Research


Critical Research Relating To Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture, Health & Food

The following research has a direct impact on you, your family, and the global community. Although this research comes from the most credible sources (professors at top universities, Department Of Defense, etc), you will not likely find this information available in mainstream news sources. Although it's a bit wordy, please take the time to educate yourself and share what you learn from this compilation. Pay special attention to the sources of research and follow the provided links to verify and learn more.

Note: If you have difficulty believing much of the following information, please see our article on Whey We Ignore Science

Pesticides and Health

  • Pesticides such as DDT (still present although banned), organophosphate, atrazine, carbamates malathion, and bendiocarb, are directly linked to causing multiple diseases and illnesses:

  • brain cancer

  • breast cancer

  • leukemia (especially childhood leukemia)

  • obesity

  • heart disease

  • birth defects

  • lower birth weights

  • lower cognitive scores

  • immune system disorders

  • delays in learning rates

  • reduced physical coordination

  • Parkinson's disease

  • behavioral problems in children (especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

  • premature birth

  • infertility in men

  • early puberty in girls

  • A study published by the United States National Research Council in 1993 determined that for infants and children, the major source of exposure to pesticides is through diet [1A]

  • According to USDA research, some fruits and vegetables contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving

  • Pesticides are designed to kill things by attacking an organism's reproductive system

  • Washing fruits and vegetables does not usually reduce exposure

  • Children's growing brains are the most vulnerable to pesticides in food

  • Eating mostly organic food reduces 95 percent of pesticides in the body in two weeks

  • A new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, has discovered a 70% increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's disease for people exposed to even low levels of pesticides

  • In the United States, birth defects have been linked to conceptions taking place when highest levels of agrochemicals were present in surface water

  • Pesticide use has increased 50-fold since 1950 and 2.5 million tons of industrial pesticides are now used each year.

  • Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil.

  • Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides are persistent organic pollutants and contribute to soil contamination.

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  • Pesticide poisoning is a serious health problem that disproportionately affects infants and children

  • Diet can be a major source of exposure for children

  • As they grow, children drink more water and eat more food, per body weight, than do adults therefore, water and food containing pesticide residues are a source of chronic, low-level or high-level pesticide exposure

  • When a mother to be is exposed to pesticides, the child becomes exposed as well, before birth, while still in the womb

  • Small children can also come into contact with persistent and bio-accumulative pesticides through breast feeding

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  • Organic growing methods resulted in produce with increased antioxidants and vitamin C, compared to conventionally grown strawberries

  • Organic produce shows fewer instances of post-harvest fungal rots than conventional produce, despite the fact that no fungicides were used on the organic fields

  • Organic soil had higher levels of beneficial zinc, boron, sodium, and iron, compared to soil used for conventional crops

  • Organic soils contain a significantly higher amount of unique genes and overall genetic diversity

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Food Freshness And Nutrition

  • Most store-bought produce is picked weeks, if not months before the consumer receives it

  • Although store-bought produce may look fresh, in most cases it is not

  • Research indicates that produce can lose up to half of its nutrients within a week after harvesting

  • Once a vegetables or fruit is picked, it immediately goes into senescence, which is a irreversible decay process

  • Frozen produce usually goes through this same deteriorating, decaying process

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  • While weight, color and texture appeared similar, there were significant nutritional differences in produce. Organically grown foods are richer in minerals than their look-alike commercially grown products

  • By comparison, today's commercially grown vegetables contain 87% less minerals and trace elements

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  • In the last 50 years, most produce available in the United States has lost up to 40 percent of its nutritional value due to current farming methods

  • Most produce is grown using synthetic fertilizers which have minimal microorganisms - living organisms necessary for proper plant and food nutrition

  • Most food is grown for long shelf life and high yields, not for nutrient value

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Food Safety

  • The United States receives over $70 billion a year worth of agricultural products from other countries

  • The FDA only inspects 1.3 percent of the food being imported

  • Many of the countries the US receives produce from are known to use unsafe farming practices

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Climate Change

  • U.S. intelligence agencies accepted the consensual scientific view of global warming, including the conclusion that it is too late to avert significant disruption over the next two decades

  • By 2025, droughts, food shortages and scarcity of fresh water will plague large swaths of the globe

  • Water scarcity and decreased agricultural productivity could force human migration, and that migration and resource scarcity could cause or aggravate tensions between migrants and received populations

  • Severe weather events could have significant economic costs, which could further destabilize affected regions

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  • An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately

  • As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions

  • By 2020 "catastrophic"' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, likely plunging the planet into war

  • It is already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening

  • "We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years."

