Life on Land

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Agrarianism: The Way to Sustainability and Resilience

  • Kirill Ole ThompsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71065-5_146-1
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Synonyms

Definitions

Agrarianism is an intellectual, emotional, and at times spiritual devotion to farming and rural living. Agrarians see value in living and working with nature, to produce vital food stuffs. Agrarians celebrate rural community, which includes not just human neighbors but livestock, wildlife, and the living ecosystem. They hold the family farm, where each person plays his or her integral role, in high esteem. In recent decades, agrarians have stressed not only the shared chores and the neighborly good turns but also the shared sense of stewardship of the land, the soil, the ecosystem, and the environment, which is being diminished if not lost with the rise of the free enterprise-minded, industrial-scale farmer whose eye is set on the bottom line. Sustainability with respect to Agrarianism and family farming refers to maintaining not just the fertility of the soil but also the diversity and vitality of the ecological setting. Resilience in the context of Agrarianism and family farming refers to the dynamics of the crops and livestock nested within the dynamics of the host ecosystem as a whole. These dynamics are measured by several criteria, such as autoregulation, functional and response diversity, connectedness, and openness to disturbance and natural capital.

Introduction

Given the immense impact of agriculture on the environment and climate change, Agrarianism as offering paths to sustainability and resilience will be an important plank in realizing SDG 15 to “protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems,” particularly with respect to combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss. (See “SDB Tracker for UN SDG 15” online.)

Contemporary Agrarianism refers to a swath of schools of thought and ways of life, which value and address the special features of farming, related vocations, and rural living (Thompson 2010). Agrarians hold that family farmers, in particular, lead independent lives in touch with nature. They make their own life and work decisions, mindful not just of market prices but also of the local ecology, climate, etc. Independent, yet attuned to their ecological setting, agrarian farmers think and act holistically. Agrarians act as stewards of the natural environment and attend to the local ecology as they cultivate their crops and raise their livestock. In the agrarian perspective, urban dwellers lead mostly dependent, other-directed lives, geared to artificial values, out of keeping with the pulse of nature (Thoreau 1992; Strong 1996). The agrarian life is built on trust, neighborliness, and cooperation, unlike the alienation and anxiety that typify modern urban existence. Living in a stable rural community lends to the formation of a stable sense of self, with vital links to kin and community and the land and locale. Agrarians regard tilling the soil, cultivating crops, raising livestock, producing food stuffs, tending to one’s plot of land, and the like as transformative, virtue-engendering endeavors. Indeed, while admitting that farming is toilsome, they reckon it is precisely such toils and challenges that temper a person’s determination, perseverance, wit, and know-how. Moreover, they view such virtues as nurtured in the course of the farmer’s interactions with nature in forging fecund order out of an anarchic natural setting (Thompson 2010).

Agrarianism in the Present

What is the value of Agrarianism in the contemporary world? Globally, humanity’s links with the soil, the land, and the environment are weakening apace, as people migrate to the bright lights of urban areas. But modern urban life is often artificial, disconnected, and alienating. Additionally, while family farmers are caught in a vice between global agribusiness and large food concerns, their city cousins have scant awareness of the sources of their food, which they only know as packaged products on supermarket shelves.

During the last century, industrialized agriculture ushered in economies of scale making cheap food widely available; however, this productive efficiency has come at a high cost to public health, animal welfare, and the environment (Thompson 2010, 33–36). While agrarian farmers operate as stewards of their land, the soil, and local ecology, industrial farms employ hired hands for basic wages, who don’t necessarily have feelings for the farmland or livestock and just brusquely work the fields and tend to the livestock. Industrial-scale farming tends not to be concerned about degradation of the environment or even of the farmland, and it accepts animal cruelty as a fixture of the exploitive activity. Moreover, the industrial-scale farms tend to overuse pesticides, fertilizers, etc. that might boost crop yields but also adversely impact surrounding ecosystems, by polluting soil, water, and air (Kraham 2017). Moreover, the excessive overuse of antibiotics in intensive factory livestock facilities results in reducing the antibiotics’ effectiveness for disease control in human beings as well as livestock (Manyi-Loh et al. 2018; Kirchhelle 2018). Another problem with intensive factory livestock facilities is the lack of attention paid to individual livestock; in such industrial installations, sick and dying animals are written off and left to die. Their corpses remain in the crowded pens until the lot is ready for slaughter. In view of the horrific sights, heartrending sounds, and nauseating smells at industrial-scale livestock facilities, the owners and management lobby state officials and legislatures to ban reporters and researchers from filming or even taking notes inside these livestock facilities (Carlson 2012).

