Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. 2019 From A Fourth Turning Perspective - James_Quinn
2.Beware the Young Stocks Bear Market! - Zeal_LLC
3.Safe Havens are Surging. What this Means for Stocks 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
4.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2018 - Trump and BrExit Chaos Dominate - Nadeem_Walayat
5.January 2019 Financial Markets Analysis and Forecasts - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Silver Price Trend Analysis 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Why 90% of Traders Lose - Nadeem_Walayat
8.What to do With Your Money in a Stocks Bear Market - Stephen_McBride
9.Stock Market What to Expect in the First 3~5 Months of 2019 - Chris_Vermeulen
10.China, Global Economy has Tipped over: The Surging Dollar and the Rallying Yen - FXCOT
Last 7 days
After 8 Terrific Weeks for Stocks, What’s Next? - 16th Feb 19
My Favorite Real Estate Strategies: Rent to Live, Buy to Rent - 16th Feb 19
Schumer & Sanders Want One Thing: Your Money - 16th Feb 19
What Could Happen When the Stock Markets Correct Next - 16th Feb 19
Bitcoin Your Best Opportunity Outside of Stocks - 16th Feb 19
Olympus TG-5 Tough Camera Under SEA Water Test - 16th Feb 19
"Mi Amigo" Sheffield Bomber Crash Memorial Site Fly-past on 22nd February 2019 VR360 - 16th Feb 19
Plunging Inventories have Zinc Bulls Ready to Run - 15th Feb 19
Gold Stocks Mega Mergers Are Bad for Shareholders - 15th Feb 19
Retail Sales Crash! It’s 2008 All Over Again for Stock Market and Economy! - 15th Feb 19
Is Gold Market 2019 Like 2016? - 15th Feb 19
Virgin Media's Increasingly Unreliable Broadband Service - 15th Feb 19
2019 Starting to Shine But is it a Long Con for Stock Investors? - 15th Feb 19
Gold is on the Verge of a Bull-run and Here's Why - 15th Feb 19
Will Stock Market 2019 be like 1999? - 14th Feb 19
3 Charts That Scream “Don’t Buy Stocks” - 14th Feb 19
Capitalism Isn’t Bad, It’s Just Broken - 14th Feb 19
How To Find High-Yield Dividend Stocks That Are Safe - 14th Feb 19
Strategy Session - How This Stocks Bear Market Fits in With Markets of the Past - 14th Feb 19
Marijuana Stocks Ready for Another Massive Rally? - 14th Feb 19
Wage Day Advance And Why There is No Shame About It - 14th Feb 19
Will 2019 be the Year of the Big Breakout for Gold? - 13th Feb 19
Earth Overshoot Day Illustrates We are the Lemmings - 13th Feb 19
A Stock Market Rally With No Pullbacks. What’s Next for Stocks - 13th Feb 19
Where Is Gold’s Rally in Response to USD Weakness? - 13th Feb 19
US Tech Stock Sector Setting Up for A Momentum Breakout Move - 12th Feb 19
Key Support Levels for Gold Miners & Gold Juniors - 12th Feb 19
Socialist “Green New Deal” Points the Way to Hyperinflation - 12th Feb 19
Trump’s Quest to Undermine Multilateral Development Banks - 12th Feb 19
Sheffield B17 US Bomber Crash 75th Anniversary Fly-past on 22nd February 2019 Full Details - 12th Feb 19
The 2 Rules For Successful Trading - 12th Feb 19 -
Financial Sector Calls Gold ‘Shiny Poo.’ Are They Worried? - 11th Feb 19
Stocks Bouncing, but Will They Resume the Uptrend? - 11th Feb 19
EURO Crisis Set to Intensify: US Dollar Breakout Higher
Stock Market Correction Starting? - 10th Feb 19
Gold Stocks Gather Steam - 10th Feb 19
Are Gold Bulls Naively Optimistic? - 9th Feb 19
Gold, Silver Precious Metals Update - 9th Feb 19
The Wealthy Should Prepare to Be Soaked - 8th Feb 19
US Business Confidence Is Starting to Crack - 8th Feb 19
Top Myths and Facts about ULIP Plans - 8th Feb 19
A Major Stocks Bear Market in 2020? - 8th Feb 19
Gold Market Extremes Test Your Mettle - 8th Feb 19
The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy - 8th Feb 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Real Secret for Successful Trading

Soil Isn't Sexy Between Us and Extinction

Politics / Environmental Issues Apr 05, 2015 - 01:05 PM GMT

By: Richard_Mills

Politics

After watching Interstellar w/Matthew McConaughey I was motivated to update and republish an article, Between Us and Extinction, I wrote a couple of years ago.

"Soil is the earth's fragile skin that anchors all life on Earth. It is comprised of countless species that create a dynamic and complex ecosystem and is among the most precious resources to humans...Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years." WWF


Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges of our time, unfortunately most people haven't heard of it or simply don't understand it.

Desertification and land degradation is a global issue with desertification already affecting one quarter of the total land surface of the globe today

Today the pace of arable land degradation is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Land degradation is costing US$490 billion per annum and desertification is degrading more than 12m hectares of arable land every year - the equivalent of losing the total arable area of France every 18 months.

