Saltwater Agriculture

by ltremblay on November 10, 2015 - 8:03pm

             In the article “As seas rise, saltwater plants offer hope farms will survive”, the author Katy Daigle describes how the flooding of the coastlines in India has affected the agriculture. With climate change happening, more glaciers are melting and the sea levels are rising. This results in the flooding of many coastal farms in the south of Asia. For the 1.26 billion people living in India, relocation is not always an option, especially when food productivity needs to increase by 45% before 2050 if the population wants to be fed. With 1.2 million hectares of coastal land destroyed by saltwater, what is the solution? Well Indian scientists have been working on researching plants that thrive in (or at least survive) salty conditions. Already today, species are growing on the contaminated coastal lands, and while these species can’t necessarily feed the population, they can be used to obtain oil and other biofuels. Researchers are also awaiting permission to start working on GM organisms that survive with saltwater, for example a rice plant. Many steps are being taken to find a solution as the level of land and usable water continues to deplete in India, as well as in other countries all around the world.

                I think it is a great initiative by the scientists to start researching on saltwater agriculture. I believe this is a major problem whose magnitude is not yet realized. At the rate we are going, climate change will not get better and as time advances, more and more coastal lands will become flooded. When that happens, we will need to be ready with a solution as to how to survive and produce food amid these conditions.

Daigle, Katy. "As Seas Rise, Saltwater Plants Offer Hope Farms Will Survive." As Seas Rise, Saltwater Plants Offer Hope Farms Will Survive. Web. 6 Nov. 2015. <http://phys.org/news/2015-08-seas-saltwater-farms-survive.html>.

Comments

Your article is a really interesting one. The impacts of increase of sea levels are not discussed often here in Canada since it does not affect us as much as other parts of the world. But, the decrease in agricultural land in Asia will doubtlessly affect us in a certain way since human society is interdependent. Thus, it is a problem that we will all have to face and this crisis will come sooner than we think.

As you mentionned in your article, GMO technology will maybe be the solution. However, genetically modified organisms' effects are still not known. Indeed, unexpected side effects, consequences on natural processes and unintentional spread are several risks that we take when using GM crops (Dearden & Mitchell, 2012, 342). This is why I believe that searching for alternative mode of agriculture is not enough. Actually, we should try to stop climate change since it is the first cause of rise in sea levels. As we all know, a decrease in some human activities, such as pollution done by transport, would significantly help to reduce climate change. To conclude, thinking to solutions for a problem is good, but I think that avoid to create this problem would be even better.

Source:
Dearden, P & Mitchell, B. (2012) Environmental change & challenge. Don Mills: Oxford University press.

Hi ltremblay,

I really enjoyed reading your post because you asked some very good rhetorical questions that people around the world should be considering. In your opinion, do you think there are any alternatives to saltwater agriculture? At this rate, do you think coastal communities have no choice but to adapt to the water and soil conditions, rather than move further in-land to avoid saltwater flooding?

I look forward to reading your response.

I think this topic really shows the ways in which climate change effects every country differently. Here in the GTA and Ontario we feel the effects of climate change mostly in the temperature and weather, where as these villages in South Asia are feeling the effects far differently and are impacting their livelihoods in a huge way. It really shows how climate change effects are felt differently around the world and how more developed countries that often do more of the polluting don't feel these huge effects as greatly as less developed countries do.
I think it is also interesting the idea of introducing GMO's to help this issue of the flooding agricultural lands. Having plant species that are adapted to salt water is an interesting idea. GMO's today, in my opinion, seem very frowned upon as people are worried about the increased toxicity and decreased nutritional value in these foods. But I think if we're going to continue to contribute to climate change as a global community then we have to be ready to pay the consequences which might be turning to GMO's for reasons such as this. Although this is effecting small places in South Asia, it will eventually effect the Western world when we go to import these foods.

I agree with you that its great some scientist are already looking into adapting to higher sea levels. Adapting to changing conditions is going to be very important in the future considering the significant impacts climate change has. As you've stated, relocating citizens isn't really a viable option, so being able to grow plants in the ocean could really benefit those people living near coats. I wonder if they've tried using seaweed in their diets more as well? Certain seaweeds are very high in many important nutrients so I think that could be a viable option as well.

