The Impact of Food Production on the Environment

Food, water as well as energy is at the heart of sustainable development, according to the United Nations. The world is expanding and so is the demand for these three things. The three foods, water and energy are interlinked. For food to be produced, there should be water and energy. In some parts where they use traditional methods to produce energy, water resources are needed. Also, agriculture is a potential energy source. We shall look at the impact of food production on the environment.

The Environmental Impact of Agriculture and Food

Here is brief information about the impact of food and agriculture production.

Over 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from food. Half of the land that is habitable in the world is used for agriculture purposes, the land is ice free and desert free. 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture. 78% of the pollution of freshwater and the ocean are caused by agriculture.  Food is at 5th heat of tackling the climate change impact. Reducing water stress, pollution, making sure lands are back to forests or grasslands as well as protecting wildlife in the world should be priority.

Habitable Land Used for Agriculture

In the past almost all the land in the world was wilderness, meaning it was covered in grasslands as well as shrubbery that dominated its landscapes. This has changed over the years due to the fact that this land has been turned into agricultural land. Over 1 000 years ago, it was estimated that less than 4% of the world’s land that is ice and desert free was used for farming.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Food Production

Most people focus on clean energy solutions which is the disposition of renewable or nuclear energy. They focus on making sure there is transition to low-carbon transport. Greenhouse gas emissions that come from energy from electricity, heat transport as well as industrial processes account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions which is 76%.

Food also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through production as well as post farm production  processing. To date there are no viable technological solutions when it comes to this challenge. Food accounts for 26% o-f global gas emissions.

Livestock and Fisheries , 31% of Food Emissions

Livestock refers to animals that are raised for meat, dairy products, eggs as well as seafood production. These produce greenhouse gas emissions in several ways. Animals such as cattle produce methane through a process that is referred to as enteric fermentation. This excludes land used for production of food for these animals as it is covered in other topics covered here.

Crop Production, 27% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 When it comes to food, 21% of those 27% greenhouse gas emissions comes from production for direct human consumption. The remaining 6% of the gas greenhouse emissions come from the production of animal feed. These are direct emissions that come directly from agricultural production.  Applications of fertilizers are included as well.