Photos: Nick Garbutt, Mishka Henner

A global nonprofit devoted to humane, sustainable agriculture

Something has gone badly wrong in relations between human beings and other animals, and it is not just animal welfare and animal rights organizations that say so. Large swathes of the public are troubled too.
— John M. Coetzee, Novelist,
Recipient, Nobel Prize for Literature
The Anthropocene is a time of awareness, when we’ve been able to hold up a mirror to ourselves for the first time and put into perspective who we are, and maybe get us thinking about what kind of animals we want to be, what our role is on the planet. It may not always seem like it, but this is a golden age of imagination and invention.
— Diane Ackerman, Author,
The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us
We are being far too kind to industrial agriculture. The private sector has endorsed it, but it has failed to feed the world. It has contributed to major environmental contamination and misuse of natural resources.
— David Fig,
Biowatch South Africa

REFORMING AGRICULTURE

 

The reshaping of agriculture is an imperative. How landscapes that escape dependence on livestock and fishing, protect wildlife, and develop competitive plant-based agriculture can influence the Earth's climate in powerful ways.

 

The Bright Future of Conservation Agriculture

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  PALM OIL

AND

 CATTLE

 

THE TWIN ENGINES OF RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION


Animals at Risk as Forests Disappear:  The devastating journey of a young orangutan

 

 


The Amazon rainforest plays an important part in keeping the world and its climate in balance. But deforestation and forest fires have put the rainforest at risk.

While the destruction of forests for palm oil production is growing at an alarming pace, and the cost to animals, the environment and our climate is high, the cattle sector in the Amazon is the single largest driver of global deforestation.

In Brazil 200 million cattle roam over 500 million acres, 90 percent of which is cleared rainforest. Every million acres of forest that is removed releases the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as 40 million cars do in one year.

Below are the pastured herds, the largest in the world, that are helping shape an uncertain future for one of our planet's most valuable resources, and the world's most important carbon store. As cattlemen clear-cut intact forests, the home to millions of tropical birds and countless plants and animals is lost. Seventy percent of Earth's land animals live in forests, and in habitats that are in growing trouble.  


Produced and filmed by Patrick Rouxel/Distributed by Green Planet Films

Plant landscapes are new frontiers in conservation that are helping reshape the trajectory of climate change and protecting our environment and its creatures

Animal agriculture has brought us degraded air, land, rivers and lakes, dying oceans caused by overfishing, the depletion of vital natural resources, and its most unique feature, the mass abuse of farm animals, on a scale and to a degree undreamed of in human history.

Current demands for animals and fish have become a dominant influence on our earth's environment and the complex relationships that make life on earth possible.


THE NEXT GENERATION: 
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE

"The world’s tropical regions will surely be the epicenter of the scramble to increase food production for a global population projected to soar from 7 billion today to 11 billion by the end of the century. The tropics are where crops grow the fastest, where land is often relatively cheap, and where food demand will surge the most. But the rapid agricultural expansion in tropical regions will have profound environmental consequences for rainforests, savannas, and other ecosystems already suffering widespread destruction."

     -- Bill Laurance, James Cook University

Our food systems today on every continent have an extraordinary influence on our environment.  Monocultures of soy, sugar cane and palm, and more significantly, livestock grazing lands, are harmful to wildlife habitats and are emerging as important threats to the earth's biodiversity. 

Virtually all of the earth's ecosystems have now been transformed through human actions.  As our world undergoes structural changes, with large-scale forests shrinking, oceans acidifying, droughts intensifying, and habitats for animals fragmenting, the earth's balancing mechanisms are at risk, and we are precipitating collapses of ecosystems and rapid extinctions.  

The ability of agriculture to play a role in climate change is enormous. 

While modern agriculture is depleting our planet's natural resources and imperiling wildlife, forests and oceans in the most environmentally destructive century in history, important change can be brought through plant-based conservation agriculture — agriculture that protects the environment, treasured wildlife and their habitats, improves crop varieties and plant ecosystems, and creates landscapes that redefine sustainability.

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As the Earth continues to warm, the world's most influential climate scientist and 16 co-authors who are at the top in their fields report that we are entering a fundamentally different phase, the end of an era of stable climate, and a future of sweeping planetary change. 

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Virtually all of the earth's ecosystems have now been transformed through human actions.  As our world undergoes structural changes, with large-scale forests shrinking, oceans acidifying, droughts intensifying, and habitats for animals fragmenting, the earth's balancing mechanisms are at risk, and we are precipitating collapses of ecosystems and rapid extinctions.  


When land is harmed by agriculture, the effects can be severe and far reaching

Climate change:  Livestock agriculture accounts for significant human-caused greenhouse gases worldwide and occupies vast tracts of land on earth.

It is estimated that the farming of animals is responsible for 90% of the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.  It is responsible for 100% of global fisheries collapse.

It has taken less than 15 years for industrial agriculture to reduce the fish biomass by 80%.

Forests cleared for livestock production are driving unprecedented extinctions. Studies reveal that global land-based wildlife has declined by 50% over the last 40 years. The number one issue for species extinction is severe habitat loss, with animals finding no place to live. Yet, the vast majority of extinctions is to come. Wildlife does not vanish immediately when forests disappear. By some estimates, 80% of the extinctions in the Amazon are still impending as ecosystems continue to fragment and collapse.

Indefensible standards: Animal agriculture has an indefensible record of standards for farm animals. It habituates us to cruelty, with intense confinement and modifications in breeding for fast growth leaving animals suffering and in distress.  In the words of a scientist and veterinarian, "Tons of attention to increasing animal production, and just a pebble-sized concern to animal welfare."

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Unsustainable:   Agriculture has stagnated under the same set of rules for the past 50 years with ideas that misuse human ingenuity. The future is a hopeful place, and we can do better.  We need more appropriate and clear definitions of the word "sustainable," and along with the protection of farm animals, a broad new approach that protects habitats for wildlife and preserves our planet's natural resources.