Organic Solutions offer a Bright Future
Over the course of the last century, the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers has increased crop yields,
greened our grass and boosted the size of our blossoms significantly. Along the way the environment has
paid a heavy price, and, in addition, residues from these harmful chemicals have also had many detrimental
effects on the health of consumers.
Since 1962, when Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" first exposed the hazards of DDT, science has uncovered
startling information on the dangers chemical/synthetic fertilizers and pesticides pose to humans, animals and the environment.
Decades of excessive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers have taken their toll.
Following are some facts on the state of the Earth's soil:
However, all is not lost. Increased public awareness of the dangers associated with the excessive use
of chemicals is fuelling the effort to find safer alternatives to commercial agricultural and gardening challenges.
- Only 16% of the Earth's farmland is free of fertility problems, or "constraints",
such as chemical contamination, acidity, salinity or poor drainage.
- In parts of Asia, as little as 6% of farmland is free of such problems.
North America has the largest share of the best land at 29%.
- The agricultural industry has been relatively successful at feeding the world.
It has been somewhat less successful in nurturing the natural resources that underpin its production capacity.
- On 17% of the farmland worldwide, aluminium contamination is high enough to be considered toxic to plants.
- Salt deposits are a significant problem on irrigated land. Nearly 4 million acres of farmland is lost to
excessive salt every year, roughly 1% of irrigated areas worldwide.
- There has been a substantial decline in both Rhizobia bacteria, which live in nodules on the roots
of legumes and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, and the Mycorrhizae, small fungi which penetrate plant
roots and allow nutrients to be transferred directly from the soil into the plant's root system.
- Depletion of organic matter in soil is also widespread, reducing fertility and moisture retention
while increasing emissions of carbon dioxide into the air - a suspected contributor to global warming.
- Chemical fertilizers are not effective unless sufficient organic matter remains in the ground.