Organic Farming

Sustainable Development, the Wave of the Future

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Sustainable business and sustainable development are recent terms and systems which  grew out of a green 21st century motto. So what does business and economic development look like when they are guided by the kinds of higher economic and ethical criteria like: environmental justice, duty to future generations, as well as aesthetic and ecological criteria. Therefore, we need to use people for profit but also for our planet; using each to help develop sustainability. This means providing socially environmentally sustainable/beneficial goods and services, while still being able to make money.

There are some great green initiatives out there, and some modern practices include using recycled materials, using less controversial (harmful substances), and using more alternative resources. One Californian company goes in and takes apart buildings and reuses the parts by selling them to poorer areas of the state. Others use recycled materials, building LEED certified buildings, encouraging conservation, reducing the amount of packaging a product uses.

Unfortuantely, today’s stigma of being environmentally friendly portrays an ignorance instilled in the modern, global citizen. Many of these people seem to equate being environmentally, and socially conscionable with being unprofitable. However, using renewable engergies and manufacturing processes, bio-mimcry for example, allows the localization of  markets to continuously improve products and services. These products and services have already been shown to be profitable. People do not realize how profitable these solutions are for us, and our world. Developing sustainably for the future should be logical conclusion of all sustainable business practices. This idea has been around since the start of the environmentalism movement, circa 1960s.

Sustainable development, including green engineering and architecture, uses local knowledge such as indigenous practices and services. Using these practices, architects and engineers alike have developed new techniques for the built environment; buildings blog 22.3are now taking cues from nature, and mimicing their structures and patterns to help strengthen the structures, lowering their impact on the environment. However, there are some downsides to be considered, one being an ignorant mindset embraced by millions subsiding in developed nations.

Developed nations have enveloped this idea of sustainable design and business, whereas developing, and under-developed nations, have not been quick to embrace this trend. Most of these “other” nations have dealt with famines, droughts, and other environmental problems instead. These problems have caused great stress amongst the high leaders of these unfortunate nations, great stifes, like the ones mentioned earlier, were once viewed as environmental but now are recognized to be exacerbated by socio-political strife and climate change. Climate change and resource allocation has directly affected these strifes, impeding further development; this creates a self perpetuating cycle.

This all leads one to question, what are the ethical considerations we should be providing the world? If we live comfortably does that mean we should care about how others are living, or help them develop sustainably? Do we really need to have any moral obligations towards nations which we have directly harmed through climate change? The world’s sustainable development relies on all of us to help each other out, and by helping the world’s companies become greener and developing new technologies together we can create a global economy without further destroying, and perhaps fixing most environmental issues. We need moral leadership. We need to be united, as one.

Categories: climate change, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, New York City, Organic Farming, policy issues, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability, Urban agriculture | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

GMOS. Gross, Mechanical, Organisms.

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With the environment being turned on its head, thanks to climate change, the world seems to be trying to create new substances that fit in with a particular environment, even if, genetically, they do not. Genetics, how does that factor into the recent environmental issues? Well, they are called GMOS. They are Genetically Modified Organisms. Generating a lot of fuss, GMOS are restructured organisms which are altered to better fit particular environments where normally they would not be able to live.

GMOS can be quite beneficial. For one, they can help give countries in dire need of sustenance, food; but it can also destroy the biodiversity of an area. And that seems to be the theme of GMOs, their negatives outweigh their positives. All of this is a cause of industrial agriculture where everything is made to help grow crops and plants in areas they have never grown before. Fertilizers are a huge part of the problem. Yes, fertilizers help grow plants/crops and keep away plant killing/destroying insects but it destroys biodiversity, as in good insects and plant species. Therefore, all the foods we are eating… what are they? Are the foods we eat actually food or over fertilized, lab-grown experiments?

Stemming back, the problem seems to originate from increasing power of large corporations over farmers. Evolving corporations have learned to own their designs, patents. Patenting genetic modifications, GMOS, to make sure that no farmer can take their design and sell it, creating a monopoly. Take for example Monsanto, this corporation has created what they call “terminator seeds.” These seeds have helped create extreme dependences of farmers on their corporations. Corporations crave this, they want money. Meaning, farmers are changing their tactics and falling for these corporate tricks. Reiterating the idea, WHAT ARE WE EATING?

