By Kenneth Dahlberg

This e-book, that's the results of an highbrow odyssey, all started as an try and discover and map the environmental and cross-cultural dimensions of the ongoing unfold of the golf green revolution-that package deal of high-yielding different types of grain, fertilizers, irrigation, and insecticides that constitutes the center of recent commercial agriculture. within the means of traversing the terrain of numerous highbrow traditions and slicing via numerous disciplinary forests and thickets, a couple of outstanding observations have been made-all resulting in sober­ ing conclusions. First, such a lot highbrow maps facing agriculture fail to acknowledge it because the uncomplicated interface among human societies and their surroundings. due to this, they're little higher than the "flat earth" maps of previous centuries in aiding to appreciate worldwide realities. moment, whilst agriculture is analyzed from a world perspec­ tive that takes evolution heavily, one sees that the ecological dangers in addition to the power and social expenses of recent commercial agriculture make it principally beside the point for constructing nations. past that, possible see an outstanding want inside industrialized nations to improve more cost-effective, much less dicy, and extra sustainable agricultural choices. Early within the trip it grew to become transparent that traditional disciplinary ways have been insufficient to understand the scope and variety of world agriculture and new multilevel method used to be wanted. It additionally grew to become transparent that any new strategy must try and right yes Western biases and blind spots.

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You are not comparing bags of mixed nuts, where only the proportion of each type of nut varies, but cakes, where different proportions of similar ingredients produce quite different results. Second, not only is there significant variation in the physical parameters of agriculture, there is also variation in historical and cultural understandings of man's relationship with nature. This applies as much to the best scientific theories of any period as to folklore or "prescientific" knowledge. It is curious but understandable that both the sociology of knowledge of Karl Mannheim and the sociology of science of Robert Merton exempt the fundamentals of modem science from the sorts of analysis that they apply to other subjects and periods.

8 In succeeding centuries, the landscape was slowly transformed through gradual population increases and occasional innovations in agricultural technique. 9 The dramatic joining of the Old and New Worlds in the 15th century led to extensive transfers of grains and animals from one to the other (maize and the potato going from the New to the Old World, most livestock and poultry going the other way). However, it is only in this century that there has been an organized scientific effort to speed up and direct natural selection in animals and plants.

44 Chapter Two the available land). "56 After World War I, when the deterioration of soil fertility caused by European methods became apparent, the "remedy" suggested was based upon another British agricultural mainstayfarmyard manure. The benefits of this approach were rather localized because there were few cattle herds near farming areas, and where there were, the manuring gave good results only if it were a drier region. An attempt was then made at green manuring through the introduction of leguminous crops into the rotation pattern.

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