Indeed, the global rise of industrial-scale farming, and its discontents, has fueled renewed calls for agrarian values; sustainable, eco-friendly production; and traditional family farming (Thompson 1995, 2010). Moreover, stirred by agrarian values and a hankering to live in closer proximity to nature, people around the world have begun flocking back to the countryside to try their taste for rural living and their hand at farming. Also, urban farming is catching on in various forms from neighborhood produce gardens to indoor vertical or warehouse farms, as more and more lots and buildings come available in hollowed-out old industrial cities.

Agrarian Values from the Classical Epoch to the Nineteenth Century

Agrarian virtues and lifestyles were highly prized in ancient Greece and Rome. In his epic, Works and Days, the Greek poet Hesiod (2017) celebrated the dignity, toil, and generosity of the farmer and propounded the prudential ethics of farmers, which reflected the admirable character of the farmers. In ancient Rome, Cato, Cicero, Horace, Virgil, and others also paid homage to the agrarian life and values (Spurr 1986). Horace (1983) poeticizes about his farm, touting its bounty, beauty, and oneness with nature. Virgil’s Georgics celebrates the natural piety of country life in sustained reflections on crop lands, orchards, livestock, and bees (2005); he presents farming as the most fundamental vocation of humankind. In pre-imperial China, the Tillers (Nongjia) argued that human society had evolved in tandem with farming and advanced the case that, in healthy societies, everyone would farm the land together (Graham 1979, 1989). Even the rulers would work the fields alongside the males in Tiller society, as their spouses would weave and perform domestic tasks with the females. The Tillers touted egalitarianism and self-sufficiency as the basic tenets of an equable society and stressed fair distribution of food staples (Graham 1979, 1989). In the eighteenth-century France, the Physiocrats also regarded land and agriculture as the root of economy (Vardi 2012). Following China’s example, the Physiocrats advocated laissez-faire agrarian policies and considered rural labor and extractive industry, including pastures, forests, mines, and fishing, as basic sources of national wealth; they regarded farm surpluses as source of wealth for trade and industry. The Physiocrats encouraged bringing the human order back into harmony with the natural order, to establish a cohesive, fair society (Vardi 2012). Besides stressing the primacy of agriculture, they rejected the shallowness and artificiality of urban life and praised the forms of life lived in harmony with nature. Since the late seventeenth century, modern Agrarianism, too, has revered farming as the basic vocation of man. John Locke (1956) asserted that those who worked the land should be its just owners in Second Treatise of Civil Government (1956). Locke’s labor theory of value influenced Thomas Jefferson (Thompson 2010) whose ideal of the noble yeoman gave rise to the American vision of the family farm homestead in the nineteenth century. Agrarianism was also a popular motif in eighteenth-century British georgic poetry, which explored such Horatian themes as town vs. country and the happy man, against the backdrop of rising Industrialization and mass society with its alienation and anxiety. Subsequently, the European Romantics idealized the sensitive individual farmer and honored Nature as a spiritual force. At a time when the wilderness was vanishing across Europe, the Romantics began to identify Nature with the mitigated wilderness of farm fields and woodlots. To them, farmers still lived in touch with Nature and were positioned to experience moments of transcendence while performing their daily tasks.

Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Agrarianism

In the United States in 1930, a group of cultural preservationists called the Southern Agrarians published “A Statement of Principles” in which they defined and defended a Southern way of life against the prevailing modernist way and touted the distinctiveness of the Agrarian vis-à-vis the Industrial (Donaldson 2006). They regarded agriculture as the leading vocation of humankind, one that requires intelligence and serves as a fitting model for all other callings. They considered the cultivation of the soil as the most sensitive of human vocations. Innovative agrarian voices of the mid-twentieth century included Aldo Leopold (1887–1944) and Rachel Carson (1907–1964). Leopold regarded the farm as a place of natural conservation; he warned of the environmental threat posed by farmers who had embraced the free enterprise ideal; he moreover followed Thoreau (1817–1852) in expanding the idea of rural community to include the environment and the farm itself. Leopold (1887–1944) published many essays and A Sand County Almanac (1949). Carson alerted the world to the environmental threat posed by chemical pesticides in her classic best seller Silent Spring (1962); with great prescience, she recommended the use of biological and ecological means of pest control. Silent Spring provoked widespread debate over environmental ethics, government regulation, and the appropriate use of technology that persists to the present day, as the continued overuse of pesticides is destroying insect populations that are crucial to crop as well as wild plant pollination. Carson also extended Leopold’s land ethic to include duties to the natural ecology.