"Every morsel of food we eat . . . our clothes . . . our houses and most everything that's in them...each scrap of paper, from birth certificates to books to dollars...our fuel...even the very oxygen we breath: All of it comes from plants, trees...and topsoil.

When our European ancestors arrived on this continent, our topsoil averaged around 18 inches in depth. With our intensive agricultural practices, we've eroded it to around eight inches...that's all that's left between us and world disaster. When that eight inches goes, you and I go...There are innumerable examples of civilizations which have already traveled this route. Trees were always the first to go. As the local populations grew, timber was needed for warmth, cooking, housing, and lime burning. Solomon cut the famous cedars of Lebanon for his great temples. Rome deforested southern Europe from Spain to Palestine. The whole of North Africa was cleared to plant more wheat for the expanding Roman population...and replanting was unheard of.

When the trees were gone, topsoil loss inevitably followed. Exposed to rain, wind, and sun, it lost its organic matter, its humus, its soil life...the spongy quality that gives the earth its ability to hold water through droughts...The soil dried out and became dead dust. The next wind blew it away, or the next rain washed it down the river...and the earth died." Eddie Albert, actor and amateur ecologist

According to a study by the United Nations, 20 percent of our farmland, 30 percent of our forest and 10 percent of world's grassland are degrading worldwide. Over the past four decades, 15 percent of the Earth's land area - an area larger than the United States and Mexico combined - have been degraded through human activities.

Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, up from just a 110 a few short years ago.

Desertification doesn't refer to the advance of deserts which can and do expand naturally. Desertification is a different process where land in arid or semi-dry areas becomes degraded - the soil loses its productivity and the cover vegetation disappears or is degraded to the point where wind and water erosion can carry away the topsoil leaving behind a highly infertile mix of dust and sand.

Land degradation, and the eventual resulting desertification of dry land ecosystems is most often caused by human activities such as:

  • Unsustainable farming - intensive farming depletes the nutrients in the soil
  • Overgrazing - animals eat away grasses and erode topsoil with their hooves
  • Deforestation or clear-cutting of land - the tree and plant cover that binds the soil is removed
  • Misuse of water resources
  • Industrial activities

Climate change can accelerate and intensify the degradation process.

"A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded - the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone." 2012 TIME interview with Professor John Crawford of the University of Sydney

The issue of desertification is not new, it has constantly played a significant role in human history, even contributing to the collapse of the world's earliest known empire, the Akkadians of Mesopotamia.

One of the most basic, fundamental problems (other than the rapid depletion of our fresh water resources) we've created for ourselves is the impact of human activities on the land we need to cultivate for our very survival.

"The top 20cm of soil is all that stands between us and extinction." Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the UNCCD

It takes 100 years to generate a single millimeter of topsoil and 24 billion tons of fertile soil disappear annually. The United States is losing soil 10 times faster - and China and India are losing soil 30 to 40 times faster - than the natural replenishment rate.

Conclusion

We obviously reached peak soil a long time ago, soil can be considered a non-renewable and rapidly depleting resource.

Given fears over the world's present ability to feed our current population - expected to pass the nine billion mark by 2050 - it's not surprising desertification and land degradation is so absent on most people's radar screens, soil just isn't sexy.

"Globally, it's clear we are eroding soils at a rate much faster than they can form. It's hard to get people to pay much attention to this because, frankly, most of us take soil for granted." John Reganold, a soils scientist at Washington State University

According to the UN, global demand for food is projected to increase by 50 percent by 2030. It is projected there will be nine billion people to feed by 2050, that's an increase of one billion tonnes of cereal and 200 million tonnes of meat.

It's obvious the world needs a new farm - one the size of South Africa.

Unfortunately the UN also says that by 2030 an area twice the size of South Africa will become unproductive due to desertification, land degradation and drought.

Adding to our troubles is production gains from the Green Revolution are diminishing. Is the security of your food supply on your radar screen?

If not, maybe it should be.

By Richard (Rick) Mills

www.aheadoftheherd.com

rick@aheadoftheherd.com

If you're interested in learning more about the junior resource and bio-med sectors please come and visit us at www.aheadoftheherd.com
Site membership is free. No credit card or personal information is asked for.

Richard is host of Aheadoftheherd.com and invests in the junior resource sector.
His articles have been published on over 400 websites, including: Wall Street Journal, Market Oracle, USAToday, National Post, Stockhouse, Lewrockwell, Pinnacledigest, Uranium Miner, Beforeitsnews, SeekingAlpha, MontrealGazette, Casey Research, 24hgold, Vancouver Sun, CBSnews, SilverBearCafe, Infomine, Huffington Post, Mineweb, 321Gold, Kitco, Gold-Eagle, The Gold/Energy Reports, Calgary Herald, Resource Investor, Mining.com, Forbes, FNArena, Uraniumseek, Financial Sense, Goldseek, Dallasnews, Vantagewire, Resourceclips and the Association of Mining Analysts.

Copyright © 2015 Richard (Rick) Mills - All Rights Reserved

Legal Notice / Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified; Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.

Richard (Rick) Mills Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules