audibleecoscience Earth Headphones

Audibleecoscience is a database of podcasts on subjects related to global change biology. It is designed as a resource for the general public and for educators looking to assign "required listening" to their students. Reviews of each podcast and links to the original source have been provided by students taking the IB107 class at the University of Illinois. The database is fully text searchable or you can browse on your favorite subject...
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Crops and Food Security

Jonathon Foley: The other inconvenient truth

Media Source: TED
Program Name: TED
Show Name: Jonathon Foley: The other inconvenient truth
Broadcast Year: 2012
Original Link:

Praised as a foundation of civilization, agriculture is a necessity for current human life. Jonathon Foley explains that agriculture, however, is the largest human contributor to climate change, providing 30% of the current CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. About 40% of the earth’s land surface is used for agriculture, and this and is increasing as the need for more food increases. This expansion causes tropical deforestation in many areas, which is damaging to the atmosphere, humans as well as the ecosystems in these areas. This expansion has also caused us to start farming in areas which are to suitable for farming. These farming methods have increased the need for irrigation and dried up many water sources. For example, lettuce is currently grown in Arizona and the water for irrigation is routed from the Colorado river. Due to this, the Colorado river no longer reaches the ocean. The Aral Sea has also dried to dessert due to irrigation to make cotton, causing the extinction of 19 fish species. Agriculture is the single biggest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and water use on the entire planet. Foley explains that as population increase, we are expected to meet this increase in food demand but currently have no way how. Instead of expansion, we should “freeze” the footprint we are making by farming the land we have in a more efficient way. He proposes we start “terraculture,” farming for the planet.

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