Here’s an article from the New York Times today: “Beneath California’s Crops, Groundwater Crisis Grows.”
This might make a subject for a blog post. As well as the specifics of the CA situation, think about the metaphors that the NYT feels it appropriate to use to explain stock-flow ideas to its intended audience.
See also this blog post from Andy Rivkin, which has lots of references for further reading.
An article arguing that using corn for biofuel is a losing proposition.
You could analyze this in a blog post and probe the assumptions behind the calculations.
This National Geographic article was mentioned by a student in an introductory blog post. It gives some good resources for thinking about the food system.
It’s worth also looking at the response to this article from the Environmental Defense Fund, Feeding nine billion requires facing up to climate change.
One of the most energy and resource intensive human activities is harvesting food, mostly because we have so many people to feed. And the population is only growing. There have been a variety of responses to this dilemma, three of the big ones being
- to genetically engineer crops and livestock to produce more food with less resources,
- optimize farming practices to reduce waste (e.g. organic farming), and
- reduce the consumption of foods that are energy intensive (e.g. beef) or whose harvesting lead to unacceptable levels of environmental degradation (e.g. palm oil).
Unfortunately, each of these approaches faces major obstacles. The public is reticent to embrace genetically engineered foods, primarily because of perceived risks. Organic farming is not only expensive, but requires more space for the same crop yields as conventional farming. Reducing the consumption of energy intensive foods like meat and dairy–something advocated by the United Nations and the Environmental Working Group— is wildly unpopular. In the case of detrimental crops like palm oil and bananas, most people aren’t even aware there is an environmental problem.