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  • Climate changes were outpacing worst-case scenarios forecast in 2007 by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • Expecting extreme temperatures such as events like heat waves to get more frequent and so, for example, the 2003 heatwave that affected Western Europe is expected to get more like an average summer by the 2040s and actually a low temperature for the summer by the 2060s

  • The effects of temperature rise are being experienced on a global scale

  • Many of the regions that are projected to experience the largest climate changes are already vulnerable to environmental stress from resource shortages, rapid urbanisation, population rise and industrial development

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  • The average U.S. temperature has risen 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since reliable record-keeping began in 1895 — 80% of that has occurred since 1980. The increase might seem small, but scientists warn that a ripple effect can trigger "tipping points," beyond which the planet may not be able to recover.

  • The economic costs of all these changes are enormous — not only for those directly affected but also for the nation's taxpayers, who are stuck with the bills for disaster relief, national flood insurance and drought-related crop losses.

  • Climate Change is causing more American children asthma and allergies, and more seniors are suffering heat strokes. Food and utility prices are rising. Flooding is overrunning bridges, swamping subways and closing airport runways. People are losing jobs in drought-related factory closings. Cataclysmic storms are wiping out sprawling neighborhoods. Towns are sinking.

  • Climate change will strain the U.S. military by triggering unpredictable water, food and energy shortages, according to a 2012 study commissioned by the CIA and done by the National Research Council.

  • Defense Department officials worry about the political unrest that climate disruptions could cause, putting the threat in stark terms: "It's right up there with (North) Korea and Iran.

  • Drought afflicted as much as 65% of the contiguous states last year and still lingers in more than half of the country. Corn, wheat and soybean crops were decimated, prompting a rise in food prices. Nearly two dozen ethanol plants in 13 states halted production because they lacked a key ingredient: corn.

  • The U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952

  • Even if fossil fuel use stops, current high CO2 levels will linger in the atmosphere for millennia — what many scientists call the "the long tail."

  • Kim Knowlton, a health professor at Columbia University, says people need to act quickly, adding: "Climate change is not a place and time distant — it's here and now."

  • Rain now occurs less often, but when it does rain, we're more likely to experience downpours. So wet regions will be wetter, causing flash flooding. Dry ones will get drier, resulting in drought. Heat, of course, is another consequence. So a heat wave that used to occur once every 100 years now happens every five years.

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Sustainable Agriculture

  • U.S. farmers are facing the daunting challenges of meeting the food, feed, and fiber needs of the nation and of a growing global population and of contributing to U.S. biofuel production, under the constraints of rising production costs, increasingly scarce natural resources, poor soil and climate change

  • Agriculture is at a pivotal stage in terms of meeting societal demands for products while improving sustainability

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  • Global grain production must double by 2050 to address rising population and demand

  • Crop yields will suffer unless new approaches to adapt crop plants to climate change are adopted

  • Improved agronomic traits responsible for the remarkable increases in yield accomplished during the past 50 years have reached their ceiling for some of the world's most important crops

  • At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 260 parts per million (ppm), today they have increased to 385 ppm

  • By 2050, carbon dioxide levels are expected to be 600 ppm

  • Elevated carbon dioxide is creating a global warming effect that in turn is driving other climate change factors such as precipitation patterns

  • By 2050, rainfall during the Midwest growing season is projected to drop 30 percent

  • Studies show that yields in the tri-state area of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have been suppressed by 15 percent due to ozone pollution

  • Agricultural areas located near industrial areas will face the greatest challenges

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  • Industrial agriculture has degraded the natural resource base on which human survival depends and now threatens water, energy and climate security

  • Continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes, including transgenic crops, is not a solution to reducing persistent hunger and poverty and could exacerbate environmental problems and worsen social inequity

  • Industrial agriculture has also critiqued transnational agribusiness influence over public policy and the unfair global trade policies that have left more than half of the world's population malnourished.

