Agro-forestry for the nature and food

  • Jagadish Wagle

We need an efficient environment to preserve the earth for the sake of achievements so far however, natural settings and eco-system are at the risk of collapsing at any time. The economic growth, so far, is the only excuse of exploiting the ecosystem. Indeed, economic growth is essential for the prosperity but the growth based on wellbeing is more important. Preserving the natural order by creating synergic effects from different works is the best way to practice for wellbeing. The serious thing to be considered is the earth; which have billions’ year long history, have never been facing such pressure but it has been terrible experience under the modernisation discourse for three hundred years. We have so far been treating natural resources as a free gift of Nature (Claimed by classical economist David Ricardo) 

The growth and prosperity should be pro-ecosystem and the natural order that could promote wellbeing. Let’s take an example to understand this approach; if the economic growth is targeted from the wood industry then the growth of jungle such as planting trees must be the multiplier. Growing trees directly to support the renewing of water generation processes and oxygen system. This is how development should be focused. When growth is offered then the different ways of preserving environment should also be accelerated. Hence, the development should not be trade-off of one component to others, rather it should be synergy. The synergy effect on the projects are the positive impact from one to others. The one project must be able to support the growth or prosperity of others.

In contrast, it is said that, especially after the Second World War, the human behaviour dealing with the nature is kind of trade-off of each other. The trade-offs is the negative effect from one work to others, meaning the one must be given up to have others. In this regards, the valuable natural settings have been treated in a way of creating unbalance relation between the events just for economic growth and PROFIT. Indeed, the profit gained from the losing one may not be considered as prosperity rather it is a changing forms of the system or a disappearance of valuable sources that is essential for other industry. The social cost of the losing item could be even more valuable than the profit we achieved.

Deforestation has devastating effects outweighing the monetary benefit gained from the wood industry. No one can imagine a life without oxygen that is generated from the trees. Hence, preserving jungle should be a sole responsibility of wood industry. But it seem that the banking system is not responsible for the financial crisis, wood industry is not responsible for the deforestation and food industry is not responsible for the food waste and so on. Tanks to the classical economic approach of regarding land, air and water as a free gift of the nature. The free gift of nature have been considering ‘no cost’ however, land, air and water created by the nature have huge cost. Following the ‘free gift of nature’ narrative, the giant industries paid nothing against their profit to the lost they have made in natural resources. But it is not too late to change the way of thinking to promote wellbeing by putting human and nature at the centre.

“Hence, preserving jungle should be a sole responsibility of wood industry. But it seem that the banking system is not responsible for the financial crisis, wood industry is not responsible for the deforestation and food industry is not responsible for the food waste and so on.”

Man is the best driver of progress and also an innovator of development. Men are the source of two factors of productions i.e. labour and organisation among four other factors. Men can also plan well to organise other factors capital and land. There are four factors of production i.e. land, labour, capital and organisation. However, in modern times the information technology have a dominant role in development. By considering the importance of technology, some have considered five factors of production. The factors of production is that source without which the production is incomplete. To understand this example easily, let’s take one example of the production of a piece of furniture. A table is only possible when four (or five) factors of production are being worked together as needed.

The outcome of the development shouldn’t be painful however it might be more or less painful as like the shadow underneath the lamp. Thus, men should change their behaviour in line with reducing risks inherited with development. The easiest solution of this is a way of development that follow the rule of nature and ecosystem. Destroying the natural order in developing the infrastructure is adding the risks that may lead the world to collapse any time soon. Hence the global governance can promote wellbeing easily

Is it easy to change the way of thinking and behaviour?

How can men change their behaviour to promote wellbeing? There could be many ways to get to the goals. For instance, by reducing water, food, and forest consumption and waste human can save more resources by changing day to day behaviour. Even further, a man can follow many tips and tricks to save running tap water while working or cooking. Similarly, we can save food products from farm to kitchens. Good sanitation, cooling system, storage, and right quantity selection for consumption are some good tips to save food every day. This a simple example how we can behave with the limited resources to save things. We also can think about how to regenerate and renew the system of things once we use them. Meaning, we must plant two or more seedlings to cut a tree. The reason behind the philosophy of planting two seedlings against a tree is that, for sure, at least one could alive in the end. That means planting all seedlings will not necessarily be alive due to adverse weathers condition. Hence, one tree must be grown instead of cutting another tree.   

Moreover, agroforestry i.e. food and fruit trees is more beneficial than the growing naked trees. That could be the best alternative to increase food stuff, preserve environment and reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emission. This is multidimensional approach of growing greenery. Agriculture is the best way for the food security however, it produces about 21 percent GHG. By considering the fact, the pattern of farming should also be changed in line with innovative, smart and resilient system. An overhauling reform in the traditional approach of human behaviour must be changed in line with advance technology and scarce resources.   

Thus it is a matter behavioural gap that could be fulfilled from well research. Based on the principle of trade off and synergies we could do a lot in saving invaluable natural resources. By adapting such preserving behaviour we also do a lot more on industries, transportation and technology and so on while producing goods. Frankly, humans are not doing well. There is a huge gap and potential alternatives to do the best to offer the gifts of healthy earth to the next generation. Let’s think about new economy based on wellbeing.

Originally published on INCOMESCO


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