Prominent contemporary Neo-Agrarian thinkers include Wendell Berry (1934–), J. Baird Callicott (1941–), Paul B. Thompson (1951–), Gene Logsdon (1931–2016), Eric Freyfogle (1952–), and Gary Snyder (1930–), to mention a few. Viewing the world through green-tinted lenses, they maintain the age-old traditional agrarian values while incorporating new concerns, such as environmental studies, biotechnology, and new farm technologies. Wendell Berry writes essays and poetry on farm life, rural community, connection to place, sustainable agriculture, oneness with nature, and similar themes (Berry 2003). J. Baird Callicott (1987) applies Leopold’s land ethic to address the problem of global climate change; he advocates a non-homocentric environmental ethic in keeping with Leopold’s moral tenet that “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise” (Leopold 1949). Callicott (1987) insists that any environmental ethic worth its salt would orient and guide people in addressing real-life ecological concerns in a holistic way. Paul B. Thompson and Stout (1991) applies the tools of philosophic analysis and ethics to examine the environmental significance of farming. Notably, Thompson in The Agrarian Vision (2010) focuses on sustainability ethics and agrarian philosophy. In several works, Eric Freyfogle (2001, 2007) examines ways for humanity to live sustainably by striving to attune their human activities and communities to the natural environment. Also, inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhism and Native American culture and practices, Gary Snyder writes essays and poetry on human practices, especially agriculture and fishing, in ecological context (Wirth 2017).

Neo-Agrarians welcome the agrarian values of non-Western traditions into their purview (Ames and Callicott 1989; Thompson and Thompson 2018; Wirth 2017). While appreciating that the received Western agrarian traditions offer valuable lessons, the neo-Agrarians seek to develop a more inclusive vision for the global village. In envisioning a diversity of new rural communities, they register and incorporate twenty-first-century global trends yet remain committed to maintaining a healthy, resilient natural environment. As humanity is, inescapably, a part of nature, the neo-Agrarians persist in reminding humanity of the need to integrate their human activities into natural processes, not to attempt to force the opposite.

New Inspirations for Agrarianism

In the developed world, the theories of biodynamic agriculture, permaculture, and agroecology (Hathaway 2015), as well as the practices of organic product marketing and sourcing, are catching on (Barrientos and Dolan 2006). In the developing world, peasant labor, farm labor, rural women, youth, and indigenous peoples are organizing (Ploeg 2008). Eschewing ideology and social conflict, these farm labor movements focus rather on developing peasant family farming by encouraging sustainable practices, such as the use of local resources and the preservation of local farming traditions (Hazell and Rahman 2014). By drawing on their own heritage, these peasant farmers utilize local resources to produce organic food stuffs with few external inputs, for family and community consumption and domestic markets. In Asia and Latin America, traditional farmers occupying niche environments, such as in mountainous or along seacoast areas, raise special crops and livestock for local and area markets; also, communities develop agricultural and coastal tourism for people to experience their lives in rural areas (Hazell and Rahman 2014).

Biodynamic agriculture has enriched Agrarianism. Following the work of Rudolf Steiner (2004), biodynamic agriculture stresses sustainable soil fertility and the relationship between plant growth and cosmic rhythms. Biodynamic agriculture aims at self-sufficiency in compost, manure, and animal feed, with minimal external and non-natural input. Biodynamic landscaping is dedicated to preserving ecological diversity (Beluhova-Uzunova and Atanasov 2019). As to permaculture, it involves fashioning sustainable human living spaces in ways that complement and enrich the local topography. It draws on the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems in offering sustainable solutions to local environmental problems (Ferguson and Lovell 2014); it stresses working with the natural ecology in order to care for the earth, wild life, and humanity.