  • Today's crisis lie in decades of government neglect of the small-farm sector, grossly unfair trade arrangements and Northern governments' practice of dumping their food surpluses in developing countries at prices far below local cost of production.

  • These factors, along with heavy reliance on environmentally destructive industrial agricultural practices, have destroyed rural farm communities around the world, undermining their ability to produce or buy food and contributing to environmental pollution, water scarcity, increasing poverty and hunger.

  • The U.S. and Australia were especially stung by criticism of their trade liberalization policies, which were found to have had adverse social and environmental impacts while doing little to alleviate hunger and poverty.

  • World food prices climbed 83% over the past three years; wheat prices soared 130% in the past year.

  • Food riots have rocked Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Somalia, the Philippines, Uzbekistan and Yemen - and toppled the government in Haiti.

  • Although 2007 saw record global grain harvests, nearly a billion people remain hungry.

  • While millions of small farmers struggle to survive, transnational corporations' seed and chemical sales skyrocket - ADM 42%, Cargill 86%, Monsanto 108%, Bunge 1,964%.

  • Our agricultural systems have resulted in adverse effects in some parts of the world on soils, water, and biodiversity

  • Our agricultural systems have contributed to human-induced climate change and, in turn, human-induced climate change threatens agricultural productivity.

  • In Central/West Asia and North Africa, unique agricultural biodiversity is beginning to disappear which will likely result in limited water supplies and climate change

  • In East/South Asia and the Pacific, development in the region is increasing pollution levels which will likely trigger large-scale migration

  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, increased yield from agriculture has not led to a significant decrease in poverty and food imports have created dependence and disruption to local production

  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture accounts for about 32% of the region's GDP, yet 80% of arable land is experiencing water scarcity

  • In North America and Europe, private sector funding has affected the direction of agricultural research and has increased the influence of transnational companies

  • It recommended a fundamental rethink of agricultural knowledge, science and technology, in order to achieve a sustainable global food system.

  • The experts state that efforts should focus on the needs of small-scale farmers in diverse ecosystems, and areas with the greatest needs.

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  • Because of climate change, crops will be stressed and weeds and insects will change their range

  • The Midwest climate has already become wetter and warmer

  • Climate change is happening at a much greater and accelerated pace than we ever expected 30 years ago," said Richard Leopold, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

  • Records show a rise in absolute humidity, threatening crops with a higher risk of disease and harmful fungi

  • Models predict more-intense rains, worsening runoff and related pollution and flooding

  • Extreme events such as heavy downpours and droughts are likely to reduce crop yields because excesses or deficits of water have negative impacts on plant growth

  • Pest species, both plants and insects, are spreading into areas that don't currently treat crops with chemicals aimed at those particular invaders

  • Weeds, diseases and insect pests benefit from warming, and weeds also benefit from a higher carbon dioxide concentration, increasing stress on crop plants and requiring more attention to pest and weed control

  • Florida sweet corn growers spray pesticides 15 to 32 times a year, while New York farmers spray five or fewer times

  • Scientists expect the warming to disrupt a hallmark farming industry: livestock production Increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity

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Crop Yields - Organic vs. Conventional/Genetically Modified

  • Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yield

  • Most agricultural gains are due to traditional breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices

  • Organic and low-external-input methods of crop production generally produce yields comparable or better than conventional methods of growing corn and soybeans

  • Organic growing methods have less impact on the environment than Genetically Engineered crops which require higher amounts of fertilizers and pesticides to make them successful

  • Organic and similar farming methods that minimize the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can more than double crop yields at minimal cost to poor farmers such as those in developing regions like Sub-Saharan Africa

  • If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields

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  • Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base.

  • These results indicate that organic agriculture has the potential to contribute quite substantially to the global food supply, while reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of conventional agriculture.

