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The farming and environment. Is agriculture and cattle more dangerous than useful?

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Автор: Lazzat Zhengisova0623

Abstract

 

Agriculturing and cattle are  important sources of products for human life. Being so it may be affected by the humanity both positively and negatively. Thus a question may arise whether farming should further take place in our world given that it might be more harmful forthe nature than useful . This research paper, following the main aim of this investigation and using qualitative methods, examines five articles and the results from the interviews.    It was obtained from the findings that the matter of its usefulness mainly lays on the fact of how people manage farming and nowadays, there are truthfully more drawbacks from agriculturing and cattle, affecting on planet negatively than its profit.  In conclusion we state that the outcomes of farming and cattle mainly depend on human management which may reveal the level of threat on the environment. 

 

Keywords: agriculture, cattle, farming, environment, nature, benefits, drawbacks.

 

Introduction

Everything has its own importance, benefits, and drawbacks, including growing plants and animals, cattle. But even though it has both sides, things might have more disadvantages than advantages, and which ones best to eliminate, surpass and sacrifice for another one in order to prolong and make life healthier. 

Agriculture and cattle, in other words farming is important to humanity as it support our lives by conducting us with essential raw materials for food, like meat and seasons, for medical purpose, to produce herbs, for cloth and etc. Farming indeed has many benefits due to respect of humanity and for survival of species that people grew there. However as it has direct connection with nature and living existence, also as problem with environment and climate change arise nowadays, issue about farming’ usefulness will be at question regarding nature. 

Scientists and professors of universities are making any kind of researches about negative or positive impacts of farming, as had mentioned, due to its relation to climate change and atmosphere, one’s results would be : loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, n.d.).

To support our position, we should inform main problems that occur during the growth of living things are the fault of methods of people who responsible for rising plants and animals. For example, according to Worlds Future Council (2012) machine- intensive farming methods and land use changes has ability to powerfully speed up climate changes by causing soil erosion, then forest degradation, which one in turn lead to deforestation, and resulting in increasing of carbon emission concentration in the atmosphere.

Even though, there is also a believe that agriculture prevent land from urbanizing and aid some animals in finding their places to stay as cities, which is not suitable place for many types to live in for them, growing and occupying all desirable land (Greentumble, 2016). Moreover, there are also other benefits like how agriculture boosts soil fertility, sequesters carbon, retains soil and prevents erosion, conserve water etc.

Regarding this issue, we as a part of the world, where at the past decades, global warming, pollution and other issues occurring, are concerning about reasons of the problem.

So, we have taken this topic into consideration its meaningfulness in live of ours and affects to an environment according United Nations’ 17 aims - SDG#13- climate action; SDG#15 – life on the land, distinguishing either farming more dangerous or useful in order to ease some people thoughts in accomplishing some procedures for or against farming. Our motivation was our project we are currently working at which is linked with agronomy, also care about nature, in addition awareness of worldwide situation moved us with a curiosity what it can bring in the future for people.

 

Context

O'Callaghan et al.’s (2019) summary article describing the negative effect of the cattle to watercourses and riparian margins, like to stream morphology, underwater biota with help of aqueous pollutants and point sources, especially, in places where cattle are directly in touch with freshwater resources. It has said that mitigation measures as a solution could reduce this impact by decreasing the time or amount of cattle spend near the resources, however soon, it has known, that this type of water management has potential not pleasurable impacts, so, this project in need of further investigation (O'Callaghan et al., 2019). But even after many tests, there is no conclusion yet, as different results and various conditions established there due to some biotic factors (O'Callaghan et al., 2019).  

Similarly, the report of Holden et al. (2015, page 4) depicting not enjoyable sides of agriculture impact on water quality in direct and indirect way, in another way, including soil, nutrients, and pesticides being transferred to water sources from agricultural lands during rainfall events as a direct route, and upland drainage improvement for grassland as an indirect way of the impact.  

Regulating alongside water resources, with reducing vegetation cover, might increase the amount of light in the water, increasing its heat and oxygen keeping capacity, which has impacts on in-stream ecosystem, in addition rising up the potential of nutrient enrichment, that has negative consequences(eutrophication) (Holden et al, 2015, page 4), like affecting to fish spawning. Also, after the overdone experiment, they concluded that 75% of sediments in the polluted water of the UK are from farms, in other words, from agricultural lands, as well as 60% of nitrates, 25 % of phosphorous in it.  

