Trading food security for environmental sustainability?
Pictured above: Only the Brazil nut trees—protected by national law—were left standing after farmers cleared this parcel of Amazon rain forest to grow corn. Despite progress in slowing deforestation, this northern state of Pará saw a worrying 37 percent spike over the past year.
"We can no longer afford to increase food production through agricultural expansion. Trading tropical forest for farmland is one of the most destructive things we do to the environment, and it is rarely done to benefit the 850 million people in the world who are still hungry. Most of the land cleared for agriculture in the tropics does not contribute much to the world’s food security but is instead used to produce cattle, soybeans for livestock, timber, and palm oil. Avoiding further deforestation must be a top priority."
Food security is an extremely important issue for us. But damaging our environment to this extent in order to increase food security is not a sustainable practice. As such, agricultural expansion is not a viable, long-term solution for producing more food to feed the ever growing population of the world. We cannot trade short-term survival for assured extinction in the long term.