The eco-conscious movement swept through the agricultural industry decades before rooftop solar panels, and electric vehicles hit the market. Rachel Carson wrote the infamous book, Silent Spring, exposing the adverse ecological impacts of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). The popular insecticide decreased the sustainability of U.S. farming, and her exposure efforts resulted in a national ban on the additive.
Questioning the impacts of agricultural development promotes sustainable change in the industry. Generating an eco-friendly farm can shrink your carbon and water footprint while improving your health. Before evaluating the ways to develop a sustainable farm, we must examine the ecological issues it challenges.
The Importance of Sustainability in Agriculture
As the population expands, the demand for food increases. Various factory farms expanded production and crop yields by integrating advanced technology in the fields and practicing monocropping. Relying on machinery for agricultural development increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Various farming devices rely on fossil fuels for power. During combustion, the energy source generates greenhouse gas emissions, generating climate change. Product transportation additionally increases the industry’s emissions.
The transportation industry generates nearly 29% of national air pollution. Developing your own sustainable farm can challenge high emission rates and prevent adverse climate change effects. Green agriculture also reduces eutrophication.
When farmers use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on their land, it promotes ecological degradation. During a rainstorm, runoff carries additives to streams and the ocean. The high nitrogen substance promotes aquatic algal blooms, depleting regional oxygen levels.
Without adequate marine oxygen, areas become uninhabitable. Species must abandon their habitats, losing protection and food access. Many aquatic beings become extinct from eutrophication, and we must limit agricultural influences.
Sustainable farming both improves water quality and reduces exploitation. Roughly a third of the global population lacks access to clean drinking water. Modern agricultural production methods are water-intensive.
We can improve global water accessibility by reducing intake from the farming industry. Additionally, we can improve society’s overall health and well-being by limiting the number of pesticides in the air and our food.
Spraying pesticides increases occupational lung diseases and asthma. Long-term exposure can also cause lung cancer, generating fatal impacts. One study shows an increase in adverse respiratory symptoms throughout an agricultural worker’s shift when exposed to pesticides.
Green agriculture protects individuals’ health and promotes good consumption patterns. Reducing your intake of pesticide-covered food protects human health. Having greater access to clean produce and animal products limits your development of diseases.
Adopting Sustainable Practices on Your Farm
Fortunately, environmental scientists and engineers explored methods of instilling sustainability into modern agriculture. Reducing emissions, soil exploitation, water pollution and human health impacts can improve the eco-friendliness of a farm. Both ecological and human health benefit from green alterations in the agricultural sector.
Human Power Over Fossil Fuels
When growing on a small scale using permaculture methods, you may limit your need for weeding, distributing additives and tending to the land. Farmers may utilize permaculture methods, promoting self-regulation and stability. Sustainable agriculture also limits society’s reliance on factory farms.
Factory farms disrupt the health and well-being of animals, especially chickens, during poultry production. Sustainable agriculture may develop capons efficiently without limited toxins or carbon emissions. It additionally reduces the animals’ health problems like short life spans and dysfunctional limbs.
When you utilize your own property for food development, you reduce transportation emissions. Typically, we source our food from around the nation. It travels from a farm to a processing facility, the grocery store and then your home.
Producing your food on or near your property significantly shrinks its carbon footprint. If every household developed a sustainable garden or personal farm, we could reach our national carbon neutrality goal.
Soil protection is a significant feature of sustainable farming. It prevents erosion, protects plants, preserves grazing spaces and supports nutrient development. Farmers can protect the health and quality of their soil by eliminating their engagement with monocropping.
Small-scale farming reduces the need for overproduction and nutrient depletion. Permaculture is a sustainable alternative to monocropping. Maintaining soil health is essential to agricultural production.
A teaspoon of preserved soil contains a billion bacteria, fungi and other supportive growth elements. When you maintain adequate soil health, you reduce the need for synthetic additives. Reducing a farm’s use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers increases its sustainability.
One may minimize the disturbance from pests, chemicals and excessive machinery use on their farm, promoting low-impact production. Maximizing soil coverage and living root growth are essential. Both improve vegetation’s ability to take in water and hold elements in place.
Water Preservation and Conservation
Farmers can develop sustainable agricultural systems using smart sprinklers. The device significantly reduces water exploitation, optimizing watering times. Smart sprinklers access weather forecasts using WiFi, only watering during dry periods.
They also evaluate sun exposure, running at low evaporation times. Planting native crops may additionally reduce water exploitation. Native vegetation relies on local weather patterns and resources.
The plants can go extended periods without manual watering. Placing vegetation around the farm and at the bottom of inclined locations decreases runoff. Perimeter plant buffers absorb the excess stormwater, use it for growth, and prevent it from reaching local streams.
Doing Your Homework
Before establishing a sustainable farm, evaluating the natural topography, species and weather patterns is essential. One may limit their ecological impact by working with the land and local animals rather than abiding by national farming standards. Prior to developing your farm, you may contact a local agricultural specialist, ensuring its environmental protection properties and low emission contribution.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.