[Editor’s note: Steven Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.]
Perhaps the biggest problem with organic farming is that it uses more land than conventional farming. Most of the negative impact of farming is due to land use. … There is nothing you can do to make a farm better for the environment than a natural ecosystem.
In other words – if you really care about the environment, then you should support any practice which minimizes land use in food production. These practices also have to be sustainable with a growing world population. This means embracing GMO technology, and using evidence-based rather than ideology based farming practices.
The latest study to support the conclusion that organic farming is inefficient comes from Germany. They compare what they consider to be a typical organic diet with a typical standard diet on two measures, carbon footprint and overall land use.
The carbon footprint of the organic and conventional diets were the same – no significant difference.
[T]he organic diet uses 40% more land than the conventional diet. That is a huge difference. That is in line with other studies which show organic farming uses 20-40% more land than conventional farming. That difference is likely to grow as we make progress with GMOs, which are banned by organic farming rules.
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