Project Issue: Industrial Agriculture & Extractive Industries

Industrial Agriculture & Extractive Industries
November 20, 2016 Shawn Sweeney
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Feeding the World Without the Cost to Ecosystems

The biggest cause of tropical deforestation is conversion of forests to pasture and cropland. Expanding agricultural sites, and specifically international industrial agriculture, is a central driver behind forest destruction and species extinction. Conversion of forest to large scale farms also quickly exhausts soil health, provides detrimental runoff, and removes wildlife habitat. It isolates wild populations by creating forest fragments, pollutes water and increases climate change through both habitat loss/deforestation, CO2/Methane release, and removal of trees which sequester carbon.

The majority of American farmland is overrun with industrial agriculture along with large scale animal production for consumption, and global agriculture is rapidly moving in this direction. Industrial agriculture includes the heavy handed use of chemicals, single-crop farms (monocultures) and expansive meat production (confined animal feeding operations). Regardless of the form, industrial agriculture’s methodology produces highly detrimental effects to the environment. With crops grown in the U.S. supplying 25% of all grains on the global market, it is a massive industry which damages ecosystems worldwide and threatens its very own existence by accelerating global warming.

JGI is tackling addressing all that industrial agriculture harms including preventing chemical fertilizer runoff, reducing climate change emissions, stopping the use of insecticides which devastate pollinator populations. We are committed to reducing loss of biodiversity in and around monocultural fields, along with providing alternative sustainable agricultural and other livelihood options and tools. Jane Goodall and JGI have been adamant about discussing and educating the public on the ways agriculture has developed for profit over environmental safety and human or non-human animal health. Through raising awareness, providing sources of income outside of industrial agriculture and working with legislators and governments, we’re taking back the use of land for growing food for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

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Photo credits on this page, top to bottom and left to right: JGI/Shawn Sweeney

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