Do We Blame the Cows?

While there is no active farming within the city of Chicago, large scale agricultural endeavors affect the average Chicagoan every day. We know that at the rate we are producing food, and the fact that big businesses rely on profit and throw the earth’s nutrients to the side. Human erosion is one of the worst ways that modern large scale agriculture is hurting our planet. According to an article written in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems, & Environment, “In the last 40 years, nearly one-third of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion and continues to be lost at a rate of more than 10 million ha per year” (Jackson 113). Arable land, or land that is appropriate to plant on, is a very important resource that we cannot afford to deplete. One of the largest and most significant reasons for the land derogation is caused by over grazing. Overgrazing is when livestock’s grazing habits are not controlled and they unintentionally destroy the land by eating too much (Overgrazing Can Hurt… 2000). As a society that relies so much on the profitability of the food industry, specifically meat, it is inevitable that farms with a high density of animals would cause overgrazing. According to an infographic published by the World Recources Institute, about 35% of the world’s soil degradation is due to overgrazing.

This is sort of a difficult thing to reduce considering the global demand for meat and poultry and pork (or at least Americas demand). The ideal way to curb this affect would be to reduce the reliance on meat and animals in general, but the realistic way to decrease the damage of the land is to regulate animal farms more strictly to avoid this very significant earth diminishing phenomena.



Jackson, Wes. “Natural Systems Agriculture: A Truly Radical Alternative.” Agriculture, Ecosystems, & Environment 88.2 (2002): 111-17. Science Direct. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

“Overgrazing Can Hurt the Environment, Your Pocketbook.” West Virginia Farm Bureau News (2000). Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

“A Guide to The Global Environment.” World Recources (1992). Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

image: Nigel Jones, 28 October 2005


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