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Cancer Rates (Overall)

  • Global cancer rates are expected to increase 50 percent by the year 2020

  • In industrialized countries more than one in four people will die from the disease, a rate more than twice as high as developing countries

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  • Approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from cancer

  • Many known or suspected carcinogens first identified through studies of industrial and agricultural occupational exposures have since found their way into soil, air, water, and numerous consumer products

  • While all Americans now carry many foreign chemicals in their bodies, women often have higher levels of many toxic and hormone-disrupting substances than do men.

  • Some of these chemicals have been found in maternal blood, placental tissue, and breast milk samples from pregnant women and mothers who recently gave birth

  • Children of all ages are considerably more vulnerable than adults to increased cancer risk and other adverse effects from virtually all harmful environmental exposures

  • Chemical contaminants are being passed on to the next generation, both prenatally and during breastfeeding

  • The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals

  • Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic

  • In addition to pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and veterinary pharmaceuticals are major contributors to water pollution, both directly and as a result of chemical processes that form toxic by-products when these substances enter the water supply

  • Opportunities for eliminating or minimizing cancer-causing and cancer-promoting environmental exposures must be acted upon to protect all Americans, but especially children.

  • In the United States, about 42 billion pounds of chemicals are produced or imported daily

  • Many of the current U.S. standards and related regulations for chemical and other exposures were set in the 1950s, and few are stringently enforced

  • Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing foods grown with pesticides or chemical fertilizers

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Breast Cancer Increases

  • Breast cancer rates have risen about 30% in the past 25 years in western countries

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  • UK government claims Breast cancer incidents have risen 80% since the Seventies

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  • Women exposed before mid-adolescence, were found to be predict a five-fold increase in breast cancer risk

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  • Breast cancer rates will no doubt increase

  • It's crucial that women's awareness of their risk and their expectations of their government and the medical community regarding detection and treatment increase at a similar rate

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Chemical Toxicity In The Human Body

  • In 2005 an American study showed that newborn babies have an average of 200 non-natural chemicals in their blood - including pesticides, dioxins, industrial chemicals and flame retardants

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  • Women who live near California farm fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides may be more likely to give birth to children with autism

  • The rate of autism among the children of 29 women who lived near the fields was extremely high, suggesting that exposure to the insecticides in the womb played a role

  • The study is the first to report a link between pesticides and the neurological disorder, which affects one in every 150 children

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  • In 1999, a 210% increase in the number of children with autism reported to the Department of Developmental Services in California from 1987 to 1998 suggested that the incidence of autism was rapidly increasing

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  • Every person alive today carries a wide assortment of synthetic chemicals in his or her body

  • Some chemicals have been accumulating in our blood and tissues since before we were born, when they were transferred to us from our mothers in the womb

  • Many of the chemicals we carry in our bodies are pesticides, the only toxic chemicals intentionally applied and released into the environment that are designed to kill living things

  • Many of the pesticides that were widely used in the past - such as DDT and chlordane in the 1950's and 1960's - are still found in our bodies, even in children born long after the chemicals were banned in the U.S

  • Across the globe, pesticides have been found in people's blood, urine, breast milk, semen, adipose (fatty) tissue, amniotic fluid, infant meconium (first stool) and umbilical cord blood

  • Dramatic increases in the use of pesticides and other chemicals since the 1950's directly parallel the increased incidence of diseases associated with environmental contamination

  • One in four people in the U.S. today will contract cancer during his or her lifetime

  • Other chronic illnesses or health effects with strong evidence of linkages to pesticide exposure include Parkinson's Disease, low birth weight, birth defects and declining sperm counts

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Chemical Toxicity And Human Behaviour

  • Heavy metal toxicity has been proven to cause physical and mental imbalances. High copper levels in the bloodstream, for example, as well as low levels of zinc, have been linked to violent behavior in numerous studies.

  • A study conducted by Dr. William Walsh, president of the Health Research Institute (HRI) states the following results: "Our preliminary findings show that young men who have varying levels of angry, violent behavior also have elevated copper and depressed zinc levels; the non-assaultive controls in our study did not." This study led Dr. Walsh to conclude that "behavioral disorders are correlated to abnormal metal metabolism or other body chemistry irregularities."

