From Dr. Jane Goodall's MasterClass

Industrial Agriculture

The need to grow copious amounts of food to keep up with human population growth is harming our planet and our society, as Dr. Jane explains.

Topics include: Monocultures • The Dangers of GMOs • GMOs Have Far-Reaching Effects

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The need to grow copious amounts of food to keep up with human population growth is harming our planet and our society, as Dr. Jane explains.

Topics include: Monocultures • The Dangers of GMOs • GMOs Have Far-Reaching Effects

Dr. Jane Goodall

Teaches Conservation

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When I was writing the Seeds of Hope, I was learning more and more about the number of plants that are already extinct or facing extinction. And we find that many endemic species are gone forever, even before they've even been described. For example, some friends of mine, botanists from the Leiden Botanical gardens were on an expedition. And they discovered an unknown orchid. I'm rather attached to this orchid, because they named it for me. But by the time they'd identified it and described it, it was the last one of its species, because the forest in which it grew, the only place where it grew, had been destroyed. The forests are destroyed for timber. They're destroyed to grow palm oil plantations. But they're also destroyed-- huge areas of forest-- because of the need to grow ever more and more grain. And that's partly for the meat industry or the agricultural farming of animals. But it's also, as human populations grow, the need for more land and ever more land to grow crops. And one of the big problems when you cut down old growth forests, is that although the soil is very fertile for a short time, very soon it loses its fertility and becomes a desert. So the deserts around the planet are increasing. And the human populations are growing. And people need more and more food. So this is leading to a situation, which is really shocking. And when I think of children in the future, it means that we have to try and do everything we can to fight industrial agriculture, because it's industrial agriculture, the growing of one single crop, a monoculture on a huge area of land. Forcing these plants to try and produce two crops a year when normally they would only produce one, means putting more and more artificial chemical fertilizer into the soil. And this is poisoning the land. And it's washing down into the streams and the rivers, and eventually polluting the ocean. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the big problems in agriculture today is that companies are trying to grow more food more cheaply. And what's now known as conventional agriculture-- I don't know how it got that name. Because, to me, conventional agriculture is small family farming, where people use to grow different crops. They rotated them. They would leave land to live fallow to recover its fertility and move to another piece of land. They would run sheep and cattle and chickens over the land that have been used, so that the natural fertilizer was restored. And then they would plant again. But as human populations grew and as big companies wanted to make more money, that kind of agriculture, they felt didn't yield the kind of crops they wanted fast enough. So they began planting monocultures of corn, of wheat, of soy, and so forth. And very quickly, the land became infertile, because these crops were being forced to grow to produce two crops a year, instead of just one. So more...

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There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Dr Jane is a great story teller. I was captivated by her experiences of how she started in the conservation area. I believe that she could have gone deeper into what we can do to stop and reverse the destruction of our precious ecosystem.

I have become so much more aware of us humans' impact on the world and environment, the negative which we need to change and the positive we need to encourage. Dr. Jane Goodall has inspired me beyond words and given me hope where I thought there was none!

WOW! I did not really know what to expect when I went into this MasterClass, but I know that I have a great respect for Dr. Goodall. This course was so informative and provided many avenues and perspectives on conservation. This was a phenomenal course!

What an extraordinary woman to learn from. Her accomplishments are an inspiration. My view on animals of every kind is changed forever.

Comments

Maria P.

I love Jane's quotes, such as: To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet. Jane Goodall It is so odd that we prefer to poison ourselves with GMOs and such that make us sick. I'll never understand that about humans. Short term gain (more food faster) for long term loss (illness, disease, death).

Kevin W.

"The Dangers of GMOs" Unfortunately, Jane makes a couple of dubious claims in this part of the lesson that I think should be addressed. She is discussing the book 'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth' in which the author, Steven Druker, attempts to debunk some of the purported benefits of GMO. As Jane says, Druker is an attorney. He is not a scientist and doesn't have any scientific training. Her opinion that "his science - his conclusions - are, without question, correct" is not shared by much of the scientific community. In Jane's defense, she also doesn't have a background in genetics. Druker cites two studies and I'm sure he does so fairly convincingly. What Jane might not know is that of the two studies cited in the book, one (Séralini et al., 2012) was retracted from publication after peer review of the data found the results to be “inconclusive”. The other study (Ewen and Pusztai, 1999) was reviewed by the Royal Society who concluded that it was flawed and there was little to no statistical significance in the results. Two expert panels also concluded that no scientific conclusions should be drawn from the study. Unfortunately these two studies were the bulk of the scientific evidence presented in the book. A similar study in Japan concluded with "no adverse effect" in rats fed GMOs. Likewise, a metastudy of 12 multi-generational studies that found "no evidence of health hazards" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399 Jane also says "It's pretty conclusive that we are not safe" which is another opinion that isn't well shared. Genetic engineering is complicated and needs to constantly be scrutinized, but 10 years of research has yet to find any significant hazard: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07388551.2013.823595 This is the consensus shared by the WHO, the FDA, the European Food Safety Agency, the National Academies of Science, and the International Council for Science. Jane appears to be presenting her opinion on things she has read, but it's worth taking another look at the source material being used to draw those conclusions. She obviously cares about people, so hopefully the more optimistic outlook on GMOs being presented in the bulk of research should be a welcome relief to those worried about the dangers.