Likewise, by the report of World Meteorological Organization written in 2007 (page 4), the rate of atmospheric nitrous oxide concentration rate is increasing constantly since 1980, and higher than thirty percent of all those emissions are primarily coming from agriculture. 

Also, even though the report gives information about the challenges, evidence gaps, progresses made and potential solutions (Holden et al, 2015, page 3). It offers solutions, additionally, which are all about gathering more information and giving support to further researches, like making collaborations between researches, which is hard to realize, as they have not only other businesses, should be attended by them, but also those researches do not have many opportunities to do so.  

In addition, Tommaso P., who published an article in 2018, in which said – agriculture, especially those that feed cattle – a sector that produces the highest quantity of emissions of the main greenhouse gas. To comparison, it is equal to the total amount of carbon dioxide made by the whole type of transportation (Tommaso P., 2018). And Tommaso states that agronomy and deforestation are responsible for 21 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, nearly 44 billion tones from 2000 to 2010 via an increasing amount of land with chemical fertilizers to make meat and so on for countries in developing. And in result, it led to issues with forests, like deforestation and forest degradation, reducing absorption of carbon and anthropic emissions, at the end making agronomy in one way – a perpetrator, but in another hand - victim, as those emissions, affecting to climate and environment, like acid rains, and rising temperature making, in return, condition for crops, plants, and etc. less suitable to growth (Tommaso P., 2018). 

It should be said, even though agronomy products as we assume should go to people for use, most of its part, actually, about 95 percent is consumed by cattle, and a huge amount of it also goes to feeding bovines, which one’s one kilogram of meat, in need of 200 kilos of CO 2 emissions, according to an experiment by the Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden. For example, 800 million tons of soy in the rise to feed 700 million pigs in China alone, by destroying the world’s green lungs, like Amazon and Latin American green fields (Tommaso P., 2018).  

Furthermore, in Tommaso’s article (2018), there is a mention about “Agroecology”, a suggestion of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), which one will establish a sustainable agricultural system by optimizing and stabilizing crop yields, cutting down deforestation and rise in sea level, also reducing human impact on the environment. However, the use of those, after implementing, benefits that arise from the agroecological system require favorable background, adapted policies, public investments, etc. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2014).

According to an article by Greentumble (2016), agriculture helps to maintain and keep valuable ecosystems, and an example of it is the extensive agronomy of highly rare grasslands in Romania. Grasslands, if they sustainably maintained, like in Romania, can provide a place to live for animals and plants, that was entirely wiped out by modern development, but in contradiction to own words, saying that intensive agriculture, too, damages environment (Greentumble, 2016). Those agricultural lands keep and enrich the terrains of these living animals, also stimulating healthy re-growth of unusual high-level biodiversity vegetation (Greentumble,2016). Agriculture diverse natural habitats, if its system work in harmony with nature such as permaculture and other types of farming, as for some species open meadow habitats are in necessity for them, like for waterfowl or amphibians or for North American White-Tailed Deer, which one's number increased due to agronomy activities and feel pleasant in those areas, likewise about prairies that in need of successional habitats, land in need of disturbance to be maintained (Greentumble, 2016). Agriculture prevents the land from urbanizing and reduce the difficulty of finding habitat for animals, the fact that gave some idea for the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) to protect native species and their homeland (Greentumble, 2016). There are also other benefits like how agriculture boosts soil fertility, sequesters carbon, retains soil and prevents erosion, conserve water, etc. but of course if it is suitably managed as Greentumble (2016) mentions.

Aims

The purpose of research paper is to find out is agriculture a main threat to our environment or its benefits exceeds drawbacks. For that reason, firstly there are needs in finding to what subjects of nature, human life does agriculture and cattle affect to and how, identify the advantages, disadvantages of farming.

Secondly, recognizing their consequences, impact to our life, to nature.

At the end, it is expected that agriculture has a more negative impacts than positive, although it conducts us with the food to consume.  However, it needs to be proved. For more information we will conduct interviews to ease a process of finding an answer for this question.

Methods

In order to gain some primary and secondary information we need to conduct or quantitative or qualitative methods of gathering data, like interviews or surveys and so on. However, some of them do not fit with needed inquiries with their own limitation, as opportunities of ours, too, do not unlimited via some boundaries. 