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Early Childhood Puberty

  • In the 1800's, the average age of the first menstrual period was 17 years old

  • In 1900, the average age of the first menstrual period was 14 years old

  • Today, the average age of the first menstrual period is 12 years old

  • 13% of all 7 year old girls are already beginning puberty

  • Early puberty increases the odds of developing breast cancer later in life

  • High blood levels of estrogen are a major risk factor for breast cancer

  • If the arc between the first menses and menopause is lengthened, the risk of breast cancer shoots up

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  • In a study to measure blood levels of the chemicals, levels of PCBs, DDT and related pesticides, and flame retardants in nearly 600 girls, ages six to eight were tested

  • These chemicals can act like hormones

  • Scientists and public health experts want to know how they might affect children as they develop through adolescence and into adulthood

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Obesity

  • Certain hormone-mimicking pollutants act on genes in the developing fetus and newborn to turn more precursor cells into fat cells

  • These chemicals remain in the human body for the lifetime

  • They may alter metabolic rate, so that the body hoards calories rather than burning them, like a physiological Scrooge

  • This indicates that being overweight is not just the result of personal choices about what you eat, combined with inactivity

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Male Fertility

  • Sperm counts in men worldwide have declined about 50 percent since 1940

  • The studies came from around the world, with about half of the men being from in the U.S.

  • If such a decline in sperm count continues, the human race will be unable to reproduce beginning sometime in the next century, although some scientists claim occurrences could be within 10 years

  • Researchers at the University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium, found that counts among their sperm donors had declined about 10 million per ml between 1977 and 1994

  • Three California Health Services Departments found that average sperm counts among healthy American men dropped by 1.5 percent each year between 1938 and 1990 -- a decline more rapid than previous studies have suggested

  • Further evidence of a large-scale problems comes from studies of other male reproductive disorders

  • The incidence of testicular cancer has increased as much as 3 or 4 times since the 1940s

  • The incidence of undescended testes and other anatomical abnormalities of male genitals has also increased

  • 50 currently used pesticides (internationally) have caused problems related to male fertility in laboratory or clinical tests

  • Eight out of the 25 pesticides most extensively used in U.S. agriculture have adversely affected sperm production or the functioning of sex hormones in laboratory animals or humans

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Hunger

  • 50 million people in the United States, including almost one child in four, struggled last year to get enough to eat

  • Dependable access to adequate food has especially deteriorated among families with children

  • The number of youngsters in the United States who sometimes were outright hungry has risen from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million

  • Among Americans of all ages, more than 16 percent (or 49 million people) sometimes ran short of nutritious food

  • The problem lies at least partly in wages, not entirely an absence of work

  • Federal food assistance programs are only partly fulfilling their purpose

  • Food shortages are particularly pronounced among women raising children alone

  • More than one in three single mothers reported that they struggled for food, and more than one in seven said that someone in their home had been hungry

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  • 1.02 billion people globally are undernourished

  • A major factor in world hunger is neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies

  • 1.02 billion people is 15 percent of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion

  • Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition

  • Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year

  • Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths

  • Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria

  • The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. 

  • Climate change is increasingly viewed as a current and future cause of hunger and poverty

  • Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns requiring a shift in crops and farming practices that may not be easily accomplished are three key issues

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  • By 2025, it is expected that the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter due to domestic demand

  • The impact on the U.S. economy could be devastating, as food exports earn $40 billion for the U.S. annually - millions of people around the world could starve to death without U.S. food exports

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Water

  • It's estimated that by 2025, more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability

  • A recent report (November 2009) suggests that by 2030, in some developing regions of the world, water demand will exceed supply by 50%

  • Some five million deaths a year are caused by polluted drinking water

  • Irrigation takes up to 90% of water withdrawn in some developing countries and significant proportions in more economically developed nations

  • Agriculture consumes fully 85% of all U.S. freshwater resources

  • In the United States, less than 0.1% of the stored ground water mined annually (aquifers, etc) is replaced by rainfall

  • The UN World Water Development Report indicates that in the next 20 years, the quantity of water available to everyone is predicted to decrease by 30%

  • 40% of the world's inhabitants currently have insufficient fresh water for minimal hygiene

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General Pollution

  • Water, air and soil pollution causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide

  • Serious environmental resource problems of water, land and energy are exponentially effecting food production, malnutrition and the incidence of diseases

  • 1.2 billion people lack clean water

  • Waterborne infections account for 80 percent of all infectious diseases

  • Increased water pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, killing 1.2 million to 2.7 million people a year

  • Air pollution kills about 3 million people a year

  • Unsanitary living conditions account for more than 5 million deaths each year - more than half of these deaths occur in children.