Hello,
I chose to comment on your summary because it always surprises me to see at which point climate change is affecting several aspects in human living conditions. As you, I think that saltwater agriculture would be great solution in areas such as Asia or America where floods or droughts occur more frequently nowadays. People tend to forget that 97 percent of the Earth’s water is saline, and I think that we should try to find useful and advantageous ways to use it without risking the environment’s health as well as ours. As you said, climate change is happening and we need to continue finding new solutions in order to be ready when a situation such as floods happens, and I believe that saltwater agriculture can be one of the solutions. However, I also think that we, as individuals and as a community, also need to prevent climate change to get worse from day to day.

This is an interesting way of adapting to a loss of agricultural land, especially since growing populations are going to present challenges in terms of providing food and other agricultural resources. It is nice to see action being taken to help adapt to the effects of climate change (rather than solely focusing on mediation), hopefully crops like this will be available fairly soon to countries already feeling the effects of climate change.

I think your article is very controversial. It defends the population of India without really thinking of what the consequences of the suggested solution would cause. Although studying plant that can survive in salt water, developing GMOs for it is not a very good idea. As you probably know, GMOs are damaging for the environment and the different kind of creatures it affects especially bees. Bees are essential for the survival of agriculture if they disappear, we are pretty much done. Not only that, but if specialist find a way to use GMOs to maintain the current agricultural efficiency, we will make the problem of food go away. On the other hand, we will face the problem of feeding almost 30% more people in India leading to the usage of more GMOs till the end of time. We need to find a solution that will not en-damage us if we want to win our "war" against climate change.

In my opinion, the research which seeks to find plants that survive in salty water is a good idea because agriculture is a primordial food source and it is necessary to these regions’ nutrition. The lands used for agriculture are destroyed when floods or disasters occur, leaving many regions without their main food source, depriving them from a good nutrition. As you mentioned, they do not always have the option to relocate and must remain in the same place. This makes agriculture all the more important to these people. In my opinion, it is crucial to find a solution since we do not always have the opportunity to choose where we live. It is important to help solve their problems with food in order to feed the population. Thus, I think their initiative is a good one as it aims to produce more food, even if the usable land and water keep diminishing.

In my opinion, the research which seeks to find plants that survive in salty water is a good idea because agriculture is a primordial food source and it is necessary to these regions’ nutrition. The lands used for agriculture are destroyed when floods or disasters occur, leaving many regions without their main food source, depriving them from a good nutrition. As you mentioned, they do not always have the option to relocate and must remain in the same place. This makes agriculture all the more important to these people. In my opinion, it is crucial to find a solution since we do not always have the opportunity to choose where we live. It is important to help solve their problems with food in order to feed the population. Thus, I think their initiative is a good one as it aims to produce more food, even if the usable land and water keep diminishing.

Hi there,

Very interesting article, you wrote a very clear and concise summary of the article and did a good job forming and expressing your opinions on the matter. I think it would be beneficial for you to discuss maybe some of the strengths and weaknesses you could potentially see. As well as you could link into some of the management implications that you think may arise with this new technique being tried out. Your use of numbers and facts to put the issue into perspective were all used in appropriate spots. It was also good how you tied your natural resource issue to climate change as that is an upcoming environmental concern that will affect everyone.

Your summary was very interesting, we do not always hear about environmental problems in other countries thus it was very interesting to learn about something that does not happen here. I think it is a really good idea to be investing research into finding ways to use the salted water for food and they are on to a good start. I also agree with your point about how this will come in handy if ever it happens elsewhere on the world because then someone will have already done that and will have a way to help out. Helping each other is what is key to surviving and it will also help everyone understand a little more about the ways of the world.

When I first read your article I was really saddened that the effects of climate change are being experienced in places without the capabilities to adapt do to poverty and a high degree of knowledge in the growing of common crops as opposed to the halophytes discussed in this article. Do you think that the government should be stepping in and trying to manage these areas, or provided economic incentives for farmer to get educated about and grow salt tolerant plants? I believe that the temperatures will keep rising and this issue will only continue to intensify and the only hope is to manage these areas now before they become to large and too damaged to do anything.

