Spirituality in Agriculture

Research publications concerning biodynamics
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Spirituality in Agriculture

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Spirituality in Agriculture

Frederick Kirschenmann

The Untied Nations “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report” published in March of 2005 detailed some disturbing conclusions. Produced by 1,360 of our leading scientists from 95 countries the report’s core findings can’t help but alarm us. The report found that over the last half century, humans have polluted or over-exploited two-thirds of the earth’s ecological systems on which life depends, dramatically increasing the potential for unprecedented and abrupt ecological collapses. And the report determined that most of these ecosystem damages were the direct or indirect result of changes made to meet growing demands for ecosystem services---in particular the growing demands for food, water, timber, fiber and fuel.

In other words the means by which we have met our basic human needs during the past half century is now the bane of our existence. And the agriculture we have practiced is at the heart of that outcome.

The report goes on to point out that there is no simple fix for this impending disaster. We have now set in motion a series of changes----climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation---that make it extremely difficult to restore ecological health. These changes, together with the loss of both species diversity and genetic diversity, has now severely damaged the resilience of ecosystems---the level of disturbance that an ecosystem can undergo without crossing a threshold to a different kind of structure or functioning. So not only have we degraded the productive capacity of the planet, we have also undermined the planet’s capacity for self-renewal and self-regulation.

And as if that news were not sobering enough, the report goes on to suggest that additional new challenges are now on the way. The report anticipates that during the next 50 years demand for food crops will grow by 70-85% and demand for water by between 30 and 85%.