Hello to all...
>Just a word of caution here. Stuart Hill is an entomologist (one of my
>professors, and a friend). Jennifer Ramsey was a grad student at McGill
>in the mid-70s. I don't honestly think their critique should carry a
>whole lot of weight. Interesting insights, perhaps, but probably not
>much more, especially given that the work is 25 years old.
Let me clarify that if you are looking for a technical literature review of
the energy studies of the 70's, the Hill and Ramsay article is not the one
The Hill and Ramsay article is an interesting presentation of the author's
perspectives on the fundamental flaws in industrial agricultural systems
and how energy accounting is only a limited first step toward recognizing
the unsustainability of industrial agricultural systems.
I was surprised to find this refreshing commentary amongst the primarily
technical articles in "Energy in Agriculture". I think it would be a good
article for sustainable ag students to read.
I think energy accounting is important and that all of the studies from the
70's are out of date. They contain valuable information but we need some
fresh investigation of the energy efficiency of agricultural systems.
Here is an interesting quote for you to ponder from the Hill and Ramsay
"Pests do not arise because of a deficiency of pesticide in the environment
any more than headaches result from a lack of aspirin in the blood stream.
We get headaches because of the way we conduct our lives, and we get pests
in the fields because of the way we manage them."
The article also contains some interesting comments on the impact of
industrial agriculture on food quality... I'll comment on those ideas in a
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