An informative and interesting summary. After reading the article and then your post I realized I never gave much thought into how climate change and the sea rising could affect so much coastal farming around the world. I believe that while scientists and agricultural experts are working hard to find solutions for the problems that you highlighted, I don't think it will be enough to properly combat global warming's imminent impact on food supplies. How is India suppose to increase food production by 45% when the odds are so stacked against them? GMO's will be needed and have to be supplied for alot of poor substinence farmers are they will likely be forced from there lands, creating a social problems along with food shortages.

Your topic is very interesting and complex because it involves many issues. The problem of the rising sea level is something that is probably inevitable and many consequences will come with it. The best we could do regarding this phenomenon is perhaps slow it down, without really stopping it. This will obviously involve a lot of changes in our life styles and a lot of precautions being made to slow down climatic change. This is why I think that we really need to find solutions to the problem presented in your summary as soon as possible. It is very nice that the scientist are developing genetically modified organisms that could survive in saltwater. However, this brings a whole other debated aspect to the problematic because GMOs are often criticized. Still, this option should be investigated and may be the right solution to the difficult mission of feeding our increasing population.

Hey Itremblay,

Nice post, I think you chose a very interesting topic that has not been talked about as much as it should. The future impending food crisis in developing areas and across the world is a real issue that does not have a clear solution currently. I find it amazing how science is leading the way to finding solutions to the world’s problems. This is not surprising though, as I strongly believe in the theory of technocentrism; that technology/science can and will solve our problems. I think this advancement in technology will also have a major impact on the western world as well because climate change is a global issue. The collaboration between scientists and entrepreneurs across the world is critical as global issues continue to threaten human livelihoods. I thought you did a great job summarizing the article, but would have liked to hear more of your opinion. Overall, good post

Hello Itremblay,

I think this is a really interesting topic that can allow populations who are most impacted by changes in their climate to understand and deal with these pressures of change. I did notice in your summary there were some assumptions made one was that sea level rise is just attributed by glaciers melting but are there other factors to consider in this huge climate change impact? It was also mentioned that species are growing on the contaminated coastal lands, why is the land contaminated, just from salinity? You make the assumption that water is polluting the land, but I think more detail might be needed to explain this phenomena for a reader to fully understand. Overall I do agree with you that this research can help to provide valuable information on salt water agriculture to help local farmers adapt to their changing climate conditions. Practices like this are going to be needed in not just India but other coastal agriculture lands who are also impacted by rising sea levels.

Hello Itremblay,

Your article and analysis really caught my attention as the topic is quite an interesting one. Climate change has indeed affected all parts of the Earth in a multitude of ways with agriculture being an especially troubling one for nations lacking adequate food production. It is exciting to know that steps are being taken to grow plants in salt water given the continuous decrease in global arable land. We already know that there are edible plants, such as seaweed, which grow in salt water conditions yet, these plants are not widely consumed outside of coastal populations. It would be interesting to see, with the imminent change in productivity of traditional food products such as rice, a cultural shift towards consuming and growing non-traditional food products such as seaweed. The consequences of this must also be taken into account as a potentially new ‘sea plant farming industry’ may entail resource management issues of its own.

Hi Tremblay,
Although your chosen article may have provided more “cons” to the agriculture crisis situation in Asia, you have also given a silver lining to the situation, which in any case, was interesting to read about. I am most impressed of the initiative being taken place in order to deal with the deceasing level in productivity of the many farmlands in Southern Asia. What’s really notable in your chosen article is that climate change has once more affected the livelihood of millions struggling to keep their crops and productivity. You mentioned about how scientists are utilizing GMO technology in order to improve their situation. GMOs may be a good idea to begin with, but it should not be considered a final solution. By incorporating this method into future agriculture, there can be potentially high risks of several uncertain and pleiotropic side effects that can be accumulated (Dearden, 2012, 342).
Overall, I agree with what you said about being prepared not only from climate change, but the long term effects it has on other countries. Since it’s true that we depend on other regions to supply us their goods, we should also take initiative and prepare ourselves for the future.
Bibliography:
Dearden, P., & Mitchell, B. (1998). Environmental change and challenge: A Canadian perspective (Fourth ed.). Toronto: Oxford University Press.