In terms of climate and environmental protection, agriculture is often in poor condition. Environmental groups, the media, and some scholars often emphasize the “harmful” impact that traditional land use has on climate, biodiversity, and animal welfare. They often oppose the image of (organic) farmers who grow a few livestock in harmony with nature and do without pesticides and genetic engineering.
But not everything is simply “black” and “white,” as journalist Timo Kuntzel claims in his book “Landverstand”. This idea comes from the fact that modern society has little to do with the production of its own food. The author comes from a family that grows grains and dairy and holds a degree in agricultural sciences, but is also interested in the goals of the environmental movement. So there are good prerequisites for studying the topic in many different ways. But does it work?
Complex issues require complex perspectives
Mostly yes. Already in the first chapter on “The Fundamental Principle of Agriculture,” Kuntzel establishes a core content that runs through the entire book. That is: the issues of nutrition and environmental protection are close, complex and interrelated in many ways. Those who cultivate land, for example, reduce biodiversity. Romantic ideas based on the motto “agriculture must be practiced in harmony with nature” are not enough – particularly in relation to current challenges such as the growing world population.
The author succeeds in explaining and analyzing the complexity of his question with the help of scientific knowledge. As a result, many controversial topics, such as breeding beneficial plants using genetic engineering, are emerging in a new light.
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