  • In the United States alone, about 250 million metric tons of toxic chemicals are released into the environment contributing to cancer, birth defects, immune system defects and many other serious health problems

  • Soil is contaminated by many chemicals and pathogens, which are passed on to humans through direct contact or via food and water

  • Growing numbers of people lack basic needs, such as pure water and ample food

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  • There are over 146 dead zones globally in our ocean - masses of water where marine life can not be supported due to depleted oxygen levels

  • Use of chemical fertilizers is considered the major human-related cause of dead zones around the world

  • Currently the most notorious dead zone is a 8,543 square mile region in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River dumps high-nutrient runoff from its vast drainage basin, which includes the heart of U.S. agribusiness, the Midwest (existed before the BP/Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010)

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General Environmental Degradation

  • Goal of study was to gather empirical data to test a theoretical situation showing "the interrelationship of some key global growth factors: population, resources, persistent pollution, food production and industrial activity."

  • What we know is that energy, food and material consumption will certainly fall, and that is likely to be occasioned by all sorts of social problems that we really didn't model in our analysis.

  • If the physical parameters of the planet are declining, there is virtually no chance that freedom, democracy and a lot of the immaterial things we value will be going up.

  • In the world model, if you don’t make big changes soon, population, industry, food and the other variables reach their peaks and then start to fall.

  • It is too late for sustainable development and it is now time for resilience.

  • We’re at 150 percent of the global carrying capacity (human population).

  • The United States, for example, has the highest number of prisoners per capita in the world. We have the largest debt. Social mobility in this country is lower than many of the other industrialized nations. The gap between the rich and the poor is bigger. We have lots of problems, and a better indicator of national success would start to pull them in, quantify them and combine them in some way.

  • Most areas of the world now we are over-pumping groundwater

  • We are coming soon to the time where our use of those aquifers will not be able to exceed their annual recharge. That will mean that food that is currently being produced by overuse of water will need either to disappear or to come from very different methods.

  • Most of the computer models found steady population and economic growth rates until about 2030. Then, the researchers found, conditions begin to decline, and without "drastic measures for environmental protection," scenarios began predicting higher likelihoods of population and economic crashes.

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Petroleum

  • In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American

  • Pesticides and fertilizers are made from petroleum

  • In the year from June 30 2001 until June 30 2002, the United States used 12,009,300 short tons of nitrogen fertilizer made from 96.2 million barrels of petroleum

  • Total fossil fuel use in the United States has increased 20-fold in the last 4 decades

  • In the United States, we consume 20 to 30 times more fossil fuel energy per capita than people in developing nations

  • Agriculture directly accounts for 17% of all the energy used in this country

  • As of 1990, we were using approximately 1,000 liters (6.41 barrels) of oil to produce food of one hectare (10000 square meters) of land

  • As fossil fuel production begins to decline within the next decade, there will be less energy available for the production of food

  • Worldwide, more nitrogen fertilizer is used per year than can be supplied through natural sources

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  • Production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006, which has been termed as Peak Oil

  • Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline.

  • Because of the now terminal decline in crude oil, a proactive mitigation is no longer an option and global depression is predicted

  • A lack of petroleum will likely initiate a chain reaction such as a collapse of global industrial civilization, potentially leading to large population declines within a short period.

  • Throughout the first two quarters of 2008, there were signs that a global recession was being made worse by a series of record oil prices

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  • Crude Oil is one of the primary factors that has allowed the global rate of population growth top exist

  • When petroleum ceases to exists, as it is heading now, so does the poulation it supports unless other energy sourses are discovered (which hasn't yet been accoplished on a workable and sustainable level)

  • Almost everything we do and use as humans is connected to petroleum:

  • Energy used in the manufacturing of automobiles

  • Supplies used in the manufacturing of automobiles

  • Raw material to make automotive tires and plastic

  • Driving of automobiles, train, trucking system, planes, shipping system, etc

  • Operation of all military equipment

  • Raw material used to make synthetic fertilizer and pesticides used to grow majority of crops

  • Operating machinery to plant, harvest, and package crops

  • Transportation to deliver our food (average produce travels 1,800 miles before it reaches the supermarket)

  • Energy and materials used to make houses, buildings, roads, and the rest of our infrastructure.

