Tag: food

The War on Wildlife | It’s time to talk food

‘Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss’ “explores the role of the global food system as the principal driver of accelerating biodiversity loss” and the authors explicitly state that “food production is degrading or destroying natural habitats and contributing to species extinction”. They go on to explain how what they term the ‘cheaper food paradigm’ has driven the expansion of agricultural land and intensive farming. Failure to account for the environmental cost of food production has led to habitat destruction and pollution, driving wildlife loss”. Essentially, our global food system is a vicious circle of cheap food, where low costs drive a bigger demand for food and more waste. More competition then drives costs even lower through more clearing of natural land and use of polluting fertilisers and pesticides. Agriculture is now the main threat to 86% of the 28,000 species known to be at risk of extinction.

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Who eats all the soya?

One of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss is habitat loss to agriculture – in other words, enormous changes to natural habitats to grow our food. It’s estimated that as recently as 1000 years ago, less than 4% of the world’s ice-free and non-barren land area was used for farming. Now we have taken nearly HALF of all habitable land on the planet for our agriculture. The vast Cerrado region of Brazil, for example, once covered an area half the size of Europe, but around half the native savannah and forest of the Cerrado has been converted to agriculture since the late 1950s. Converted mainly for beef cattle ranching and to grow soybeans. Since the 1950s global soybean production has increased 15 times over. But who – or what – is eating all those beans…?

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