Agriculture:Is it the Worst Mistake in Human Race History?

Fromthe readings we have learned in class, I am feeling a bit defensive.You see from the films and readings we have studied, we have learntmany farming-oriented activities yet many people still believes thatagriculture is the worst mistake even committed in the history ofhuman race. From Diamond (96) reading, I came across article with thestatement “As the Institute of lands, we trust there is a solutionto solve the 10.100 year-old problem of agriculture – environmentaldestruction, soil loss, and high energy usage – is not onlypossible but also necessary.” From my reflection, it kept me thing:a 10,100-year-old agricultural problem? Is this talking about thementioned mistake in the history of the human race?

For once, I thought there was no one else out there who was obligingto commend on something positive about agriculture. From thestatement, the regime on traditional farming of all forms, even withthe most intensive, uses very low input of energy systems but thecurrent standards and all the other energy forms are biological.However – and here is the most critical part – a number of researchstudies estimates that overall efficiency in energy, which is theratio between energy input and output, is 3 to 5 times higher whentraditional farming is compared to modern form of farming (Diamind97). Combining the two is entirely wrong.

Atany given time, the state of the farm represents a dynamicequilibrium that is among these forces. Again, traditional farmershave come up with ways to repair and ameliorate environmentaldegradation, but there is no doubt with these farmers capable ofdegrading the environment locally and sometimes is incapable ofsorting out things in the right way. The question, therefore, is notwhether degradation of the environment or the loss of soil onlyoccurs under traditional methods. As much as they do, it is onlywhether the regeneration process, human or natural, can keep up(Diamond 98).

Basingit on ecology, traditional farmers are considered “environmentalengineers” or “niche constructors.” This is to say, thecreatures that aim at transforming the environment are often to theiradvantage but more often to the benefit of many creatures. Theenvironmental engineering, be it by human beings or other species,transforms the local environment but not necessarily does it degradeit. From my personal view, we could have called a beaver pondunnaturally, and then why do we distinguish an indigenous farmcarefully from nature?

Thefact of the matter of most traditional farmers, which includesintensive cultivators of wet-rice in the Southeast of Asia, continuesto gather and hunt without any problem in the surrounding indigenousforests, my analysis, is important. From this, it means that theymaintain the skills, technology, and the knowledge needed to talkadvantage of wild resources. From this fact, one wonders: If farmingactivities is an obvious rotten way of life, then why is the presenceof no evidence of farmers going back to hunting-and-gathering as afull-time activity? Did farming convert people to stupidity?

Inconclusion, I am not saying traditional farming is the only way togo. It is not. On the contrary, the traditional farmers are workinghard but are still materially poor, experience high mortality ratesthan other people, and they have to survive the occasional shortageof food and famine. I am saying that hunters and gatherers wherenever on a better shape. That is perhaps it is about time to studythe possible agricultural advantages, the same advantages that ledother people across the world to adopt it.


Diamond,Jared. “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.”1987. Discover Magazine.