The Cost of Land Degradation
AwN | It is always good when someone can put an extremely high dollar cost figure on a process that negatively effects the environment. Unfortunately it seems to me that the short term economic gain is still superior to any long term thinking. Even this article seems to treat not only the problem as ecnomic but the solution as an economic boon. Of course this article also throws global warming into the fray even though its effects are almost if not entirely in the future. Humans have been destroying landscapes LONG before 'global warming'. Likewise they tie global warming to migrations at a time when the violent destruction of land in and around Syria has cause so much more pain than their hypothetical future; I digress...
I do not think actual economy will support the necessary systems to stop land degredation any time soon. While oil is subsidized it is not likely that it will ever be economical to care about the destruction of the landscape; forgoing giant tractors, chemical fertilizers, and monocrops of corn in leveld forest fields, is simply not how I see the near future going. Current success stories are usually about exceptional people but thus far only reproducible by dedicated individuals on small scale. While this could ramp up to larger scale I have not really seen any indication yet that it will. The possible solutions to this dilema, as I see them, are economic collapse coupled with a severe restriction of oil and coal. An actual paradigm change for the minds of men, where people value human labor and clean food the same way they might a subscription to cable or joy ride in an SUV. The final option would be political, but they almost never accomplish anything outstanding so I have severe doubts.
But when it comes to land degredation there is almost or no one I know who does not contribute. It is why I say that it is impossible to live a moral life in the modern era without taking an extremely divergent path from main stream society. I work many hours every week for years now and I know I still contribute to land degredation. Until we start adopting proper agricultural solutions and implement time sensitive (100 or 1000 year cropping systems will always be behind where we need to be. Production of the things you need to survive is the only way you can help, and until you start everything you say or do about the injustice of land degredation is phony. There are very simple ways to start helping and no excuses to not.
Land degradation costs the world up to $10.6tn a year, report says
Land degradation is costing the world as much as $10.6tn every year, equivalent to 17% of global gross domestic product, a report has warned.
More than half of the world’s arable land is moderately or severely degraded, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative (pdf). The report estimates the cost of this environmental destruction, not only from lost agricultural production and diminished livelihoods, but also from the lost value of ecosystem services formerly provided by the land, including water filtration, erosion prevention, nutrient cycling and the provision of clean air.
Land degradation – decreased vegetation cover and increased soil erosion – also means that land is less able to store carbon, contributing to climate change. Land use changes represent the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuel combustion, the study says.
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