In the final decade of the 20th century, the historically unprecedented wealth that has been created on the planet has brought a material standard of living for many that was undreamed of in any previous era. It has also brought environmental and ecological problems that dwarf those which led to the fall of ancient civilisations in the once Fertile Crescent. Our technology and engineering skills have enabled us to make habitable those parts of the planet that were hitherto wilderness, but we have also seen the Dust Bowl, the drying out of the Aral Sea, the desertification of African savannah and the disappearance of tropical rain forests. As the world’s population expands the pressure on resources increases and the finite nature of those resources becomes more apparent. There are no new worlds to conquer and diminishing areas of forest to turn into new arable land. The question of how humankind can sustain its place on Earth takes on a new urgency. In the discussion on sustainability, organic farming plays a pivotal role. The continuing conquest of nature requires ever more precarious advances, as the pesticides and hybrid seeds of the ‘green revolution’ fail to fulfil expectations and hopes turn to genetic engineering and synthesised foods as the way forward.


Fair Trade Organic Food Price Premium Common Agricultural Policy Dust Bowl 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Sams

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