These hybrids, these transgenic crops, are changing the environment, for the worse. Worsening the environment by helping create bacterial strands which are found in soil. These strands help deplete the biodiversity within the area by affecting surrounding species of plants and insects. Looking at Monsanto’s potato hybrid, one may see the toxin it secretes into the soil which is lethal to the Colorado Potato Beetle, and this is Monsanto’s intellectual property.

All of this reminds me of Food inc. with the mentioning of all these GMOS and food patents. We are doing the job of natural selection instead of letting nature run its course. Best fitting nature is the job of natural selection but GMOS are replacing that by creating the best fit from the beginning, meaning new species may not even get a chance. We are choosing the best trait, we are choosing where it goes and we are choosing what is best fit for the overall ecology of the earth. Organisms no longer grow with food, biodiversity is shrinking and our world is worsening.

Should these factory farms exist? Should GMOS be allowed? Should one be able to patent food/crops? All these are excellent questions, but I do not feel great answering them until the world realizes what is going on. Documentaries can help but it will not work until the world sees it, and until then our world will lose a lot in terms of biodiversity.

 

Categories: climate change, Environmental Policy, Life, Organic Farming, Priorities, Sustainability | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

St. Rose’s Garden, Practicum

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St. Roses Garden, is a recent development here at Fordham University, at Rose Hill. Rose Hill, the Bronx campus, his home to 85 square acres of green space. Situated on the southeastern corner of Southern Boulevard and East Fordham road is a newly reinvigorated plot of land on

the Rose Hill campus, St. Rose’s Garden. St. Rose’s Garden is an organic miniature farm with 8 raised beds designed to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. It will serve as an outdoor laboratory, classroom, and social space for all students/volunteers.

Organic farms such as St. Rose’s Garden are becoming a common place amongst universities, like Clemson. At Clemson University, a farm: Organic Farm Project, was started in 2001 and currently uses 15 acres of land; and OFP is dedicated to similar purposes like Saint Rose’s Garden here at Fordham, to teach and provide research.

Both organic gardens grow tons of varieties of vegetables and fruit. However, these two gardens are not enough to feed an entire community like Clemson or Fordham. Therefore, a CSA is created in partnership with that community to provide organic fruits and vegetables to the community.

What is a CSA you ask? Well, a CSA is community supported agriculture. Here at Fordham, we are doing a CSA, together with St. Roses and Norwich Meadows Farms. For the mere price of 16 dollars a week one would get a share of the CSA. This share consists of a delivery of 6-8 lbs of vegetables/fruits per week for 10 straight weeks from mid-September to mid-November. CSAs are becoming quite popular here in the states, in fact:

“the first year there were any CSA farms listed in the state’s Minnesota Grown Directory was in 1996, Hugunin said. That grew to more than 20 by 2008 and this year, there are 87 CSA farms in the directory”.

CSA popularity around the nation is booming, it is quickly becoming a top choice amongst consumers who want farm fresh produce. Produce, as well as agriculture, is once again becoming popular within our society, and is building its importance. We no longer need just produce but fresh/organic produce.

However, there still is one major problem: transportation. Transportation of these organic goods produce externalities. Externalities are costs which remain unaccounted for in the price of a product. For example, the delivery truck’s green house gas emissions, and its degradation of the environment, are not factored into the final market price of the delivered produce. If the price reflected these environmental damages the prices may sky-rocket; thus consumers may not buy the products which would leave wholesalers with large quantities of produce leftover. Then, how do we eliminate these environmental externalities without angering consumers?

There could be many different solutions to this particular problem, which mostly involve moving agriculture closure to the urban areas. This idea is feasible. However, this idea does show how agriculture has changed since its inceptions. This can be connected to the idea of agrarian philosophy and environmental ethics. According to the dictionary, agrarian as an adjective means, “of or relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of the land”.

Basically, agrarian beliefs stresses the role of nature, climate, soil on how one forms his or her moral character; or, our environment shapes our very own moral behavior/beliefs. Our daily lives is shaped by nature, even in cities such as New York, and hopefully our morals will change and allow this problem to become solved. 

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, Life, Organic Farming, Priorities, Urban agriculture | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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