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  • Current projections put the petroleum supply fully depleted anywhere from 2028 to 2070, with the highest probability range being between 2036 and 2050.

  • These projected dates could be much sooner, based on accelerated rates of population growth, such as in China.

  • As we progressively approach the depletion point, full prices are expected rise at an unprecedented rate, due to lack of supply

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Soil Degradation

  • Soil degradation is increasing demands of pesticides, fertilization, water and energy costs (for irrigation) simply to maintain current crop yields globally

  • It takes 500 years to replace 1 inch of topsoil

  • This soil in the United States is eroding 30 times faster than the natural formation rate

  • Stocks of important minerals, such as phosphorus and potassium (used to fertilize soil), are quickly approaching exhaustion

  • Sediment (loose soil) washed off fields is the largest source of agricultural pollution in the United States

  • An estimated 75 billion tons of soil is lost annually with more than 80 per cent of the world's farming land "moderately or severely eroded" It is estimated that up to 40% of the world's agricultural land is seriously degraded

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  • Minerals are disappearing from agricultural soils at an alarming rate

  • Soil contains bacteria, fungi, plant and animal life, in a state of constant interaction and balance - every one of these organisms needs dozens of different minerals to survive and play its part in the ecosystem

  • There is deep concern over continuing major declines in the mineral values in farm and range soils throughout the world

  • Over the last 100 years, average mineral levels in agricultural soils had fallen worldwide - by 72% in Europe, 76% in Asia and 85% in North America

  • Artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides diminish minerals in the soil reduce the uptake of trace minerals by plants

  • Because of soil mineral depletion and the reduced availability of those minerals, most of the food that we eat is mineral deficient

  • Minerals are an essential part of our natural diet and a lack of them may in part account for our increasing susceptibility to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illnesses

  • Minerals are needed for the proper formation of blood and bone, the maintenance of healthy nerve function, heartbeat regulation, reproduction and fetal development

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Policy Challenges Of Sustainable Agriculture/Food Security

  • As United Nation reports States, United States agricultural and climate change policy is controlled by corporate interest

  • With federal funding cuts, universities are increasingly relying on grant funding from agricultural chemical corporations and big-food companies, creating biased research practices, biased reports and conflicts of interest

  • Roger Beachy, the Chief Scientist of the US Department of Agriculture and avid biotech supporter, is the former founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute co-founded by Monsanto and the Danforth Foundation - conflict of interest

  • Research is focused on technologies which keep big business making profits, not on sustainable agriculture and food security - conflict of interest

  • There is little funding being put into developing sustainable agricultural systems, which provide populations of people with affordable food, using renewable and readily available resources

  • Chief Policy Maker for FDA, Michael Taylor, is former Monsanto Vice President (appointed by Obama) - conflict of interest

  • Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture is supporter of Monsanto and Big Chemical Companies (appointed by Obama) - as former Iowa governor, he was criticized often for traveling frequently by Monsanto jets - conflict of interest

  • James Hansen, former scientist for EPA resigned over allegations his research was being altered, suppressed - he now works for American Wildlife Federation

  • Bush Administration was caught doctoring climate reports of NASA astrobiologist

  • Unlike many other countries, the United States repeatedly backs away from signing UN environmental and sustainable agriculture treaties

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  • Only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough

  • "Ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so on - all of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is a deluded fantasy."

  • "Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable."

  • "I see it with everybody. People just want to go on doing what they're doing. They want business as usual. They say, 'Oh yes, there's going to be a problem up ahead,' but they don't want to change anything."

  • "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

  • And recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures".

  • Global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics.

  • Lovelock believes the world's best hope is to invest in adaptation measures to prepare what is soon to come

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