How to Save Agriculture Publication date : February 2, 2012
The author of Science de la Terre, science de l’Univers and L’Epuisement de la Terre, Daniel Nahon is a professor emeritus at Paul Cézanne University, in Aix-en-Provence, and an honorary professor at the Institut Universitaire de France. He is a geochemist specialising in soils in regions with hot climates.
Thanks to agriculture, a greater number of human beings live in better conditions now than ever before on the landmass they have appropriated.
But, in the process, they have flooded the land with water and with quantities of man-made products; they have become intoxicated with the gigantic cities they have built; they have crisscrossed the planet with roads and highways — with the result that the available surface of land that can nurture us has shrunk. And global warming has only exacerbated the previously announced fresh-water shortage. Already, one out of seven inhabitants on the planet suffers from hunger.
For the author the solution is clear: we must recognise the value of arable land and of fresh water; invent plants that do not require much water or pesticides; protect the life of subterranean microbes. There is no other way out.
• A warning cry from one of the greatest soil specialists, as he recounts the history of arable land and farmland.
• He outlines what could be an alternative form of agriculture, based on science and on a better understanding of the profound mechanisms of fertility.
• A book that will provoke discussion: GMOs, pesticides, labour-free agriculture, etc.