As I did research for writing The Call of the Land, I interviewed Richard Heinberg, the author of several books describing our environmental and economic status quo. His works include Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World, and The Party’s Over.
Heinberg recognizes that agriculture is a primary root of our current environmental and economic crises. He shared some observations.
“I am sorry to say that the call of the land right now is a painful gasp. We have been systematically destroying topsoil, ecosystems, species, waterways, dead zones in ocean, you name it. Every biologist I know believes we are in an extinction period right now that rivals and possibly exceeds any in history.
“The land still in many places offers healing and respite from the dreary urban experience with birds, trees, and so on – but it’s hard to escape the realization that for most species the ecosystems are being stressed to the breaking point.
“There is a surreal quality to watching all these things unfold. It’s one thing to study the trends and to theorize that industrial agriculture is unsustainable, then it’s quite another thing to see fertilizer prices skyrocketing, food riots breaking out, the airline industry convulsing, and the auto industry contracting. The reality is that it’s alarming and frightening to see it happening, and to see the speed with which it is unfolding.”