By Leslie Walker
Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the world, but it also contributes significantly to greenhouse gases (World Resources Institute, 2014). A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs infrared radiation. Since agribusinesses utilizes chemicals, tools, and systems that produce greenhouse gases, it is a contributor to pollution and climate change. Modern agriculture feeds many more people, but it does have an impact on the environment.
Here is an example of the impact of agriculture on its environment. In order for an area to produce a certain crop, it has to have certain environmental conditions. Since crops are produced in vast amounts, the climate has to be able to withstand the environmental changes those same crops cause. Problems can occur when areas become infertile. A solution is to switch crops every few years to keep their soil fertile, but if those same areas are being forced to grow the same crop for multiple years, which may put those areas in danger of soil infertility.
There are ways you can benefit the environment just through your eating habits. Right now, Americans only get 15% of their protein from plants. Other sources are through meats such as beef and pork. Just by shifting your diet to 25% (The Guardian, 2015) plant-based, like having one vegetarian meal a day, you can help increase the water supply and better the environment.
Unfortunately, food industries have such high demand and control over the market that they rarely feel the effects of one less consumer. “A carrot and a stick are needed”, says Kathryn Person, an AP Human Geography teacher, where the carrot is an incentive and the stick the punishment for businesses who defy the regulations.
Changing our habits in favor of the environment is no easy task and cannot be done on a small scale. Mother nature needs people like you to make a change.