Louanne F.

I hope that the upcoming lessons will offer some action steps we can all take to hopefully raise awareness of these issues, etc. It's frustrating and heartbreaking to hear all these things without a way to help combat them. But thanks to Jane for giving us all this information in such depth.

Mary H.

I marched against Monsanto holding a save the bees poster. It was well organized. https://www.facebook.com/mary.hollowell.315/posts/772772696393097

Mary H.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2006/06/sibiol-conference-at-nus-with-dr.-jane-goodall-and-orchid-naming-at-singapore-botanic-garden

eddy L.

Soil was never meant to be ever cultivated. Cultivating soil or turning soil only kills the important microbes in the soil, like exposing intestinal bacteria to direct sunlight. We have been farming wrong for thousands of years. If we dont control the human population, none of this will matter....

Mia S.

"These [GMO] plants have been advertised as saving the world, as providing enough food, as the human population grows - that these plants are the only ways that we can feed these populations. In 'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth' Steven absolutely debunks this.... I've read about the harm that can be inflicted on the poor old laboratory rat, they've been tested with various kinds of genetically modified food; the bad effect on the health of rats, rabbits, pigs - it's pretty conclusive that we are not safe, that we too can be affected by these genetically modified organisms. Because plants have been genetically modified to the attack of the pests that attack agricultural crops, it means - say the companies - that you don't have to spray anymore. Of course, what's happened is, as these plants grow, these plants will automatically kill any pest that dares to bite them. But of course, pests gradually become resistant. There are now these, they're known as 'superbugs' in the agricultural world... which can resist the toxin in the plant. That means that even more pesticides have to be sprayed onto the crops than they did before the plant was created, and so the soil becomes even more poisoned. Our health becomes even more at risk; bees are dying because of this, butterflies, ladybugs. Big companies are always trying to refute the evidence that proves that this is dangerous. Now you can spray the agricultural weeds with these herbicides, and your crop will resist this. But of course, the weeds develop resistance too. And this is one of the scariest things for agriculture - some of these agricultural weeds that have developed resistance are growing really fast, really huge. The farmers don't know what to do; several years ago, there were now 22 different weeds that were resistant to the herbicides. What's going to happen?"

Mia S.

"I was learning more and more about the number of plants that are already extinct or facing extinction. We find that many endemic species are gone forever, even before they've been described. Some friends of mine, botanists, were on an expedition - they discovered an unknown orchid. By the time they'd identified it and described it, it was the last one of its species, because the forest in which it grew - the only place where it grew - had been destroyed. The forests are destroyed for timber, destroyed to grow palm oil plantations... but they're also destroyed because of the need to grow ever more and more grain. That's partly for the meat industry, the agricultural farming of animals. But it's also, as human populations grow, the need for more land and ever more land to grow crops. One of the big problems, when you cut down old-growth forests, is that - although the soil is very fertile for a short time, very soon it loses its fertility and becomes a desert. So the deserts around the planet are increasing, and the human populations are growing, and people need more and more food. This is leading to a situation which is really shocking. When I think of children in the future, it means that we have to try and do everything we can to fight industrial agriculture. Because it's industrial agriculture - the growing of one single crop, a monoculture, on a huge area of land, forcing these plants to try and produce two crops a year when normally they would only produce one means putting more and more artificial chemical fertilizer into the soil, and this is poisoning the land. It's washing down into the streams and the rivers, and eventually polluting the ocean. One of the big problems in agriculture today is that companies are trying to grow more food, more cheaply. What's now known as conventional agriculture, small family farming - where people used to grow different crops, rotated them; they would leave land to lie fallow, to recover its fertility and move to another piece of land; they would run sheep, cattle and chickens over the land that had been used so that the natural fertilizer was restored, and then they would plant again... But as human populations grew, and as big companies wanted to make more money, that kind of agriculture they felt didn't yield the kind of crops they wanted fast enough. So they began planting monocultures of corn, wheat, soy and so forth. Very quickly, the land became infertile because these crops were being forced to grow. More and more artificial fertilizer was used, the more the soil became infertile, the more it was necessary, and it was poisoning the land in the end. If a disease springs up in this monoculture, then the whole crop may be lost."

Molly

I recently learned about Masanobu Fukuoka and I like his organic farming approach. He would mix different kinds of seeds into clay balls and just toss them anywhere in his garden. No tilling required and the plants will grow where they are fittest. He used hay for keeping weeds under control. Seed balls could be used to help return native plants to the land. Just toss some wildflower seed balls out the car window onto a median strip or to other areas in need. https://youtu.be/u8SLovl3Se4 https://youtu.be/HveaqQy9hUc

Carola S.

I have studied agriculture in the 90's and I have learned how to produce crops, etc. in the traditional way. Meanwhile I studied at the University I traveled to Germany where I worked in a organic farm. I learn how to be productive without chemicals, to take care of water and the soil. To get my degree as Engineer I present my final project about organic wine production and it was rejected, because teachers found it not valid. I have to wait 25 five years to see that I was right.