By David A. Cleveland

ISBN-10: 0520277422

ISBN-13: 9780520277427

This ebook is an interdisciplinary primer on severe considering and powerful motion for the way forward for our worldwide agrifood approach, in line with an knowing of the system’s organic and sociocultural roots. Key elements of the ebook are an intensive research of the assumptions underlying diversified views on difficulties concerning nutrients and agriculture world wide and a dialogue of different strategies. David Cleveland argues that combining chosen facets of small-scale conventional agriculture with smooth clinical agriculture may help stability our organic want for foodstuff with its environmental impact—and proceed to satisfy cultural, social, and mental wishes on the topic of food.

Balancing on a Planet is predicated on Cleveland’s learn and interesting educating approximately foodstuff and agriculture for greater than 3 many years. it's a instrument to assist scholars, college, researchers, and readers comprehend debates concerning the present trouble and possible choices for the long run.

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Extra info for Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture

Sample text

Beginning at the time it first comes into existence, a population (or species) must increase in order to survive. A population constantly decreasing in size will eventually become extinct. The population of any biologically successful population or species tends to increase until limited directly or indirectly by the environmental carrying capacity for that organism. Biological fitness is nonteleological. In other words, it is not future or goal oriented and is not an absolute, but a relative, value; it is defined by the specific environment in which an allele (a form of a gene), organism, or population exists (Wilson and Wilson 2008).

I show that sustainability is a subjective concept about what we want the future to be and therefore requires discussion of values to reach agreement. It also requires objective analysis of the current situation and the effectiveness of different solutions. Important concepts for this analysis are how knowledge is generated, and how we can understand the similarities and differences in knowledge among farmers, among scientists, and between farmers and scientists. Chapter 4 concludes part 1 by describing how the three main emphases in agrifood system sustainability—economic, environmental, and social—can have very different goals, theories, and solutions.

Throughout BOP I try to present as openly as possible my own conclu- 4 Introduction sions and assumptions while also standing back and viewing them critically—that is, not becoming too attached to them and remaining open to new data, to alternative interpretations of data, and to appreciating different values. For example, my values include the assumptions that equity of resource access and use for all people is good and that interacting with the biophysical world in ways that maintain high biological and cultural diversity and ecosystem functioning is good, and my analysis of the data leads me to empirical assumptions that anthropogenic climate change is a real and immense threat and that small-scale, resource-poor farmers’ behaviors are often based on insightful and efficacious understandings of their environments and crops.

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Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture by David A. Cleveland


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