Aquaponics as an Alternative to Conventional Agriculture Essay

1997 Words8 Pages
The greatest 21st-century challenge that humanity will face is not terrorism, disease, or warfare. It is not solely an issue of politics, inequality, or climate change. Instead, it is the kindling that fuels and exacerbates all other issues. Our greatest challenge is one of demography. The problem is that we exist, or rather, that too many of us do, and that we are running out of ways to feed ourselves. The most pressing issue we must decide how to handle, in the face of booming population, is how to deal with our current agricultural system. This paper will present the most damaging side-effects of conventional agriculture and will show how aquaponics, a nearly entirely self-sustaining agricultural system, addresses these impacts.…show more content…
Inefficient irrigation techniques allow most of the water provided to crops to evaporate or to miss crop roots entirely as it seeps underground. Despite the wasteful ways with which we treat water, a quarter of the world’s people face water shortages (Watkins et al. 2006). This proportion will only continue to grow, particularly in the Middle East and Northern Africa (Bureau and Strobl 2012).
Another alarming issue is the rate with which we are losing our rain forests. At the current rate of deforestation, rain forests could be nonexistant in one hundred years. We need to preserve rainforests because they act as protectors of biodiversity. Even though they cover only 2% of the Earth’s surface area, they are home to over 50% of our species. Furthermore, rainforests play many other critical roles by keeping our environment balanced. Trees protect soil against erosion, perpetuate the water cycle, and act as “carbon sinks” for the atmosphere (Slattery 2012). Cutting down trees means releasing that stored CO2 and speeding up climate change. Still, behind 80% of deforestation is modern commercial agriculture (Kissinger et al. 2012). Sensitive rain forests are cleared to make land for crops, with devastating results on the stability of the ecosystem. Consequently, deforestation and other activities related to food production, such as fertilizer application, account for almost all of our land CO2 emissions,

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