When people hear about ‘Peak Oil,’ they immediately fret about increases in prices at the pump and various household products that use petroleum.
‘Peak Phosphorus,’ on the other hand, receives short shrift because the average bystander has no idea of the value and essential role that phosphorus plays in feeding the world’s population. After all, as a friend stated when I asked what he knew about phosphorus: “It’s just the ‘P’ element on the periodic table, right?”
Well yes, that’s right. But it’s also more than that. Phosphorus is one of the three core nutrients along with Nitrogen and Potassium required for plant growth. Phosphorus is also responsible and essential for the construction of DNA and cell membranes in all living organisms. It also plays a pivotal role in bone formation in humans.
As the world waits with baited breath for the next Green Revolution to officially commence (hopefully one driven by sustainable agriculture practices and technologies), here are some quick facts to wrap your head around:
- The UN Population Division estimates that 2050, the world population will peak at around 9 billion an increase of nearly 40% from the current number – 6.5 billion
“Brazil stands on the brink of becoming an agricultural superpower.” So says the Financial Times. Motivated by fears that reliance upon imported food staples would prove financially unsustainable, Brazil, has worked tirelessly over the past four decades to augment its domestic agricultural production through major investments in agriculture research. As a result of investment in farm technologies and practices, grain production yields have grown by 152% in the past 20 years.
An article in The Economist entitled ‘Doing more with less’ examines the feasibility of growing food on a grander scale in the coming years to accommodate a growing population that according to the UN is poised to grow by 2.5 billion people over the next 40 years. The article focuses on three core areas of agriculture that will have to be addressed in order for agricultural production to keep up with world food demand. These core areas include: “narrowing the gap between the worst and best producers;”
The need to develop sustainable agriculture solutions and technologies that support topsoil development and preservation is essential to the survival of the human race. For this to happen, dirt must become a sexy cause that people feel compelled to rally around.
Perhaps the ‘Board of Dirt’ or ‘Dirt Board,’ if such a board existed, could use this tagline in its collateral to sell the sexiness of dirt.