A human built network of unprecedented scale and complexity now connects towns and cities across the globe. Future Strata considers this development as trace fossils, of geologically unprecedented scale and complexity, and, related, to that, analysing them as if they were a combination of sedimentary system and ecosystem. As are coral reefs.
A global map of European Commission's Joint Research Center which was published in the World Bank's World Development report in 2009. According to the report, 95% of world's population is concentrated on just 10% of world's land surface. While only 10% of the world's land is classified as remote or more than 48 hours from a large city. So we can either state that most humans now inhabit only 10% of world's land, but we have the rest 80% well connected with roads, highways, farmlands.etc. So depending on time taken to travel, we can say that humans now inhabit 90% of world's land leaving only 10% for wilderness.
For most of history, whenever we’ve needed to produce more food, we’ve, as in humans, simply cut down forests or plowed grasslands to make more farms. Agriculture’s footprint has caused the loss of whole ecosystems around the globe, including the prairies of North America and the Atlantic forest of Brazil, and tropical forests continue to be cleared at alarming rates. But can we afford to increase food production through agricultural expansion? Trading tropical forest for farmland is one of the most destructive things we do to the environment, and it is rarely done to benefit the 850 million people in the world who are still hungry. Most of the land cleared for agriculture in the tropics does not contribute much to the world’s food security but is instead used to produce cattle, soybeans for livestock, timber, and palm oil.
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All images © Alan McFetridge