Firstly, why interview. Interview is the best choice to investigate issues in an in-depth way and to achieve deepen understanding of a problem, it is good also in attaining an information about the use, effectiveness and usefulness, dangerousness or possibilities of an issue with a people who understand or know something about the given topic with the help of further different advantages, like being oppositely to survey, interview allow to conduct and gather needed data more neatly as more detailed question permitted, especially it is necessary when human is able to interpret question in its own way and usually interviews achieve a high response rate, in a reason of when person asks personally, others, considering of the idea that person came for you specifically they accept request, which require answering a few questions, even though it might take a long time than expected.

About detriments of interviewing is that it is time-consuming, preparation and finding pleasant, comfortable free time for the both sides of an interviewer and interviewee, also difficulty in making questions, as they should be quite understandable to not to confuse the person you are interviewing. In addition, hardship in a transcribing, including all pauses, misspellings, in analyzing of an achieved information, with following all formalities. Making a feedback and report, can be necessary but also follow structure, again analyzing take much time.

The reason why quantitative method, in other words, survey did not take place in research is due to some limitations. Firstly, it is because boundaries concerning questions. In this research simple questions that require only a few words does not fit and cannot explanate and with ease provide enough data to the research question. Main question is type of a controversial, means it cannot precisely answered by the participants of a survey, even though its audience will be researches and farmers via the difficulty of recalling the information related to them, or simply because of issue of expressing their minds freely and truly. Indeed, if there were only an options like, yes or no, then participants could not tell the truth behind these controversies, leading to an unreliable sources of information, that then could become not suitable for the research paper and answering to the issue with the possibility of not be relieved as accurately as when using alternative data gathering methods such as face-to-face interviews and focus groups. 

And why not group interviews. Because sensitive topics, which people may feel uncomfortable discussing in a focus group has a chance of occurring during interview due to proceeding research requirements. And another disadvantage of a group interview is that interviewees sometimes are influenced by others in the group, so answers are not truly reliable by making the research answers less evaluating.

We did not proceeded experiments as project will take a long time to make it as it concerned with an advantages and disadvantages of a cattle and agriculture which cover living existence that grow slowly. Moreover, the place where it should be made will be placed beyond the border of allowance. For the cattle and agricultural plants to rise the farm is in need.

About evaluating the results after charging interview. The results might be biased, according to a place where they rose, where they work, however, their relevance will still be in the middle, as teachers do not able to know all about farming, but, know about nature processes, and their teaching program does include something about agriculture and cattle. It should be mentioned that people who now working in an agriculture and cattle did not participated in interview, as firstly, now, is a winter time and if there is farming, only passive one, secondly time provided obligated us with boundaries, so there were not enough time to find people, but even if we were to find them, even though they will give reliable data due to their experience, however they would be too biased as it directly concern their workplace.

 

Results

As it has said before, interview conducted as a source of an information and four people participated in it. They are all teachers of biology or chemistry, also some of them had something to deal with agriculture and cattle. We chose teachers by the reason they understand the processes in our world and they would be not completely biased as their work do not have any connection with farming, and most of them did something regarding rising plants and cattle, as they were born in soviet union and lived after we got independence, at times when rising vegetables or growing animals, especially in villagers was a common occurrence. 

Five question were asked from the teachers about any disadvantages or advantages of farming they might knew and opinions of them in respect of comparison, in other words which exceeds another, is it convenience or drawbacks and about any other ideas they might have connected with an issue.

The results obtained showed us that the main advantages of rising crops and animals is that they help to gain better, also adapted to different changes types of existences by making various cultural differentiation by entering of artificial environments to natural ones, besides, they help to keep some wild species alive. For example, wolves eat them to stay alive, to safe their population or insects, bees pollinate plants saving both plant’s population and own one. That’s the benefits of farming in its every form. However, there would be another advantages, like making a cycle to help and fertilize soil for the crop, plants as animal’s afterwards biodegradable, do not contain any pesticides, herbicides- addition and solution that human spray to plants in a purpose to make plant grow better, to keep away insects, worms, so on, which may harm environment, product’s quality and persons health if not used properly. Also, with that they helps nature to grew new or maintain balance of the population of some plants if agricultural lands and farms would be managed rightfully, including the fact that all things in nature is balanced into a cycle, but people with their desire and pursue of technology and money keep pushing nature to its end additionally degrading, oppositely, water quality, forests, soil and etc.

