Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I read an article about forest conservation in a back issue of Foreign Affairs. A point he brought up that really struck me was one of his variables for the future of the world's forests: organic farming. You see, organic farming isn't as efficient as modern farming, which means that, to provide a similar number of calories, you need more land under cultivation. Thus, to save the lakes and streams from chemical runoff, we farm organically, which means we cut down the trees and plow up the meadows.

So the tree huggers are going head to head with the water wuvers. I will do the sportsman-like thing and cheer them both on.


Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

Maybe we could organize it as a new national gladiatorial sport...

I'd watch, it would be a million times more fun than watching golf or Nascar.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

organic farming isn't as efficient as modern farming

What's his source? Obv. the crop mix is different, and so is the scale.

I would definitely pick the side of the water wuvers, since even our current, "efficient" system has been depleting the aquifers for as long as I've been alive.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

It's the foreign affairs journal, so they don't use footnotes.

Organic farming is logically less efficient, since they don't use pesticides, herbicides (which means that they must employ much more labor, ask Hamlette about hoeing beans), or chemical ferilizers--or even unadulterated pig manure (the runoff is just about as bad as chemical fertilizers).

Organic farming doesn't mean rain-fed agriculture. They can still use irrigation and be organic, so the aquifers aren't an issue. Whether the aquifers get contaminated with phosphorus, however, is an issue.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Hamlette said...

ask Hamlette about hoeing beans

Ahhh, walking beans: it's hot, dirty, and tiring. Your arms ache, you get huge blisters on your hands, and you learn to hate weeds with a vehemence you never thought possible.

My parents called it 'character-building'.

9:21 PM  

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