CAN VERTICAL FARMING HELP TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE?
Salt columnist Stephanie Johnston this week looks at vertical farming company ‘AeroFarms’, another circular economy success story.
Farming has a lot to answer for. So much so that the WWF believes unsustainable agricultural practices present the greatest immediate threat to species and ecosystems around the world.
Perhaps the most alarming of statistics about farming centre around water wastage and contamination. According to the World Resources Institute, agriculture accounted for 70 per cent of all freshwater withdrawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers globally in 2013. Meanwhile a recent global study from the University of Koblenz-Landau found that over 40 per cent of water tested globally exceeded legally-accepted regulatory threshold levels (RTLs) for insecticide and pesticide contamination.
With the UN predicting that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed countries by 2025, and with many big food producing countries like the US, China, India, Pakistan, Australia and Spain close to reaching their renewable water resource limits, can we really afford for the farming industry to carry on regardless?
Significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and arable land depletion are some of the other criticisms levied against an industry that on the one hand is on mother nature’s blacklist, but on the other hand is the only thing capable of helping us to feed our growing (and increasingly urbanising) global population.
Light at the end of the tunnel
But in the midst of all the doom and gloom, there is (LED) light at the end of the tunnel, and things are looking up. Literally !