The holistic, integrated approach of permaculture places emphasis on natural contemplation and minimal impact on local ecosystems. Permaculture regards human beings as nature’s kin, related to all life forms in the biosphere, and approaches nature with humility; it offers seven basic ethical action principles: (1) conserve, use only what is needed; (2) stack functions, get multiple outputs from each element in the system; (3) repeat functions, meet each need variously; (4) reciprocate, use outputs of one element to meet needs of other elements in the system; (5) use appropriate scale, make output scale match need scale; (6) diversify, use multiple elements to increase resilience; and (7) donate surplus, do not hoard (Mollison 1990). Ecoagriculture is aimed at biodiversity conservation while meeting food production goals. Its strategies include topography or landscape management to set aside spaces for natural growth while utilizing the most productive land in ways that fit in with the nesting ecosystem (McNeely and Scherr 2007). Also, ecoagriculture advocates the careful, measured use of biotechnology and enhanced farm technologies, for example, to tailor seed types to soil condition and climate and, moreover, to introduce less invasive or noninvasive farming methods that, for example, preserve root systems that hold and nourish the soil and allow the introduction of farming plots in rough terrain with limited topsoil (McNeely and Scherr 2003).

In East Asia, local governments are realizing anew the importance of the agriculture and food sector. In Taiwan, Japan, and China, for example, people are returning to the countryside, not just for respite from the crowds, traffic, noise, and pollution of city life but to try new, nature-friendly approaches to farming and marketing and just living (Siu 2014; Chueh 2018; Lee and Sugiura 2018; Cody 2019). Throughout East Asia, the old peasant societies have vanished, and rural societies have become less dependent on traditional farming. In a word, socioeconomic challenges are pressing rural societies to diversify their economies. Not only are old-style farmers increasingly in the minority; rural farm labor is in short supply. Rural occupations have diversified because farming alone can no longer support the rural population. Additionally, rising farm overhead and operating costs are spearheaded by expensive new farm machinery, advanced seed, fertilizers, and pesticides as well as by the training needed to carry out advanced farming. Living costs have risen, as well, due to new lifestyle trends introduced by globalization.

Industrialization pushes changes in rural society, as well, and urban trends and fashions are penetrating rural society through regional urban centers and Internet and cable access that relay global trends and styles. To survive, regional rural communities have to make over themselves to create economic opportunities and attract youth; local community leaders and boosters brainstorm not only about introducing new industries but about attracting new businesses (Leimruger and Chang 2019). Still, agriculture remains the key element. In Taiwan, globalization has caused several crises in the agricultural sector, primarily from the curtailment of rice subsidies and other price supports. Innovative farmers have turned to raising niche and special-order crops to make up for rising overhead. Over time, farmers in Taiwan who innovated and, for example, turned organic have prospered and begun to appreciate the ethical dimension of their organic farming operation. They increasingly dedicated themselves to practicing sustainable farming simply because it is good for the fertility of the soil and the health of the consumer. In addition, enterprising farmers are sidestepping the standard food marketing system by establishing their own brand names and by selling and even delivering their products directly to consumers. Some even distribute catalogs; survey consumer satisfaction, needs, and requests; and inform customers about their harvest and processing schedule. Japanese and South Korean farmers have been similarly innovative. In China, while organic crop and range livestock production are catching on, these activities are fueled more by the sparkle of potentially higher profit margins in the eyes of entrepreneurs and investors than the health of the environment and the public. The Chinese entrepreneurs’ mixed motives undermine consumer trust in a land where consumers have little or no confidence in locally certified organic meat and produce. Moreover, the ubiquitous soil and water contamination in China makes even the sincerest efforts to farm organic crops seem quixotic at best (Li 2016).

As to the Green Revolution, which admittedly alleviated world hunger by drastically increasing food production, has severely impacted the quality of the world’s fresh water supplies (Pepper 2008; Harwood 2013). The agricultural experts from university, state, and federal rural outreach programs who educated and guided farmers to implement green revolution measures in the end led the farmers to focus solely on crop production and yield issues, without taking into account impact on local ecosystems; additionally, broader collateral issues were neglected, such as underground water contamination, declining soil fertility, weakening local ecosystems, and environmental degradation (Glaeser 2010; Dahlberg 2012). Many big farmers have continued to follow this blinkered approach to farming, even though it may erode the fertility of their own cropland as well as the resilience of the local ecology. Faced with such problems as dwindling fresh water supplies, however, even the big farmers are starting to take off their blinkers and think about crop issues in the context of the local ecology, water, food, and energy (Joshi 1999).

