Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

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The Farm as Natural Habitat

2005-10-01 , Jackson, Laura , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

I want to tell you a little bit about how this book with my mother actually came about, and then read from my long list of bitter complaints about what's wrong with U.S. agriculture, particularly in Iowa where industrialization is at its most extreme. It's important to see how environmental degrad ation, water pollution, soil degradation and other problems that we are seeing both within our state, in the Gulf of Mexico and other places around the world, tie into our loss of bi ological diversity. We often separate our natural resource degradation from biological diversity or species loss, and I believe they are two parts of the same set of issues.

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Spirituality in Agriculture

2005-10-08 , Kirschenmann, Frederick , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The United Nations “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report” published in March of 2005 detailed some disturbing conclusions. Produced by 1,360 of our leading scientists from 95 countries the report’s core findings can’t help but alarm us. The report found that over the last half century, humans have polluted or over-exploited two-thirds of the earth’s ecological systems on which life depends, dramatically increasing the potential for unprecedented and abrupt ecological collapses. And the report determined that most of these ecosystem damages were the direct or indirect result of changes made to meet growing demands for ecosystem services---in particular the growing demands for food, water, timber, fiber and fuel.

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Energy and Sustainable Agriculture

2005-03-09 , Lovins, L. Hunter , Juniper, Christopher , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture lies at the heart of civilization. Cultures that mistreat their soils do not long endure. Modern agriculture seems in many ways to be the pinnacle of human achievement, enabling fewer farmers to feed more of humanity than ever before. Yet much of the practice is unsustainable. This paper will examine one aspect of that unsustainability, the interactions of energy with agriculture. It will explore some of the challenges farmers face from energy issues, especially in a carbon-constrained world, and describe how the principles of Natural Capitalism can help farmers take a leadership role in making their operations and their communities more sustainable.