We already know how the story of the Green Revolution evolves. Norman Ernest Borlaug, the American agronomist and humanitarian, who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production gave us accessibility of wheat and saved over a billion lives. What we also know if that it has not eradicated hunger and has brought forth a variety of problems including dependence on fertilizers, desertification and soil degradation, monoculture, food waste, and the associated effects of water waste (aquifer depletions and chemically-affected soils). Why not find another way to feed our growing population without harming our environment? How harmful can growing small portions of food in your backyard and sharing the excess with your neighbors? It worked for us during both world wars.
It seems to make sense as a solution with benefits that are the opposite of every side effect of the Green Revolution. Growing a small selection of a variety of culinary herbs, fruits and vegetables at home, which can feed your family is the opposite of monoculture, water waste (66% less water than lawn needs), requires no fertilizer to destroy soil and reduce produce quality, and alleviates the pressure of growing large of food to sell. But what if I live in Ohio and want to consume mangoes? What if I live in a landlocked state or country and want to enjoy consuming lobsters? What if cicadas, drought, or other natural disasters threaten our organic raised beds? What if geo-engineering produces so much monoxide that it wipes out our crops? Since we are aware of the risks of currently known agricultural, political, social, and geopolitical concerns of today (and at the time of victory gardens), we will explore the social challenges of an unforeseen catastrophe in the context of geoengineering.
Climate engineering, mostly known as geoengineering, aims to manipulate the global temperature by changing solar radiation or atmospheric carbon concentrations, i.e., by modifying the Earth’s albedo. It is the engineering of our climate to infuse certain gases into the atmosphere to encourage precipitation and several environmental outcomes caused by climate change including combating drought, and floods. The social science behind the effects of geoengineering on agriculture needs more supporting research. Here’s the social challenge: At least two billion people have backyard gardens by 2030 globally, eat hyper-locally, and nutrition justice is achieved. Hunger is reduced to a whooping 2%, people are self-sufficient (food-wise), and food is seen as a basic right. What potential agricultural disasters and socioeconomic costs would result from geoengineering over Africa? On the agricultural front, all food gardens are destroyed due to chemicals in the atmosphere. Given our current penchant for garden to table experiences, most Africans only have two weeks of food stored inside the home. Governments call for halting of the geoengineering activity and ask for food donations from other continents. Since monoculture is long dead, every other continent only has two weeks of food storage. First, theft, unrest, and occur during the first four weeks, then the effects of widespread hunger – wars, intense famines and deaths begin to occur in subsequent months. Could a continent be wiped out due to a short-sighted view of sustainable nutrition justice?
Where did we go wrong? Perhaps industrial agriculture – and wheat and corn – is not as terrible as we assumed. Perhaps the solution to creating sustainable diets for all and achieving nutrition justice involves a mixture of both monoculture and permaculture (producing a natural variety of produce in a given locale) in a sustainable ratio. It is clear that policymakers need to construct a decision-making framework based on their ethical, political, and economic principles on local food production, food storage, and of course, geoengineering. Finally, researchers must provide insight into future global food governance structures, given all of the principles and pathways available for sustainable development in the context of nutrition justice.