Permaculture vs industrial agriculture: a sense of priorities

[Source of the following article: the blog of Denis la Plume ]

The technological progress is decidedly prodigious: with a combine, one man can cover hectares of land alone, with a plane he can spread pesticides at will.

When we look at productivity per hour worked in agriculture, technology produces miracles:

This is all the danger of reasoning only on numbers and statistics detached from reality: Science without consciousness is only ruin of the soul

The real question is: among all the statistics, in the full range of possibilities, what should be prioritized, where should the priorities be? If the first priority that is retained is actually the productivity per hour / human worked then, no hesitation, it is essential to advance the technology even more, to the point where robots could themselves plant, and do the watering, the spreading of pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and even harvest the transformations and package the products. All this for more financial gain for landowners since no more human being would be needed to make a profit from a piece of land.

Meanwhile, keeping an open mind, alert and on the lookout for all the data that can help us make decisions, we can see that:

    • the massive use of pesticides causes multiple side effects, including the poisoning of humans and wildlife (we think of bees but it is the whole ecosystem that is affected, which we know yet that it is formed by feedback loops and cycles of consumption by food chains), soil and water contamination of basements that spread throughout the environment including your glasses and plates,
    • industrial culture requires monoculture, a very risky bet when a single pest destroys a type of crop as this was the case in Ireland with the potato, especially since, by eliminating trees on cultivated surfaces, the soil and vegetation are exposed to drying out because they are unprotected from the sun and the wind, forcing the farmer to waste water in order to keep moisture in his field,
    • the choice of monoculture encourages the use of pesticides because the cultivated plant, deprived of a natural environment, does not benefit of any help from its environment to resist attacks and must be artificially protected,
    • plowing combined with chemistry greatly depletes the soil, eliminating all life within it and in depth (massive disappearance of earthworms), which nevertheless depends on anything that can grow on the surface,
    • industrial agriculture is very energy-intensive (mainly oil) and incidentally resource-intensive (metal, rubber, etc.) whereas we know that we are already using irrational and unsustainable resources in the planet time
    • the world’s population is growing,
    • the world’s cultivable areas are almost all already used and are tending to decrease in some areas, replaced by concrete, so it is in our interest to make the most of each square meter to produce food so to feed everyone,
    • the yields per square meter obtained in permaculture far exceed those of industrial monoculture, the disadvantage being that permaculture requires constant human intervention and cannot be mechanized or industrialized, each piece of land having its own particularities
    • moreover, permaculture uses very few resources except for gray matter and elbow grease, both proportional to the number of mouths to feed,
    • Humans are replaced everywhere and in all areas by machines, leading to unemployment that can only increase irreversibly in the decades to come, provoking an existential crisis because the human becomes useless, without that, in the current economic and social system, it leads to starvation or to being “maintained” by palliative systems of charity, we have seen a more glorious future …

      From these statements, it seems obvious that we must stop industrial agriculture and switch as soon as possible to permaculture everywhere, with almost immediate results:

      • quantity of food produced per hectare much higher,
      • suppression of unemployment, reconnection of humans with nature and their environment,
      • rational use of resources (water, oil, etc.),
      • invigorating soil, flora and fauna, restoring natural cycles and increasing yields even more.

        The only disadvantage is the loss of the industry of pesticides and machinery, undoubtedly causing a slowdown in the “Sacred Growth”. Is it really serious? It certainly is for the debt-money system that strangles us today, but by changing the monetary system, it is on the contrary a true salvation.Let’s keep in mind that one of the main challenges of permaculture is that there is not a universal manual to proceed. Once acquired a number of outlines, it requires solid training in many areas (chemistry, botany, physics, etc.), trial and error, experiments, depending on the type of terrain and topology, climate, resources available in water … this is exactly what the human excels and will be very difficult to automate. At first, we can consider that artificial intelligence, through the accumulation of feedback, can help to assist people to make choices. But it is still far, the day when sufficiently multifunctional robots like those of the series Humans will replace us in fields in permaculture. That day, perhaps we can definitely rest on our laurels, and finally make our lives exactly what we want. Provided, of course, that by then we have regained full sovereignty over the currency and the taking of collective decisions.

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