. By rebuking such operations, either by shopping at local farmers markets, maintaining community-based farms or even growing your own backyard gardens, you too can play a part in cleaning up unwanted corporations as well as the environment.