Friday, May 09, 2008

A New Crisis Looms, This One's Pretty Dirty

You're probably sick of hearing about all the crises plaguing the earth right now. There's an energy crisis, pollution crisis, food crisis and so on. Well, there's a new one to check out. This one's pretty dirty. In fact, it's dirt itself. Dirt crisis? Seriously.

The food crisis. You know about that. It's pretty bad. Here it is, 2008, (almost) forty years after man landed on the moon, eighty years after the invention (er, mass-marketing) of sliced bread and 120 years since the light bulb was invented and people are still rioting, dying in fights over food. Part of the problem is the soil we grow crops in, reports MSNBC.

It seems the high-yield super-crops science has given us are so powerful they're sucking soil dry of all their nutrients. It's bad enough that in parts of Africa crop yields are being slashed from a potential of 9,000 pounds per acre to an actual harvest of just 500 pounds. According to a World Resources Institute study, about 20 percent of the world's cropland is affected by soil degradation. It's bad enough that, according to the study, "poor quality has cut [crop] production by about one-sixth."

Fertilizing fields is one answer. But we at Pound360 wonder how sustainable that is.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.