People the world over are increasingly concerned about the degradation of the environment, mass extinction, and climate change and becoming aware of the serious impact of farming operations and practices and thus, by extension, of their own eating choices on these crucial problem areas. Farming operations occupy up to 50% of the earth’s land surface and exert serious impacts on the environment from chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides and on the climate from the production of greenhouse gases. Additionally, vast numbers of the world’s poor farm marginal lands and waterways and in hard times must turn to global charities to carry on. Global hunger and environmental ethics concerns intersect, as environmental degradation and climate change steadily erode the livelihood and living quality of the poor.

Sustainable Agriculture

The sustainable agriculture movement took shape during the 1980s in the United States, connecting the rural economic crisis with the environmental problems caused by agrichemicals, soil pollution, and deep plowing (Thompson 2010). Agrarians fully support sustainable agriculture, because it encourages farming practices that sustain fertile topsoil and local ecosystems as a necessary alternative to the invasive industrial farm model. It embraces not just environmental protection but also social fairness by placing equal emphasis on the well-being of farm hands and consumers. Social fairness includes economic equity for farm hands as well as access to basic food stuffs for the poor (Thompson 2015). A popular way for food consumers to practice sustainability ethics is to buy locally grown food in season directly from the producers (the farmers), for example, at farmer’s markets. The local food movement advocates that farmers and concerned people set up locally based food economies that encourage sustainable food production to enhance the environmental sustainability and public health of a locale (Brain 2012). Institutions like farmer’s markets defend local economies by providing places to buy locally produced food products and services rather than those delivered to supermarkets by distant transnational food companies. In short, the local food movement encourages consumption of local food stuffs and use of reliable short food supply chains. The concept of local food systems covers how food is produced and reaches consumers, as well as consumer food options; it includes the notions of food chain and food economy and is regarded as a key to implementing local food values. Local food systems operate in stark contrast to the industrial corporate model of food systems whereby producers and consumers are widely separated geographically. Local food systems enable close relationships to form between producers, retailers, and consumers. The local food systems serve as nuclei for ensuring the ecological and social sustainability of local communities (Henderson and Van En 2007). “Local” in this discourse is measured in geographic distance but is also understood in terms of basic ecological units demarcated by climate, soil, watershed species, and local agriculture practices. These units are called ecoregions or foodsheds, that is, the specific locales where the food is produced and consumed. Why should people eat locally? A community-supported agriculture system enables consumers to support local farmers; obtain fresher, healthier food; and better understand how their food is grown. Local eating also fosters budding relationships between farmers and consumers. Local farmers’ markets thus build community sociability while creating a unique sense of community in each locale (Kneafsey et al. 2008). Locally grown goods do not need to be transported cross-country or constantly cooled in large refrigeration units. Besides, locally grown foods are better because of the farms’ smaller size. Local farms produce much less waste in quantity and concentration than do factory farms, which moreover seriously pollute the surrounding air, land, and waterways. Locally grown foods support free-range or pasture-grazing farming methods, offering healthier meat products and further decreasing the need for factory farms.

With the rapidly increasing world population, efficiency is crucial to reducing the increasingly widespread malnutrition in the world today (Thompson 2010, 71–78). Hence, large-scale farming and global food markets will not be replaced anytime soon by the local food movement (Verstegen 2020). The hope remains, however, that the local food movement will flourish, not just to complement global food operations but to challenge the global food suppliers and sellers to be more environmentally and climate friendly and concerned about animal well-being. The pivot will be consumer sensitivity and demand regarding these and other issues, such as reliable quality food sourcing and fair trade assurance.

