Sustainability (2018-04-01)

Making Conventional Agriculture Environmentally Friendly: Moving beyond the Glorification of Organic Agriculture and the Demonization of Conventional Agriculture

  • Alon Tal

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 4
p. 1078


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The article reviews the most recent research surrounding the potential role of organic agriculture in providing food for the planet. It challenges the claims of organic agriculture’s environmental superiority compared to well-managed, conventional agriculture. The relative advantages of these contrasting approaches to farming in areas such as aggregate land requirements, biodiversity/habitat loss, water quality, land degradation and climate change are considered. Legitimate concerns about conventional agriculture’s adverse environmental and health impacts need to be addressed and many harmful practices transformed. Nonetheless, careful, sustainably-run, conventional operations can avoid many of the pitfalls and hazards which are often associated with high-input agriculture. The higher yields provided by conventional agriculture offer a more sustainable strategy than a chemical-free agricultural system at the global level for meeting the needs of burgeoning populations and reducing agriculture’s aggregate environmental impact.