On the uses of a liberal education: September 1, Harper's Magazine Mark Edmundson A college student getting a liberal arts education ponders filling out a questionnaire that includes an opportunity for him to evaluate his instructor. At times it appears that the purpose of his education is just to entertain him. Today is evaluation day in my Freud class, and everything has changed.
Nothing dominates the American landscape like corn. You can drive from central Pennsylvania all the way to western Nebraska, a trip of nearly 1, miles, and witness it in all its glory.
No other American crop can match the sheer size of corn. So why do we, as a nation, grow so much corn? The main reason is that corn is such a productive and versatile cropresponding to investments in research, breeding and promotion.
It has incredibly high yields compared with most other U.
Plus, it can be turned into a staggering array of products. Corn can be used for food as corn flour, cornmeal, hominy, grits or sweet corn. It can be used as animal feed to help fatten our hogs, chickens and cattle.
And it can be turned into ethanolhigh-fructose corn syrup or even bio-based plastics. No wonder we grow so much of the stuff. But it is important to distinguish corn the crop from corn the system. As a crop, corn is highly productive, flexible and successful.
It has been a pillar of American agriculture for decades, and there is no doubt that it will be a crucial part of American agriculture in the future. However, many are beginning to question corn as a system: The current corn system is not a good thing for America for four major reasons.
The American corn system is inefficient at feeding people. Most people would agree that the primary goal of agriculture should be feeding people. While other goals—especially producing income, creating jobs and fostering rural development—are critically important too, the ultimate success of any agricultural system should be measured in part by how well it delivers food to a growing population.
After all, feeding people is why agriculture exists in the first place. Much of the rest is exported. Only a tiny fraction of the national corn crop is directly used for food for Americans, much of that for high-fructose corn syrup.
Yes, the corn fed to animals does produce valuable food to people, mainly in the form of dairy and meat products, but only after suffering major losses of calories and protein along the way.
For corn-fed animals, the efficiency of converting grain to meat and dairy calories ranges from roughly 3 percent to 40 percent, depending on the animal production system in question.
What this all means is that little of the corn crop actually ends up feeding American people.
The average Iowa cornfield has the potential to deliver more than 15 million calories per acre each year enough to sustain 14 people per acre, with a 3, calorie-per-day diet, if we ate all of the corn ourselvesbut with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only three people per acre.
That is lower than the average delivery of food calories from farms in Bangladesh, Egypt and Vietnam. In short, the corn crop is highly productive, but the corn system is aligned to feed cars and animals instead of feeding people. First and foremost, shifting corn away from biofuels would generate more food for the world, lower demand for grain, lessen commodity price pressures, and reduce the burden on consumers around the world.
Furthermore, eating less corn-fed meat, or shifting corn toward more efficient dairy, poultry, pork and grass-fed beef systems, would allow us to get more food from each bushel of corn. And diversifying the Corn Belt into a wider mix of agricultural systems, including other crops and grass-fed animal operations, could produce substantially more food—and a more diverse and nutritious diet— than the current system.
The corn system uses a large amount of natural resources. And fertilizer use for corn is massive: The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest, and most iconic, example of this. And the resources devoted to growing corn are increasing dramatically.
Between andthe amount of cropland devoted to growing corn in America increased by more than 13 million acres, mainly in response to rising corn prices and the increasing demand for ethanol. Most of these new corn acres came from farms, including those that were growing wheat which lost 2.
That leaves us with a less diverse American agricultural landscape, with even more land devoted to corn monocultures.These argumentative essay topics on Fast Food Nation are meant to help you come up with one of your own. Use them to your advantage to get a high academic grade.
Coming up with topics for argumentative essays can be quite challenging for students, especially if you’ve decided to work on it a few days (or a few hours) before the deadline. Overconsumption is a situation where resource use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem.A prolonged pattern of overconsumption leads to environmental degradation and the eventual loss of resource bases..
Generally, the discussion of overconsumption parallels that of human overpopulation; that is the more people, the more consumption of raw materials takes place to . Or, What I’ve Learned in 12 Years Writing about Energy ( words, about 25 minutes reading time) Folks who pay attention to energy and climate issues are regularly treated to two competing depictions of society’s energy options.
Responses to “How to Learn From Your Mistakes”. William Siong March 29, at pm. Permalink.. Hi Scott, an excellent article about Mistakes, which is why I hyperlinked it from my article.
You might want to check out the URL as there are 2 empty spaces in your link. In this essay, by answering these 12 questions I intend to offer a brief, but critical & evaluative assessment, of the impact of advertising, consumerism and the media.
* What according to Diamond creates communication technologies, & what is the impact of the telephone, as one example? Aug 21, · Since , Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S.
news media industry.