Resilience Agriculture

The looming climate crisis has fueled the outcry for a more proactive approach than just sustainable agriculture. An answer has been found in the notion of resilience agriculture, which is aimed not just at conserving existing ecosystems and resources but also at invigorating them, vitalizing them. An allied approach is agroecology (Gliessman et al. 1998; Altieri et al. 2015). The resilience watchword for farmers is to undertake ecosystem-based adaptations in crop layout, as well as introduce methods, materials, and even crops guided by adaptive strategies to meet resilience goals. Ecosystem adaptation is about nurturing the adaptive power of nature as channeled through specific ecosystems. Resilience thinking for agriculture is rooted in ecological theory and offered in response to perceived change vulnerability and adaptation. What is the importance of diversity in this context? Ecoagricultural diversity is crucial because environmental researchers have found that more complex ecosystems feature increased powers of self-organization and innovation as matrixes that channel energy flow, nutrient cycling, and pest suppression (Lengnick 2015). Importantly, resilient diverse ecosystems also feature increased self-regulation and adaptivity. Six criteria have been formulated for taking stock of agroecosystem resilience, which include self-regulation, functional and response diversity, spatial and temporal diversity, appropriate connectedness, exposure to disturbance, and local natural capital (Lengnick 2015, 286). The resilience approach to environment and agriculture is open-ended and embracing. It aspires to support and sustain eco-social well-being, the production of quality foods for local and area markets, and the growing awareness that, in view of the weather anomalies associated with climate change, a stable food supply chain can no longer be taken for granted. Advocates of agroecological resilience honor the Agrarian values of community sustainability and resilience. Moreover, in their view, the embracing notion of resilience transforms our understanding of the issues and problems and stirs people to seek working solutions. Resilience agriculture has been a boon to Agrarianism because of its challenge to step out of the comfort zone of past stability; to embrace the uncertainties compounded by climate change, economic upheaval, and pandemic disease, to mention a few; and to exercise our intelligence to seek out the opportunities for improvement offered by changes and uncertainty. Above all, it reminds us not to look for the deus ex machina of quick and facile technological or bio-technological fixes, but rather to acknowledge our dependence on and need to be sensitive to and work with the environment and natural world. In these ways, resilience ecology and agriculture promise a path to a sustainable and resilient future, from farm to fork (Lengnick 2015).

Conclusion

The question remains, why should people consider Agrarianism today? Humanity’s connection with the environment, the living earth, is breaking up and vanishing as people flock to the big cities, where they end up leading alienated, artificial, disconnected lives. In developing countries, life is a struggle in the city as much as in the country. In developed nations, the remaining family farmers feel caught in a vice between giant global agribusiness and big food processers. Meanwhile, city dwellers have scant awareness of the source of their food, which they recognize as the packaged products on supermarket shelves. In the last half century, industrialized agriculture has introduced economies of scale to deliver cheap food; however, this efficiency has come at a high cost to the health and resilience of the environment as well as the public. Moreover, industrial farm operators treat livestock as industrial output and neglect their welfare. They also depend on hazardous chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, which threaten the health and resilience of ecosystems and human systems alike, by contaminating soil, water, and even food. The ubiquitous rise of such phenomena is fueling new calls for Agrarianism and agrarian values around the world. And, in recent decades, more and more people have been exploring rural lifestyles and farming or at least striving to green their urban settings. This is important, for the survival of humanity will depend on people’s acceptance of sustainable agrarian values to reduce environmental degradation, species depletion, and climate change.

Agrarian thought, values, and lifestyles also offer new pathways to personal integration and healing as well as to increased public awareness and progress toward environmentally friendly and climate-friendly ways of dwelling in world. They further offer each individual a perspective for personal focusing and opening. Paul Thompson (2010) describes farming as an ensemble of focal practices whereby every farmer hones the necessary skills for raising crops and/or livestock efficiently, humanely, and in natural context. Conducting ensembles of focal practices for such wholesome purposes is conducive to personal integration and meaningful living (Thompson 2010, 111–135). By conducting these ensembles of focal practices in the context of running their farm, a person grows ever more mindful of the natural setting and the impact of their farming activities on the local ecology, the environment, and climate change. They grow increasingly alert and responsive to the subtle cues of the natural phenomena teeming around them and seek to fit in more intimately with the ecological setting of their farm. Further, they seek to sense, understand, and work with the resilience of the ecosystem which contextualizes their farm. Understanding the wider climate implications of human activity, they strive to reduce their carbon footprint, for example, by adopting clean green energies, natural fertilizers, biological pest controls, organic farming, range animal husbandry, etc. At the same time, aware that their farm is part and parcel of Nature, they eventually allow for measures of crop loss to other creatures with whom they share the ecological space and time as their humble offerings to Mother Nature on whom human life depends.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alexandra Aragão
    • 1
  • Anabela Marisa Azul
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade de Coimbra - Faculty of LawCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Center for Neuroscience and Cell BiologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal