Scientists Believe We Can Save the Environment by Simply Leaving it Alone

For decades, environmentalists have stressed that the solution to Earth’s environmental problems required humans to move out of cities and back to nature.  However, many environmentalists today are suggesting that we, as humans, should embrace cities and leave nature alone.  Today, cities cover around 1-3% of the Earth’s ice-free surface, with farms taking up almost 40%.  Cities allow humans to use energy more efficiently, while also freeing up room for nature and wildlife.  Cities have also served to reduce the size of the world’s population.  As more and more people move to cities, it is no longer necessary for farmers to have more children to work on the farm.  Scientists believe that the human population will peak at 9-11 billion before declining.

As people begin moving into the city, farmers that stay in the countryside have to produce more food with less land.  There is a modernization of agriculture that is underway in the United States that is also bringing on reforestation in certain parts of the country.  A great example of this reforestation is New England, which has seen forested land in the state jump from 30% in the 1800s to 80% today.  Another reason for this reforestation in the U.S., as well as other rich countries, is a decreasing dependence on wood for fuel in these countries.  We have created substitutes for wood such as hydroelectric dams and fossil power plants.  This has drastically decreased deforestation.  Although countries like the U.S. are decreasing wood usage, there are still 2 billion people worldwide who still rely on wood and dung as their primary source of energy.  These same people also rely on low-yield subsistence agriculture and wildlife harvesting for food.  This has created issues, as an estimated 4 million die every year from inhaling smoke from burning wood and dung.  Relying on this wood and wildlife for energy causes forests to be ravaged in these countries.

Although fossil fuels and modern agriculture practices contribute to air and water pollution, and global warming, it is important to not forget the good they do for the environment.  Creating a better environment for the future will require a switch to cleaner energy sources, such as nuclear and solar energy, that use fewer natural resources.  Additionally, in order to keep up with the modernization of agriculture, farmers will need better seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and things such as vertical greenhouses and laboratory meat that make us less reliant on land and water for food growth.  In short, we need to leave nature alone.  This is an easy way to spur wildlife growth and create a better environment for the future.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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