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Sat May 25, 2019, 12:32 AM

"All of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years"

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday. About a third of the world's soil has already been degraded...

The causes of soil destruction include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation which increases erosion, and global warming. The earth under our feet is too often ignored by policymakers, experts said.

"Soils are the basis of life," said Semedo, FAO's deputy director general of natural resources. "Ninety five percent of our food comes from the soil."

Unless new approaches are adopted, the global amount of arable and productive land per person in 2050 will be only a quarter of the level in 1960, the FAO reported, due to growing populations and soil degradation.

More...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/2014-12-05T165713Z_1_KCN0JJ1R9_RTROPTT_0_US-FOOD-SOIL-FARMING.XML

Another source:

Humans have destroyed a third of Earthís farmland in 40 years | Science | AAAS

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/12/humans-have-destroyed-third-earth-s-farmland-40-years



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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply "All of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years" (Original post)
Duppers May 2019 OP
Duppers May 2019 #1
Billy Ray Joe Bob. May 2019 #2
MasonDreams May 2019 #3
Linda Ed May 2019 #4
Kablooie May 2019 #5
no_hypocrisy May 2019 #6
mopinko May 2019 #7
NickB79 May 2019 #8
mopinko May 2019 #9
Progressive dog May 2019 #10
mopinko May 2019 #11
Calculating May 2019 #12
The_jackalope May 2019 #13
Bayard May 2019 #14
Duppers May 2019 #15

Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 12:34 AM

1. Oh but we must spend resources to go to Mars

Perhaps we can grow food there.



Or build a wall at our boarder at a cost close to $1 Billion per mile.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 02:41 AM

2. Soylent green is people

 

It's amazing how science fiction from 50 years ago is becoming reality. It appears that humankind is a temporary biological infestation of the planet earth and our visit here will be short as time is measured. From overpopulation to massive pollution of the oceans with plastic and industrial waste it seems grim . Sadly we will take many species with us.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 02:45 AM

3. Check out TED Alan Savory

How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change
Too many people , too many cars , not enough sanity.
There are solutions though.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 02:57 AM

4. AND the Mercer's are it again

Robert Mercer wants in on the new Glencore controlled sulfide mine in Minnesota. The same Glencore that is in up to its eyebrows with Putinís pal Oleg Deripaska.

Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV Acquires New Position in Polymet Mining Corp (PLM)
https://mayfieldrecorder.com/2019/05/24/mercer-global-advisors-inc-adv-acquires-shares-of-109269-polymet-mining-corp-plm.html

Ask @amyklobuchar , @TinaSmithMN and @PeteStauber why they support sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior Watershed, and why we should give up our clean water to mine copper and nickel that will probably go to the Russians. Richard Painter

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:32 AM

5. Oh good. Something new to worry about

I was afraid we were running out of worries.
I shouldn't have worried.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 06:20 AM

6. The Sahara Desert in Africa was supposedly green and lush farmland milennia ago.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 06:12 PM

7. i dont understand the hand wringing here. making soil is easy.

called composting. and on a larger scale, hugelkultur.
both can be used to produce new soil, and protect against erosion and runoff.

the 1/3 of our agricultural output that ends up rotting should get back to the land, some land, somewhere.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #7)

Sun May 26, 2019, 12:29 PM

8. Neither are comparable with how modern ag works

Making and applying millions of tons of compost to all the 1000-acre cornfields in the Midwest, running how many semis to haul it? Running $250,000 combines through a field of hugelkultur beds? To say nothing of how more hungry modern hybrid crops are for nutrients, draining the soil faster than in generations past, or how we remove millions of tons of biomass annually for biofuels.

Your solutions would work 150 yr ago, when farmers were small, rotating fields and returning livestock wastes to the land. But there werent 7 billion people around at that time either.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #8)

Sun May 26, 2019, 03:00 PM

9. municipal composting can produce huge quantities.

even like here, where the solids from waste water are spread on farms, we have made it a much better amendment by mixing it roughly 50/50 w woodchips.
the waste from urban forestry is enormous.


farmers could get paid to take tree waste, ring the fields and make dams to stop run off, then plow it in once it has totally decomposed. slow, but worthwhile.

and smaller farms are def a thing that is happening. and they could well be the last resort. so they are not a small part of the puzzle.

not saying the above is a perfect replacement, but it is sure a big piece of the puzzle.

i created about 500 cubic yards of delicious, productive soil to start my farm. it was mostly free to me, besides the cost of acquiring and maintaining a bobcat.
most of the material was from within a mile of my place, saving about 100 trips by big diesel truck of about 50 mi each way.
it requires no till techniques, but that is a thing these days, too.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #9)

Mon May 27, 2019, 10:26 AM

10. Farmers in poor nations use composting as much as they can,

and their soils are still disappearing.
The huge farm yields to feed a huge human population became possible because of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, plant and animal breeding (including GMO), no till agriculture, irrigation, and mechanization. Take any of those away and millions of people will starvw.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Tue May 28, 2019, 10:34 AM

12. Oh joy, another overpopulation problem

Maybe someday humanity will get the hint that this planet cannot support 7+ billion people sustainably and people will stop having kids.

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Response to Calculating (Reply #12)

Tue May 28, 2019, 01:59 PM

13. The planet can't even support 7+billion people un-sustainably.

The truly sustainable population of the planet is probably no more than 100 million hunter-foragers. But once the current cycle of civilization gets done raping the place, it will probably support a tenth of that.

The prospects for humans worldwide to decide to stop having kids are vanishingly remote.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 11:35 AM

14. Deforestation is the worst

Not only does it open the land to be ravaged, it removes protection from wind and erosion.

It also decimates native wildlife:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1127&pid=127950

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Response to Bayard (Reply #14)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:03 PM

15. Not to mention removing great amounts of oxygen-making

Vegetation.

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