An offbeat, refreshing look at solutions brought to you by the business leaders and academics, policy makers and designers who are in the field.
You could argue that a more comprehensive, albeit wonky, word for farmer is “nutrient steward.” Think about it. Farmers till the soil, manage the flow of water, and do much more to grow the food and fiber products that our society needs to stay fed and clothed.
Unfortunately, most farmers are only compensated for their final products, like corn and cotton. In reality, however, farmers are stewarding the nutrient processes that result in these end products. So why shouldn’t they be compensated for these services?
The current large-scale industrial agricultural approach relies on economies of scale and cheap fossil fuels to function. (“Industrial agriculture” emerged on a widespread basis after World War II, but its roots generally coincide with the Industrial Revolution.)...
In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond provides us a chilling historical anecdote of the Greenland Vikings: faced with an increasingly harsh climate in the early fifteenth century, a large swath of the population died out from starvation. Greenland Inuit, however, continued to live during this period. Unlike the Vikings, they harbored no cultural taboo restricting them from eating fish, which remained abundant as the climate became too cold for the grazing herds maintained by Vikings.1
In very much the same way, cultural preferences in Australia, concurrent with changes in climate, may limit local capacity to maximize long-term prosperity. So-called heritage preferences livestock—that is, cattle and sheep—are resource-intensive species. With increasing...