Post Carbon Fellows Michael Bomford and Bill Ryerson were quoted in this feature on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Aljazeera.
From the article:
Professor Michael Bomford, a research scientist at Kentucky State University and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, is concerned about how our dependence on oil to feed ourselves is leading to soil depletion and degradation, as well as increasing prices.
"The farm is a very small proportion of the economy in the US and other developed countries, but it has a disproportionate impact on global change," Professor Bomford, who has a Master's of Pest Management and a PhD in Plant and Soil Sciences, told Al Jazeera. "Clearing land for farming releases carbon into the atmosphere and that contributes to climate change. Then by farming it, using cultivation causes soil to be lost in wind and erosion, and that topsoil took thousands of years to form. One extreme weather event can cause us to lose thousands of years of soil."
Modern farming impacts soil by the use of nitrogen fertilizers, which are energy intensive to produce and which deplete carbon in the soil.
"This erodes the soil's ability to hold nutrients, and starts a positive feedback loop," added Professor Bomford. "A lot of our soils now rely on irrigation rather than rainfall, which depletes groundwater reserves, and these have huge impacts on the soil."