sustainability

Soil Erosion: Counting the Costs

In my previous post (Soil Erosion Rises Again!) I noted a recent spike in interest in erosion and soil conservation, following previous ones in the 1930s and 1980s. One manifestation is the work of Frans Kwaad, a Dutch physical geographer, who has reinvigorated discussion of the relative onsite and offsite costs of erosion.

Onsite (economic) costs are generally related to declines in crop or grazing productivity, or the loss or degradation of economically productive land. Offsite costs are associated with pollution and infrastructure damage associated with the deposition or delivery of eroded sediment, habitat damage or destruction, nuisance costs of removal of deposited sediment, etc. Kwaad’s work-in-progress synthesizes a number of studies and data sources, and on-balance indicates that off-site costs are greater.

Cleaning up eroded soil after a storm in the Netherlands (F. Kwaad photo).

Soil Erosion Rises Again!

In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl and the legacy of massive post-Civil War cut-out-and-get-out logging and, particularly in the south, of what amounts to shifting cultivation brought a soil erosion crisis to the attention of the USA and the world. In the 1980s, a realization that problematic erosion persists despite great improvements in soil conservation and a heightened concerned with nonpoint source pollution from agriculture brought renewed attention to erosion, this time focused particularly on off-site impacts. On-site impacts of soil erosion are the environmental degradation and lost productivity due to soil loss, while off-site impacts are related to pollution and costs associated with where the soil ends up. Now, we are at it again, with another wave of attention to soil erosion.  

Eroded farmland in Alabama, 1930s (WPA photo by Arthur Rothstein).

Sustainability Forum

Please join us for the 2015 Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hilary J. Boone Center on UK's Campus! This event is sponsored by the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and the UK Appalachian Center.  Students are encouraged to submit their posters for consideration, and the top posters will be given prizes.  The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 20, 2015. Please contact Suzette Walling for submission instructions and more information: tfise@uky.edu.  Also see the Call for posters below our flyer and the Tracy Farmer Institute's website: http://www.tfise.uky.edu/showcase.

 

Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Location: 
Hilary J. Boone Center

New Sustainable and Recyclable Consumer Products Brand Wins UK Venture Challenge

University of Kentucky architecture graduate student Mark Manczyk won the UK Venture Challenge and a $1,500 scholarship with his business idea, "re.3." Second place and $1,000 went to Phillip Gordon with "Nomad Apparel."

Bike Week 2014 Pedals onto Campus April 6-11

As part of the popular annual Earth Days in the Bluegrass event, Parking and Transportation Services and the Bicycle Advisory Committee are presenting the second annual Bike Week, to be held April 6-11.

Global Sustainability Expert Vandana Shiva: The Future of Food

Internationally renowned scholar and activist Vandana Shiva visited the University of Kentucky to present her lecture on "The Future of Food" and to discuss the many challenges of global sustainability. Shiva has been the author of more than 20 books on sustainable agriculture, development, feminist theory, alternative globalization, and bioengineering. Her work in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability has elevated her to the position of one of the field's foremost thinkers and has even earned her the title of "environmental hero" from Time Magazine.

 

This podcast was produced by Patrick O'Dowd.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Global Sustainability Expert Vandana Shiva Lectures at UK

Internationally regarded sustainability scholar and activist Vandana Shiva returns to the University of Kentucky Thursday to share her expertise with the campus and community.

Shifting to an Alternative Vision

English professor and writer-in-residence Erik Reece has expressed his views on the coal industry and energy policy in Kentucky in such works as his 2006 book “Lost Mountain.” He also believes the University of Kentucky has an opportunity to effect positive change and become a more energy-responsible institution.
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