esrm100s09 - Lesson 9 Agriculture and Environment Big...

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Lesson 9: Agriculture and Environment Big Question: Can We Feed the World Without Destroying the Environment?
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington Some Facts about Agriculture Agriculture may be the most sustainable human activity. How much do we actually consume each year? In America, we consume more than half a ton of food a year per person. Farmers feed the more than 6 billion people in the world (see the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Clock for the current world population.
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington What Do We All Eat? Most of the world’s food is provided by only 14 plant species.
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington Where the World’s Major Crops Grow
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington The Bad News About Farming Farming often degrades soil. Fertilizers and pesticides affect soil, water, and downstream ecosystems. Irrigation of farmland can lead to salinization (the buildup of salts in the soil to the point that crops can no longer grow). Irrigation can also cause an accumulation of toxic metals. •Farming can cause a loss of biodiversity.
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington Population Growth and Food Production Another big problem: if the human population doubles as expected, agricultural production will need to double. Where would we produce all that additional food?
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington Dust Bowls and Our Eroding Soils “The Worst Hard Time” http://www.amazon.com/Worst-Hard-Time-Survived- American/dp/061834697X; The Plow that Broke the Plains http://www.archive.org/details/PlowThatBrokethePlains1
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington Soil Conservation Practices Reduce Erosion "Soil Erosion in the Palouse River Basin: Indications of Improvement" at http://wa.water.usgs.gov/pubs/fs/fs069-98/
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Lesson 9 / ESRM 100 / University of Washington The Plow Puzzle
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