The Drift of Agriculture
The data and the information provided by historical and archaeological research establishes that agriculture began 11,000 years ago (some researchers believe it even goes back 23,000). Whatever the case, it is a very brief period if compared to the presence of man on Earth and to the age of our Planet. With the birth of agriculture, we can affirm that human civilization was born. The first villages and human and social aggregations took form parallel to the development of agriculture.
Evolution and Agricultural Science have followed a gradual path in this period, consisting of observations, evaluations, teachings and experience. This experience formed that great book of Agricultural Tradition (often unwritten) that was that Science (with a capital S) which was often handed down from father to son. A Science made for Man and the Territory.
This Science also evolved thanks to the great wisdom of some scholars in this field: let us remember Cato, Columella, Varrone, Palladius and the naturalistic work of Pliny the elder. In the Early Middle Ages the classical compendiums were re-edited: one such example is the De agris of Isidore of Seville. In the late Middle Ages the Book of agriculture of Ibn-el-Awwam (XII sec.) and the Ruralium commodorum books of Pier de Crescenzi (late XIII century) were widely popular, and so on up until the great elaboration of treatises in the eighteenth and above all nineteenth centuries.
But in all this period, this Science has been the compendium of the observations found in the great Book of Nature. A complex yet simple book, consisting of rules and principles. Consisting, above all, of Wisdom.
However, when in the modern era man thought he was able to govern these principles and these rules with another theorem of knowledge (a limited and reductionistic knowledge), the agricultural world met with an involution that in recent decades has manifested all of its incongruities.
This phenomenon was born concomitant to with the industrial revolution (1760-1780 to 1830), which is at the same time both its cause and effect and finds in mechanics and in chemistry a new means of conquest; to this regard we must mention: “The teaching of agricultural chemistry” written in 1924 by a Committee of experts of the Educational Division of the American Chemical Society and published in one of the first issues of the Journal of Chemical Education.
Last century, up until the 50s, the farmer used manure and other natural products as fertilizer. These were perfectly biodegradable and rich in active principles that nourished the various cultivations and soil pollution was almost completely unknown. Then along came chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides made from combinations of organophosphates, all of which were effective for “eliminating” parasites and weeds but which polluted the environment, the soil, animals and man. From that moment on, the proliferation of chemistry and of active principles has increased more and more, endangering the delicate energy equilibrium that there is between soil, strata, flora, fauna and atmosphere.
To greatly simplify the concept, it can be said that chemistry interferes with the thermodynamics of the natural systems (ecology), altering its cycles and functions and its quantitative and qualitative values.
The principal effect of chemistry in agriculture is (contrary to what is thought) to decrease the energy output of the Agricultural System (which is always and in every case an Ecological System) moving it towards models that are more simplified and unstable.
The use therefore of synthetic products and fertilizers (together with the diminution of the contribution of organic substance of animal origin) is causing a global degeneration of the soil system and giving rise to its destruction with the proliferation of those micro-landslides that are at the base of the great hydrogeological instability.
In 1997, at the International Conference: “Pesticides, who protects consumers and the environment?”, held at the Ettore Maiorana centre of scientific culture in Erice (TP), which I presided over, before the grisly data detailing malformations, illnesses (above all in children) and deaths linked to the use of the pesticides, a veil was drawn and the Multinationals, which manufacture the pesticides hastened to affirm that the data (from the Environment Ministry) was exaggerated and inconsistent.
Since then, funds for research on biological pest control have been drastically cut until practically disappearing (personally speaking, I had to abandon the research institute in which I worked) and the only existing research is that provided by the Multinationals (pesticides yesterday and today, GMOs today and tomorrow). Moreover, many farmers and experts (I regret to say) are convinced that chemistry (and soon GMOs) are the true causes of the increase in agricultural production (it is an enormous lie that can be shown to be untrue). This research, however, does not receive funding and the few works produced do not receive much attention (on purpose). Today, however, neither National nor European Politics regard this as a limit or a huge danger.
The failure of GMOs in the USA, with the proliferation of new resistant species, is kept hidden and this just worsens what we know about the issue and its depth. Even the authoritative New York Times reported on how some glyphosate-resistant weeds have developed in 22 states of the USA; this news was then expertly hushed up..
It is no coincidence that since 2009 the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) does not publish statistics on the use of pesticides anymore; it is better not to know…
I could go on and on giving examples of how Information is Censored
The increase in illnesses and malformations can be directly or indirectly linked to the effects of chemical and organic pollution (and also to biomagnifications) and these in turn create the need for Public Healthcare funding without precedence (this is also managed by the great financial interests).
The reduction of biodiversity, of varieties cultivated, of natural agriculture, of useful insects (above all the pollinators), the growth of desertification, etc. are causing an unprecedented instability, yet the central Governments (the degenerate offspring of the Great Economic Powers) only care about the GDP and Financial Indexes which are placing the planet on a collision course.
When considering agriculture, the rare development plans and almost all the European projects merely speak of markets, productivity, competition, etc. without understanding that they are straining the two principal factors of the Planet, without which nothing has sense any more: man and the ecosystem.
We must find a remedy for all this before it provides a remedy for the human species and our planet.
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