Butterfies

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J" . >u"r • -. ' - . ::•* **• ?. f» '•'• V'-'-'y*-*-' Our lives all depend on a layer just a few dozen centimeters thick: the topsoil that covers our planet and enables us to farm. This shallow layer is disappearing as it is stripped of its nutrients. Fertile land is being transformed into barren plains, arid terrain, land—or the best-quality land, at least—has already been used. There is nowhere left to go. We must therefore not only preserve the land we have, but also farm it differently. Countries such as China, Haiti, Mali, and Algeria, which are suffering from soil erosion and desertification, are already engaged in this task.

In time, many wild species have adapted to these landscapes, resulting in the development of ecosystems modified by humans and teeming with life. Agriculture has thus fostered biodiversity. Agricultural land is surrounded by semi-wild habitats such as pastures, prairies, and hedgerows which are home to large numbers of animals and plants, sometimes as many as, or even more than, those found in certain natural ters of the plant varieties created by humans over millennia have disappeared. Today, 90% of the world's agricultural production has been reduced to around thirty plant species and fourteen animal species.

Int Crop circle in a GM corn field, Grezet-Cavagnan, France (44°23'N-0°07'E) On July 27,2006, Greenpeace activists created this crop circle, visible from the air, to protest against a French court ruling banning them from revealing the location of GMcorn fields. This symbolic act served as a reminder that European law requires transparency on the cultivation of GM crops by obliging municipalities to indicate their presence on the land. We are eating more and more meat. Why? Firstly, because there are simply more of us.

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