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How Do the Scale and Intensity of Contemporary Impacts Compare With the Impacts of Early Agriculture and Urbanization?

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The empirical estimations reveal that the higher share of agriculture in GDP, amount of cultivated land area, and rural male employment in agriculture have had a negative effect on urbanization in India. On the other hand, higher consumption of fertilizer, state government expenditure on agriculture, production of major crops (wheat, maize, jowar, and bajra), rural female employment in agriculture, and rural literacy rate have had a positive impact on urbanization.

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Human expansion throughout the world caused that agriculture is a dominant form of land management globally. Human influence on the land is accelerating because of rapid population growth and increasing food requirements. To stress the interactions between society and the environment, the driving forces (D), pressures (P), states (S), impacts (I), and response (R) (DPSIR) framework approach was used for analyzing and assessing the influence of agriculture on land use, environment, and ecosystem services. The DPSIR model was used to identify a series of core indicators and to establish the nature of interactions between different driving forces, pressures, states, impacts, and responses. We assessed selected indicators at global, national, and local levels. Driving force indicators describe growing population trend and linking land‐use patterns. The driving forces exert pressure on the environment assessed by indicators describing development in fertilizer and pesticides consumption, by number of livestock, and by intensification joined growing release of ammonia and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, and water abstraction. The pressure reflects in the state of environment, mainly expressed by soil and water quality indicators

Negative changes in the state then have negative impacts on landscape, e.g., traditional landscape disappearance, biodiversity, climate, and ecosystem services. As a response, technological, economic, policy, or legislation measures are adopted. Land cover and land‐use patterns on Earth reflect the interaction of human activities and the natural environment. Human population growth together with competitive land use causes land scarcity, conversion of wild lands to agriculture and other uses. As we can see, the anthropogenic factor has an important impact on land use and land cover changes. Given this human influence, especially during the past 100 years, the recent period has been called the Anthropocene Age. Human influence on the land and other natural resources is accelerating because of rapid population growth and increasing food requirements. The increasing agricultural intensity generates pressure not only on land resources but also across the whole environment. These factors make agriculture a top‐priority sector for both economic and environmental policy. Comprehensive assessment of the agriculture is a challenging task. There are different possibilities and methods for such assessment. To stress the interactions between society and the environment, the DPSIR framework approach is used for analyzing and assessing the influence of agriculture on land use and environment with emphasis on Slovakia.With the growing world population the requirements are grown to cover the food demand. Human expansion throughout the world caused that agriculture is a dominant form of land management globally, and agricultural ecosystems cover nearly 40% of the terrestrial surface of the Earth. Agricultural ecosystems are interlinked with rural areas where more than 3 billion people live, almost half of the world's population. Roughly 2.5 billion of these rural people derive their livelihoods from agriculture. Thus, population and land‐use trends are considered to be the main driving forces for agriculture. Besides these driving forces, EEA further distinguished the so‐called external and internal driving forces originating from market trends, technological and social changes, as well as the policy framework. For many economies, especially those of developing countries, agriculture can be an important engine—driving force—of economic growth. Approximately three‐quarters of the world's agricultural value added is generated in developing countries where agriculture constitutes the backbone of the economy. But not only in the developing countries but also in the developed countries agriculture has always been the precursor to the rise of industry and services.

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Urban areas provide many potential advantages for improving living conditions through the economies of scale and proximity they provide for most forms of infrastructure and services. This can be seen in the high life expectancies evident in the best governed European, Asian and North and South American cities. Urbanization over the past two centuries has also been associated with pro-poor social reforms in which collective organization by the urban poor has had important roles (Mitlin 2008). But there are still very serious development problems in many urban areas, including high levels of urban poverty and serious problems of food security and of high infant and child mortality. Many urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa also have very high prevalence rates for HIV/AIDs; where there are large urban populations unable to get required treatments and a lack of programmes to protect those most at risk, these increase urban mortality rates significantly (van Donk 2006)

But it is not urbanization that is the cause of such problems but the inadequacies in the response by governments and international agencies. In most nations, the pace of economic and urban change has outstripped the pace of needed social and political reform, especially at local government level. The consequences of this are evident in most cities in Asia and Africa and many in Latin America and the Caribbean—the high proportion of the population living in very poor and overcrowded conditions in informal settlements or tenements lacking adequate provision for water, sanitation, drainage, healthcare, schools and the rule of law. This is evident even in cities where there has been very rapid economic growth. The fact that half of Mumbai's or Nairobi's population live in ‘slums and squatter settlements’ is more to do with political choices than a lack of resources. Little more than a century ago, most ‘slums’ in Europe and North America had living conditions, and infant and child mortality rates that were as bad as the worst-governed cities in low-income nations today. Here too there were problems of under-nutrition, lack of education and serious problems with exploitation, as well as deeply entrenched discrimination against women in almost all aspects of life. It was social and political reforms that dramatically reduced these. And social and political reforms are addressing these in many middle-income nations today—as in Thailand, Brazil and Tunisia where housing and living conditions, basic service provision and nutritional standards have improved considerably for large sections of the low-income urban population.

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To conclude, urbanization and rising buying power have moved Americans up the food chain. The demand for expensive animal products grows. These forces have resulted in a dramatic escalation of solid waste production in cities and on farms. Urbanization and transformed agriculture have exploded the organic matter cycle

The nitrogen thrown away in farm and urban organic wastes in the United States each year equals 137 percent of the nitrogen in all chemical fertilizers. In contrast, China keeps her organic matter cycle intact and feeds a population four times as large as ours on an equal cultivated area. Future planning must meet the challenge of wasteful land utilization, the overshift of population to cities, and the problems of restoring the organic matter cycle.

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Mitlin D.2008 With and beyond the state: co-production as a route to political influence, power and transformation for grassroots organizations. Environ. Urban. 20, 339–360

van Donk M.2006‘Positive’ urban futures in sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDs and the need for ABC (a broader conceptualisation). Environ. Urban. 18, 155–176 (doi:10.1177/0956247806063971)

Bicknell J., Dodman D., Satterthwaite D. (eds)2009Adapting cities to climate change. London, UK: Earthscan

Boswell C., Crisp J.2004Poverty, international migration and asylum, pp. 35 Policy Brief No. 8 Helsinki, Finland: WIDER-UNU

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