Olivia Novak 27 April 2015



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Olivia Novak

27 April 2015

Sustainable Systems

One way to fight against the wicked problems of Anthropogenic Global Warming is to continue the development of greener farming systems all across the globe. Agriculture is a large source of how humans everywhere produce and receive their food and these farms are some of the most negatively affected areas from climate change and global warming. Agriculture is an extremely necessary part of human existence. Not only does it feed our entire population, but also it produces one of the most highly used fabrics in this nation, which is fiber. Agriculture produces feed for livestock and also creates bioenergy. In today’s world, agriculture highly contributes to GDP growth, allows the amount of poverty to become reduced and accounts for the massive amount of employment opportunities for men and especially for women. Most importantly, agriculture has one of the highest potentials for reducing carbon emissions and helping people adapt to climate change.

The U.S Department of Agriculture has been trying to help farmers adapt to the ways of climate change, even if these farmers do not believe climate change is an issue. These farmers are now provided with extension agents that give them technical support on the best ways to deal with the current changing climate. These methods include buffering wetlands to cut down on erosion and flooding, which harm these farmers’ lands. However, farms will not be the only lands benefitting form this new system, national forests and grasslands will now also be under constant management and will be monitored with the goal of storing CO2. Shortly after this system was implemented farmers immediately began to practice various techniques to reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions going into the soil. These techniques are also benefitting the growing crops in a more efficient manner by covering the crops to reduce the soil from eroding. In the long run, farms may even help bring climate change to attention by producing energy crops for biofuels. This fuel coming from these crops when paired with the kind of carbon capture storage used on coal-fired power plants could begin to draw down the amount of CO2 that is already in the atmosphere. Also, the regrowth of forests in the United States as less land is being devoted to farming is also contributing to the restraint of global warming increasing.

This system in better terms can be called Agricultural Resilience. Agricultural Resilience is all about equipping farmers with the correct tools in order for them to be able to recover from natural shocks and disasters that occur on their agricultural production and livelihoods. As we all know some of these natural disasters can be short term and farmers are able to recover quickly and unfortunately some disasters can be long-term and farmers are sometimes unable to recover their lands at all. There’s no way to predict most natural disasters, which would be effective in order for farmers to prepare their lands for these types of shocks.



An area of the country that has taken the most recent action is in Blairstown, Iowa. Engineers and farmers in Blairstown are teaming up to make farming even greener. They have done this by focusing in on one of the small parts of farming that can pollute the air, which are tractors. Jay Schmuecker, the man who led and funded the Raphael Schmuecker Memorial Solar Hydrogen System created that is the only one in the world that runs exclusively on hydrogen and ammonia gasses, which do not pollute the air. The process in which the tractor begins with is the solar panels that feed off of the sun’s energy to create the gasses right on the farm. These gasses are then store until the tractor needs fuel. When the tractor has a full tank it is powerful enough to do actions equivalent to what other tractors can do for up to four hours and can cover up to 50 acres of land in a field. Schmuecker even said himself that all of the resources used to create this tractor are in reach all it takes are the people to collect these resources and put it together. Jay was inspired by his father who strongly believed in using hydrogen as a replacement for fossil fuels. Pure hydrogen and pure water are the only substances that are released from the exhaust pipe of this machine. This type of technology is not only limited to tractors but can be used on other types of machinery that use fuel as the main resource of operation. Although this design was costly the developers think they can replicate this system of operation for half the cost they originally developed it for, which was a million dollars. They think they’ll be able to drop the cost by half because of how fossil fuels are becoming more expensive and technology is advancing every year.

In order to ensure that greener farming will occur, communities need to reach out to their governments and explain to them why greener farming is so important. All governments should not only support greener farming systems, but they should encourage the use of all climate change solutions when it comes to agriculture. They should also begin to promote funding that supports the needs of all levels of farming across the country. In addition to these significant necessities these governments should also invest their money into playing a role in all farming and agriculture that occurs in their region of the country and world.


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