Class Notes (838,229)
Canada (510,777)
Environment (894)
ENV100Y5 (713)

Chapter 8- Biotechnology and Food Resources.docx

7 Pages
Unlock Document

Monika Havelka

Chapter 8- Biotechnology and Food Resources The Race to Feed the World Too little and too much food are both problematic from a global perspective  Malnutrition= unbalanced diet (shortage of required nutrients or excess)  Undernourishment= too few calories on a chronic basis  Over nourishment= too many calories on an ongoing basis  In Canada, 48% of adults exceed their healthy weight and 14% are obese  Calorie gap between rich and poor Diseases of Malnutrition  Marasmus: sever deficit of energy, protein and carbohydrates  Kwashiorkor: protein and micronutrient deficiency  Diabetes, heart disease, obesity: excess fats, carbohydrates, calories Who is most at risk of hunger? 1. Rural poor in developing countries  Often have electricity and no safe drinking water  Health, education and sanitation services are poor  Often directly involved in producing food  Many have no land of their own and work seasonally 2. Urban Poor  No means to produce food; have few resources to buy it 3. Victims of Catastrophes  Floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc force people to abandon land Why can’t we feed everyone?  Farmers today produce more than enough calories to feed everyone  Is food being produced sustainably?  Is there more involved in food security than just increasing agricultural productivity? Food security  Ensures that all people have physical and economic access to the quantity and quality of food they need to work and function normally from local, non-emergency sources  We are producing more and more food per person, however per capita food production is starting to decline; reflected in prices  Global grain stockpile: used to be enough to feed the world for several months; now it’s a few days  Food security depends on both production and distribution  Production-related issues: o Agricultural input costs are increasing ($$ + environment) o Effectiveness of inputs is decreasing o Environmental costs of outputs such as pollution are increasing o Soils are in decline  Distribution-related issues: o Can’t get crops off the farm and to the people o Food produced but lost in storage  Food security is constrained by the 5 “A’s”  Availability (production)  Adequacy (quality)  Accessibility (storage; distribution infrastructure; civil unrest; social status)  Affordability (ability to import, buy, produce, subsidize)  Acceptability (cultural, religious)  Food security is a complex issue The Green Revolution Agriculture post WW1  Cheap energy  Mechanization (tractors, combines; can work larger fields)  Large-scale irrigation (can farm marginal land)  Inorganic fertilizers (by-products of oil industry)  Knowledge of plant breeding (can breed high yield, disease resistant crops)  Better farming methods to alleviate world hunger  Started in Mexico in 1940’s (DR. Norman Borlaug)  Helping farmers to increase wheat yields via selective breeding  Spread to India and Pakistan; rest of world  Nobel Peace Prize 1970  Pakistan produced 8.4 million tons in 1970; 4.6 million in 1965  India’s produced 20 million tons on 1970; 12.3 million in 1965 The promise of the Green Revolution was to:  Increase yields  Increase carrying capacity  Improve technological knowledge  Get modern techniques to rural farmers  Eliminate hunger  Goals were approached through both intensification and extensification of agricultural production  Intensification: greater yields per unit land (pesticides, irrigation, fertilizers, new strains)  Extensification: more land brought into production (pesticides, irrigation, fertilizers, new strains) Enormous increases in production  1960-2000: food production increased > 1000%  1950= 14 million tons; 1990= 144 million tons  Calories per capita increased  Famine decreased  Lifestyle and income improved for many  Farming was modernized  However, growth rate of food production is slowing: e.g. wheat Solved many problems but caused others  Pesticides, irrigation, fertilizers, new strains are a mixed blessing  Salinization, desertification, pollution, loss of arable land  2008 China: 400,000km^2 of cropland & prairie is now desert (1/2 of farmland in Canada)  Overgrazing; over-exploitation of arable land; over-pumping rivers and aquifers  Lost topsoil pollutes both China’s cities and countries around the world Monocultures  Large expanses of single crop types  Increases yields (planting and harvesting more efficient)  Reduces biodiversity (e.g. pollinators)  Less disease resistance  Not all farmers have access to land, training, credit, technologies, inputs  Small-scale; subsistence farmers, women Food Production Diverted to Biofuel Production (limit usage of fossil fuels)  Biofuel- Fuels that are dependent on photosynthesis  Fuel derived from recently- dead biological material  Woodfuels, crop waste, energy-from-waste, etc  Usually from crops high in sugar or oils (e.g. corn or sugarcane for ethanol)  “Food or fuel” controversy in developing nations Problems of extensification and intensification: livestock  Consumption of animal products increases with wealth  Global per capita meat consumption has doubled since 1950  Increase consumption in protein = increases health in consumers  Livestock’s long shadow  FAO- UN organization- food and agricultural organization  Increase input into livestock = negative impacts  Livestock production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land and 30% of land surface of Earth  “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top 2 or 3 most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”  70% of previously forested land in Amazon is now pasture for livestock (McDonalds is one)  Livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions (more than transport sector)- produce a lot of methane (greenhouse gas), and have multi chamber stomachs (bacteria that breaks down food easily) Rates of Atmospheric N deposition correspond to areas of intense livestock farming (areas of intensive livestock farming)  Probably largest source of water pollution from manure (wastes, antibiotics & hormones; fertilizers & pesticides for feed crops (because land is for growing feed for animals); sediment from eroded pastures (cows have hoofs that tear up the ground- degraded land); chemicals from tanneries  In US: 55% of erosion and sediment; 37% of pesticide use; 50% of antibiotic use (to feed animals); 33% of Nitrogen & Phosphorus loading of freshwater systems is direct result of livestock farming Our food choices are also energy, water, and land choices  90% of energy is lost every time energy moves from one trophic level to the next (feed cost- beef, pork, eggs, chicken, and milk  in order of most feed input to produce 1kg of meat)  The lower on the food chain we eat, the more people Earth can support  If resources are meat based, carrying capacity is going to be lower (because less resources available) than vegetable based diet which has a higher carrying capacity  Meat is much less energetically efficient than grain as a source of food calories  “Environmental damage by livestock may be significantly re
More Less

Related notes for ENV100Y5

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.