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As a part of this assessment, authors identify inadequacies, errors, and gaps in knowledge that may be hindering or opposing sustainability objectives.

For each review, the authors ultimately discuss what might be needed to bring work and programs onto a better track towards achieving sustainability. Such informed assessments of the routes to realize future potential make the series an essential part of the scientific method and a necessity for researchers, teachers, students, and field professionals when dealing with increasing global environmental and socioeconomic change.

This format will make Issues in Agroecology a highly citable series that is guaranteed to enlighten research teams, technology users, educators, students, and the general public on the status and advances of agroecology around the world. Agroecology not only encompasses aspects of ecology, but the ecology of sustainable food production systems, and related societal and cultural values.

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To provide effective communication regarding status and advances in this field, connections must be established with many disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, environmental sciences, ethics, agriculture, economics, ecology, rural development, sustainability, policy and education, or integrations of these general themes so as to provide integrated points of view that will help lead to a sustainable construction of values. Such designs are inherently complex and dynamic, and go beyond the individual farm to include landscapes, communities, and biogeographic regions by emphasizing their unique agricultural and ecological values, and their biological, societal, and cultural components and processes.

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Product details Paperback: pages Publisher: Springer; Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. Review From the book reviews: "This book contains five in-depth review articles on the trading, use, and safety of agrochemicals; the background and safety of genetically modified crops; organic farming and food quality; the value of plant secondary compounds in veterinary medicine; and integrated pest management approaches for preventing and treating parasites in domesticated livestock. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Reeve, Choice, Vol.

Food Sustainability in the Context of Human Behavior

No customer reviews. Use of Chemicals for Agriculture Once the land has been cleared, it must be primed to grow large amounts of food. This is done using heavy applications of artificial herbicides and fertilizers. Unfertile soils may require even larger amounts of fertilizers to meet the demand for agricultural production.

Once planted, fertilizers, herbicides, and artificial pesticides are all used throughout the growing process to help promote plant growth with fertilizer , while simultaneously preventing competition from other plants, and degradation from crop-eating pests. The exorbitant use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides is unsustainable and environmentally damaging for two reasons.

First and foremost, they are chemicals that can be toxic when organisms are exposed to high concentrations. While the methods by which these chemicals are applied to crops prevent them from accumulating on the food in harmful concentrations, they are difficult for our bodies to process and consuming large amounts of food treated in this manner could lead to health impacts through bio-accumulation. Application of these chemicals onto crops also causes them to be released into the atmosphere as harmful air pollutants.

Agricultural run-off from heavy rains removes chemicals from the site of food production and transports them to other locations, polluting soils, waterways, and other ecosystems. When natural systems are polluted in this way, the chemicals are absorbed into the tissues of simple organisms, like algae.

These simple organisms are eaten by larger animals further up the food chain; and instead of being destroyed, the chemicals accumulate in the bodies of the larger animals.

The diet that helps fight climate change

At this point they damage the health of the ecosystem by reducing fertility, causing irreparable genetic damage, or even killing important populations. Resource Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions The second reason why using artificial fertilizers and pesticides is unsustainable is because they are very energy-intensive to produce, and thus are heavily dependent on cheap fossil fuels.

As fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases, the production of these chemicals helps contribute to climate change, a major factor for the long-term sustainability of food production. Fossil fuels are also used to fuel farm equipment used in conventional agriculture, like tractors, graders, and combines.

Sustainability | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Air pollutants emitted by this equipment contribute to climate change and can impact the health of individuals far away from the site of food production. Farming also contributes to climate change through the release of methane a major greenhouse gas from the production of livestock animals.

When animals, like cows, eat plants for sustenance, their digestive tracts produce methane gas, which is excreted as gaseous waste. Farm animals consume a huge amount of food over the course of their lives, and thus also produce a huge amount of solid waste. For example, if a single cow produces 35 kilograms of manure each day, and a farmer has a herd of cattle, then that herd will produce over 1. While smaller amounts of manure can be used as a natural fertilizer, this amount is unusable and only serves to pollute the air, water, and land.


In addition to consuming a lot of plant-based food that could be used for human consumption, livestock animals also require large amounts of water. Because water use for crop irrigation is also very intense, we can see how demanding food production is on our potable water resources. Though it may not seem obvious, our water supply is limited, and with climate change expected to enhance drought conditions in the future, conserving water will become more important than ever before.

Conventional agriculture drains our water reserves at an incredible rate, and so we must change how our food is produced if we are to ensure long-term sustainability. After Food Production The environmental damage of food production from conventional agriculture is not limited to deforestation and pollutants associated with crop growth.

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Harvesting the crop represents a significant amount of nutrients, water, and energy being taken from the land. This leaves the land barren, and unfriendly for the growth and development of new organisms and ecosystems.