THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: The Battle for the Future of Food
We are in the midst of a battle for the future of our food systems. In spite of persistent denials, today’s so-called modern food system simply cannot be sustained for much longer. Mounting evidence of the negative impacts of today’s dominant systems of food production on the natural environment, public health, animal welfare, and the quality of rural life is becoming difficult to deny or ignore.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) consistently identifies agriculture as the leading nonpoint source of pollution of rivers and streams and a major contributor to pollution of lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and groundwater (U.S. EPA, n.d.). Massive “dead zones,” such as those in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay, developed with the industrialization of American agriculture (National Geographic Society, 2011). Agriculture has also been identified as a major contributor to global climate change. Experts disagree, but an emerging consensus seems to be that agriculture globally contributes about 15% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions—about the same as transportation (Nahigyan, 2016). Animal agriculture is a major contributor, and environmentalists have joined animal welfare advocates in calling for an end to industrial animal agriculture....
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