NPR All Sides Module 9 Task 2
Does 'Sustainability' Help the Environment Or Just Agriculture's Public Image?
1. What is the problem or dilemma or situation in this story?
Nitrogen is the most important fertilizer, it is the fuel that drives the production of food. The use of
nitrogen is resulting in grave environmental problems. Manufacturing fertilizer releases lots of carbon
dioxide, and most of fertilizers don’t stay on crops as the rest is washed into streams and lakes or
becomes food for the soil resulting in nitrous oxide. It’s a huge global problem, corporations are now
focusing on how to reduce greenhouse emissions from fertilizers.
2. Who is on each side of this story? (not specific names but groups or organizations)
Corporations, like Walmart, are implementing technologies like SUSTAIN Programs to help farmers
reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without reducing their profits. However, this technology
according to farmers doesn’t have a big impact on the deduction of nitrogen emissions. This program
gets that message to consumers. According to environmentalists, corporations could do so much
more on water quality and greenhouse gas emissions, they could give farmers financial incentives to
move on from growing corn and soybeans to oats with no synthetic fertilizer needed and add carbon
to the soil the organic way. Corporations need to encourage the purchase for more small grain for
feed rations for cattle.
3. What is your opinion of this story and the situations or problems presented? Are there any 'sides' to
be taken and, if so, what side would you take? Expand on your answers
I believe that corporations do need to take a larger role on combating greenhouse gas emissions.
After the publication of the recent Global Climate report, studies show that the largest 100
corporations have the biggest impact on our environment. Corporations need to dive in and help fix
the problem they created. I wouldn’t mind spending a little more money on produce knowing that
there would be less greenhouse gasses reduced.