Apart from this, there were also about drawbacks, such as not effectively controlled pastures, a field for animals. Because of them a few types of plants suffer loss. As an example, we can take tulips of Greig, most common flowers in Kazakhstan as one interviewee said. Moreover, inartificial lands dying with the increase of fields for use for rising food, material resources, resulting in depriving environment in an ability of regeneration itself. People, while thinking about themselves try to wipe out some not, as they consider, needed species, disturbing, regarding natural cycle of links between animals, nature. Humanity with its actions hurting surroundings because of its own greed, even though knowing that it will affect them negatively at the very end. 

Equally, agricultural fields with poor maintaining will gravely harm an environment, unlike past actions, like using method that contain fallow, which minimize harmful effects, when the overall allowed field is divided into groups, one that will be using during one year and other will be leaved for another, so soil will have enough time to regain its fertility again by not exhausting lands, to be ready to plant any seeds. But, over time, humanity, now, mostly just overlook possible negative impacts of the poor control, spraying all types of chemistry solutions in a great amount, which pollute underground watercourses, that lead to a pollution of a river, other upper ground water sources, increase the speed of marine plants, seaweeds, then after growing enough big to prevent other live forms from sun rays, leading them to their death, then producing methane, one of greenhouse gases, that boost climate warming, overall making eutrophication happen. 

At the end of interview, we concluded, cattle are less dangerous comparing to agricultural land, but they both can have great negative or positive effects on an environment depending on a growing those species human’s policy. And to make more profitable farming, state should look better after farms, fields, giving them more subsidies.

Additionally, from interview, the fact of people’s biased relation and ideas to the advantages of farming were shown. Even though they gave more information about negative effects than positive, interviewees for the question - “What do you think, is there more negative or positive effects of farming?”, they would choose positive sides.

 

Conclusion

Although, after research done, we find that farming affect almost to all subjects of nature, like to soil, deteriorate or fertilizing it, air, water, polluting them, forests, worsening or helping them in spreading, species with population, climate by affecting to a content of atmosphere. They affect in many aspects, which explain its meaningfulness.

To begin with, the main thing that should be reminded is that agriculture and cattle – the central, essential part of our everyday life, providing us with the stuff surrounding us. 

At the end of research, we concluded that the balance of being more dangerous or useful not only to human life but also to surroundings depends on human's politics and the relationship with nature. If a human does his work with no consider about what might happen if he continues to harm soil, water, crops quality and etc., the nature being not able to regenerate itself, as there is not enough time for him to do it, and can it as people continuously damage state its components, leading to a worsening current situation in the planet as we can observe even today due to large amount of worse managed farming fields.

However, the advantages for both parties, if farms managed properly also if appropriate rules of managing, and those benefits we listed above. But, to achieve that people should change their perspectives and politics regarding rising crops and cattle.

Concluding all gathered information from the secondary and primary resources, we can assume that, even with results obtained, further professional researches about agriculture and cattle is needed, as this issue require experimental and time-consuming research, to fully answer is there more useful sides of agriculture than dangerous regarding nature when it is managed both poorly and normally, especially considering cattle. But, even in this situation, conclusion would be the same, people need to learn to look after surrounding, even a little similar to the past actions, likely, burning human waste, planting more trees, using methods effective enough to gain more products and to ease a burden for nature, similar to fallow. 

Reference List

Tommaso, P. (2018). How agriculture and climate change are related: causes and effects. Retrieved from:

https://www.lifegate.com/people/news/agriculture-and-climate-change-causes-effects-impacts

FAO (2014). Overview. Retrieved from:

http://www.fao.org/agroecology/overview/en/

FAO (n.d.). FAO’s work on agroecology. Retrieved from:

http://www.fao.org/3/I9021EN/i9021en.pdf

O'Callaghan et al. (2019). The Environmental Impact of Cattle Access to Watercourses: A ReviewJournal of Environmental Quality. 48(2). p340-351.

Holden et al. (2016). A Review of Health Risks and Pathways for Exposure to Wastewater Use in AgricultureEnvironmental Health Perspectives.  124(7). 900-909.

Greentumble (2016). Positive effects of agriculture on the environment. Retrieved from:

https://greentumble.com/positive-effects-of-agriculture-on-the-environment/

NASA (n.d.). The Effects of Climate Change. Retrieved from:

https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/

World Future Council. How does agriculture contribute to climate change?Retrieved from:

https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/how-does-agriculture-contribute-to-climate-change/

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